"Corsair City" Top 5 Page for this destination Saint-Malo by rexvaughan
Saint-Malo Travel Guide: 231 reviews and 772 photos
The old city of St. Malo, the "Intra-muros" is a 44 acre fortress. The rampart walls are 20 feet thick and date from the 14th C although there was some updating in the 18th C and some rebuilding after the city was bombed in WWII. Their location on a tip of the Brittany coast almost mandated sea going activities. The city is named, of all things, for a Welch monk who fled (I don't know why) to what was then called Aaron Rock. Evidently the folks here are somewhat independent as in the late 16th C they declared the city an independent republic with the motto, "Neither French nor Breton, but a Coursair am I." In looking for a good definition of "corsair" I concluded it depended on your perspective. The French king at the time would have called them wonderful as they brought a lot of booty to him. The English would call them pirates, as most of the booty was from hijacked British vessels.
Robert Surcouf was an 18th C Corsair captain who first went to sea at age 13 as a ship's boy. By his very early 20's he was already a captain. One of his most famous coups was in 1795 when he had captured 3 English vessels then met and English warship with 150 men and 26 guns. Surcouf had only 17 men and 2 guns so he resorted to trickery. Hiding his men on the boat, he pretended to be alone on the ship until the ships were close, then they jumped on and took control of the British ship. By the time he was 36 he had become one of the richest men in St. Malo, so he retired. This statue stands at the northern tip of the ramparts pointing toward the sea.
The beaches of St. Malo are huge - stretching for miles. In the top photo on this page you can see a small beach beside the ramparts and here is one that seems to go on without end. This photo was in the morning at low tide (the beach all but disappears at high tide). We strolled a while and did a little shell picking. This beach is what we looked out on from our hotel. Great spot!
- Pros:Wonderful sights, great food, few tourists
- Cons:Transportation connections a little complex
- In a nutshell:City of history, beaches and art
I think the Benedictine monks who lived here 10 centuries ago were under a vow of silence. It should have been easy at... more travel advice
This is one of many restaurants in the Intra-muros and does a lot of business. It is not overly large, but has a large... more travel advice
rexvaughan's Related Pages
Saint-Malo Travel Guide
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- "Of fortresses and islands"
- "Saint Malo - Cite Corsaire"
- "Corsair City"
- "Neither French, nor Breton but Corsair I am!"
- "Saint Malo - Historic Sea Town"
- "The Walls of St Malo"
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