"St Malo, on the Brittany north coast" Saint-Malo by Kate-Me
Saint-Malo Travel Guide: 278 reviews and 932 photos
The Old walled town of Saint Malo sits on a granite rock situated on the rugged coast bordering the English Channel called the Cote D'emeraude (Emerald Coast in English). The city is situated on the North coast of France (quite close to the very famous Mount-St. Michel, which is about 30 kms away on the border of Brittany and Normandy)
St Malo was named after a Welsh monk and bishop named MacLaw who fled to Brittany in 538.
The fortified city became very famous in 1590 when the St Maloans declared their city an independent republic with the motto "Neither French nor Breton, but a Corsair am I".
This independent republic only lasted 4 years, but the local people acquired a strong reputation as warriors.
During the 16th-18th centuries, St Malo prospered well from its navigators, traders and privateers.
Jacques Cartier, who sailed the St Lawrence river and visited the sites of present day Quebec City and Montréal - and is known as the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo.
Brittany had been a Celtic duchy for over 1000 years before it was annexed by France in 1532, and so it has its own culture, linked to that of places like Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall.
Their languages and customs are closely related, and indeed the climate too.
The walled city looks very authentic, but is actually about 90% reconstructed and restored. During World War 2 in 1944 in a battle between the German and American troops, 90% of it was destroyed.
- Pros:Walled city and intact (even if rather re built)
- Cons:Pretty touristy inside the walls, even if the tourists are mostly on foot
- In a nutshell:A good experience to spend time inside a walled old town
As with many French chateaux we visited, we found the exterior far more interesting than the interior. more travel advice
Written Aug 8, 2006
Views in the old town of St Malo
Written Aug 9, 2006
The walk to St Servan
Kate-Me's Related Pages
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- "Of fortresses and islands"
- "Saint Malo - Cite Corsaire"
- "Corsair City"
- "Neither French, nor Breton but Corsair I am!"
- "Memorable In More Ways Than One"
- "Saint Malo - City of Corsaire"
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