This charming walled city of Saint Malo is France’s gateway to the English channel, and an important ferry stop from Portsmouth, Poole and Weymouth in the U.K. Visitors also routinely head to the Channel Islands from the St. Malo port. Proudly Breton, St. Malo even declared itself independent from France for a few short years in the late 1500’s.
Saint Malo – From Pirates to Tourism
St. Malo has a rough pirate past which also brought wealth to the city, spoils from voyages over many centuries. A typical privateer (pirate) mansion-turned-museum is a must-stop in St. Malo, as are the many seafood restaurants featuring local oysters from nearby Cancalle.
During WWII, the city was heavily bombarded, but was carefully rebuilt. The medieval center is intact, with quaint cobbled streets and half-timber architecture. Outside the walls, visitors will find pleasant 18th and 19th century-era streets, guesthouses and hotels, part of St. Malo’s development as a seaside resort, most often for Parisians, who today connect to the city via high speed TGV train.
The French specialty of “thalassotherapy” (spas featuring a sea cure) are a focus for visitors, as well as the world class aquarium and nearby Mont St. Michel.
For further reading about the town, visit the Brittany tourist board website.