Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

Welcome to the corsair city, capital of the sea, the jewel of the Emerald coast and as well as a famous sea resort! A place to visit all year round to discover magnificent sites, its ramparts and ancient monuments its iodised and tonic climate, as well as breathtaking coastal scenery. St.Malo, St-Servan, Parame and Rotheneuf have joined together to form the municipality of St.Malo, The area is unique in France and makes it one of the great tourist centres of Brittany.

The port - Located in the centre of the large roadstead, which once divided the privateer's encampment (St-Malo-de-I'lsle) from the continent (St-Servan, Parame), the port is developing a wide range of activities. It has four wet docks (Vauban, Duguay-Trouin, Bouvet and Jacques-Cartier) sheltered by a lock, where handling of goods and fish are concentrated. Imported products hold an important position: fertilisers, timber and wood. Its outer harbour is equipped with two shipping terminals for car ferries and boat services: there are daily services between St.Malo and Portsmouth and St.Malo and the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey).

Pleasure boating has not been forgotten: anchorage is located at the foot of the ramparts and especially at Bas-Sablons near the Corniche d'Aleth.

Marteze eo eus Dinarzh e c'haller gwelet "Sant-Maloù an Enez", evel ma veze graet anezhi gwechall, en he c'haeraii gant he osteloù osimi­nalioù uhel, ozoennoù war zinaou, ozalbennoù greunvaen, savet en un doare diginkl ha sonn,

War ur c'hreñv naturel, anezhañ ur c'hourenez roc'hellek a c'haller diwarni kontrolliñ aber ar Renk, emañ Sant-Maloù. Un dro-spered frank zo bet a-viskoazh gant tud Sant-Maloù, gant-se e teuas a-benn kêr da gaout frankizoù ha dreistgwirioù a-hed ar c'hantvedoù. Talvout a ra alies anv Sant-­Maloù kement ha hardizhegezh da-heul troioù-kaer Duguay-Trouin ha Surcouf, pa oa porzh ar gourserien hag ar c'henwerzh gant ar broioù pell. Er XVIIvet kantved en em gavas pinvidik-mor, ken e c'halle ar baramantourien ac'hano prestañ arc'hant d'ar roue Loeiz XIV, tra ma vezent olakaat sevel manerioù e maezioù ar geinvro. Savet e voe ar mogerioù-tro ha porzh Sant-Visant en XVIIIvet kantved, hag ivez an osteloù kaer a voe adsavet goude an eil brezel bed evel ma oant a-raok. En XIXvet

kantved e krogas an touristerezh kouronkel a-hed an Aod Vras, lec'h ma voe savet ur c'hazino, ul leti bras ha tiez cheuc'h a-Ieizh: balioù ledan, graet a-ratozh evit ar c'hirri-tan, a gemeras neuze plas an hentoù traezh ma tremene merc'hed al laezh eus Parame.

E Sant-Malou e klever trouz ar mor eus pell, gant heklev ar c'horventennoù hag ar mareoù bras, pe divinet e vez e disheol sioulaet ar straedoù bihan. Eno emañ ar mar e pep lec'h, gant istor tud Sant­-Maloù, en odoareoù Iiammet ouzh ar mor, en dud dibar a zo, pe a zo bet 0

vevañ enni, paramantourien, merdeerien, dizoloerien, kourserien, pesketaerien an Douar-Nevez pe skiperien, hag evel-just gant dudioù plijus an hañv hag ar pem­dez, kouronkañ, c'hoarioù ha sportoù war an traezhennoù, sportoù riklañ ha bageal.
It is perhaps from Dinard that "Saint-Malo de l'lsle", as it was once known, offers the most impressive views of its private mansions with tall chimneys, sloping roofs, granite façades and sober, awesome architecture.

A rocky peninsula dominating the Rance estuary, the site of Saint-Malo is a natural bastion. Down through the centuries, the independent spirit of the "Malouins" enabled the town to acquire freedoms and privileges. With its harbour a centre for trans¬atlantic racing, commerce and foreign trade, the town has become synonymous with daring exploits such as those undertaken by Le Duguay-Trouin and Le Surcouf. The town accumulated immense wealth in the 17th century with its ship-owners lending money to King Louis XIV and building their "malouinieres", or private mansions, in the surrounding countryside. The ramparts and Saint-Vincent gate were constructed in the 18th century along with the beautiful private town houses. The latter were replaced with exact replicas immediately after the World War II. In the 19th century beach tourism appeared along the Grande Plage with the construction of a casino, a grand hotel and innumerable villas. Wide avenues dedicated to the car replaced the sandy roads used in days of yore by the milk carts from Parame.

In this town where storms and high tides thunder and crash, the breath of the sea can be heard from afar, or canbe imagined as you pass through the calm shadow of the backstreets. The sea is in evidence everywhere: in the history of the inhabitants. in their seafaring activities. in the emblematic characters of today and of yesteryear - ship-owners, navigators, explorers, pirates, trawlermen and skippers, and, of course, in the fun pastimes of summer and of daily life: bathing, beach games and sports, surfing and sailing.

Some Historical Notes

St.Malo, returning from Wales in the 6C, converted the Gallo-Roman settlement Aleth (St-Servan) to Christianity and became its bishop. The neighbouring island, on which the present town of St.Malo is built, was then uninhabited. Later, people settled there because it was easy to defend from the Norsemen, and it became important enough for the Bishopric of Aleth to be transferred to it in 1144. It took the name of St.Malo, while Aleth put itself under the protection of another local saint - Servan.

The town belonged to its bishops, who built ramparts round it. It took no part in provincial rivalries. In later centuries it became notorious as the home of a fierce breed of pirate-mariners, who were never quite under anybody's control but their own; for four years from 1590, St-Malo even declared itself to be an independent republic and was able to keep its independence for four years. The corsaires of St-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who colonized Canada, lived in and sailed from St-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands – hence the islands' Argentinian name, Las Malvinas, from the French Malouins. This principle was reflected in the device: "Ni François, Ni Breton, Malouin suis" (I am neither French nor Breton but a man of St.Malo).


ST MALO'S WALLED CITY (Intra Muros, The Ramparts)

The statue near the esplanade, at the entrance to the Casino garden, portrays Chateaubriand by Armel Beaufils. It was erected in 1948 on the centenary of his death. Pass under Porte St-Vincent, which consists of twin gates; then take the staircase to the right leading to the ramparts.

The ramparts, started in the 12C were enlarged and altered up to the 18C and survived the wartime destruction. The rampart walk commands magnificent views, especially at high tide, of the coast and islands.

Porte St-Vincent to Bastion St-Louis

Directly after Grande Porte (Great Gate), which is crowned with machicolations, the view opens out over the narrow isthmus, which joins the old town to its suburbs, the harbour basins and, in the distance. St-Servan.

Bastion St-Louis to Bastion St-Phllippe

The rampart skirts the houses where the rich ship-owners of St.Malo lived; two, near the Bastion St-Louis, are still intact but e following walls and facades are reconstructions of carefully dismantled buildings. This fine group of houses with its high roofs, surmounted by monumental chimneys rising from the ramparts, once more gives this part of town its old look. The view extends over the outer harbour, to Rocher d'Aleth, crowned by Fort de Cite, and the mouth of the Rance estuary; to Dinard, with Prieuré Beach and Pointe de Vicomté.

Bastion St.Phllippe to Tour Bidouane

A very fine view of the Cote d'Emeraude, west of Dinard, and of the islands off St.Malo. To the right of Pointe du Moulinet, you can see part of the great beach at Dinard. Pointe des Étêtés separates Dinard from St-Lunaire. Pointe du Decollé, the Hébihens Archipelago. Pointe de St-Cast and Cap Frehel; nearer, on the right, are the Île Harbour and, further to the right. Grand Bé and Petit Bé Islands; then, in the background, Île de Cezembre and Fort de Conchée. Near Tour Bidouane stands a statue of Surcouf.

Tour Bidouane to Porte St. Vincent

Having skirted the Ecole Nationale de la Marine Marchande, you can see the Fort National and the great curve, which joins St.Malo Pointe de la Varde, passing through the beaches of Paramé. Rochebonne and Minihic. At the end of the ramparts take the stairway going down near St.Thomas Gate, Porte St-Thomas) - this gate opens onto the immense Paramé Beach.

Cathedral St-Vincent

The building. started in the 11C and completed in the 18C. was topped by a pierced spire in the 19C. replacing the quadrangular roof. The nave is roofed with quadripartite vaulting typical of the Angevin style: dark and massive it contrasts with the slender 13C chancel. Lit by magnificent stained-glass windows by Jean Le Moal, the chancel becomes a kaleidoscope of colours. In the transept, restored in the 17C style, the stained-glass windows are muted in lour while in the side aisles the windows by Max Ingrand are brighter (Chapel the Holy Sacrament). The north side aisle has preserved its original vaulting. A 16C Virgin, Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix-du-Fief, which comes from a medieval house, is kept in the second chapel north of the ambulatory together with the remains of Duguay-Trouin. The neighbouring chapel houses the head reliquary of Jacques Cartier.

Museé de la Poupée et du Jouet ancien

There is a section devoted to the teddy bear, named after Teddy Roosevelt, after refused to shoot a bear cub during a hunting trip in 1902.The museum is a joy to young and old alike. More than 300 dolls in cloth, wood and felt, surrounded by their furnishings, compose different scenes.

CASTLE (CHATEAU)

You can enter the courtyard and see the facades of the former 17 -18C barracks (now the town hall), the well, the keep and the gatehouse The little keep was built as part of the ramparts in 1395. The great keep (1424) dominates the castle while the corner towers were constructed in the 15 and 16C. The chapel and the galley date from the 17C..

Museé d'Hlstolre de la vine et d'Ethnographle du pays malouln

The museum, which is situated in the great keep and gatehouse, records the development of the city of St.Malo and its celebrities (Jacques Cartier, Duguay-Trouin, La Bourdonnais, Surcouf, Chateaubriand, Lamennais and the mathematician Maupertuis). Documents, ship models, paintings and arms trace St.Malo's sea-faring tradition.

To end the visit climb up to the keep's watch towers, from where you will have an impressive panorama ofthe town, harbour, coast and sea.

A passage leads from the old chapel to the Tour Générale. This tower contains an exhibition laid out on three floors devoted to the economy (commercial fishing, shipbuilding), way of life (headdresses, furniture) and significant historical events in the St.Malo region.

Tour Quic-en-Grolgne - This tower (65 steps), that is located in the left wing of the castle, bears the name Quic-en-Groigne from an inscription Queen Anne had carved on it in defiance of the bishops of St.Malo: "Qui-qu'en-groigne, ainsi sera, car tel est mon bon plaisir" (Thus it shall be. whoever may complain. for that is my wish). It contains a Museé de Cire (Waxworks Museum) with reconstructions of historic scenes and the celebrities of St.Malo.


Additional Sights

Fort National

Access by Plage de L’Éventail at low tide, 15 minute on foot.

Built by Vauban in 1689, The Royal Fort became the National Fort after the Revolution (1789), and then private property. Built on the rock, this stronghold assured the protection of the city. The view from the ramparts is remarkable. The fort commands extensive views of the coast and the islands: St.Malo, St.Servan, the Rance estuary, Dinard, the Île du Grand Bé, Île du Petit Bé, Île Harbour, the Grand Jardin Lighthouse, the Fort de la Conchée and in the distance the Îles Chausey.

During the tour, one of the events recorded is the fort's resistance in 1692 against the English and Dutch fleet, and Surcouf’s memorable duel in which he defended the honour of France against twelve opponents, of whom he spared the last to testify to his exploit. The visit to the dungeon is interesting.


Île du Grand Bé

45 minutes on foot.

 

Only at low tide. Leave St.Malo by Porte des Champs-Vauverts and cross the beach diagonally to the causeway. Follow the road that skirts the right side of the island.

Chateaubriand’s tomb is on the seaward side: it is a plain, unnamed flagstone surmounted by heavy granite cross. From the highest point of the island, there is an amazing panorama of the entire Côte d’Émeraude.

St. Servan-sur-Mer

The resort of St.Servan-sur-Mer is cheerful with its many gardens, in striking contrast to the walled town of St.Malo. Its main beach is formed by Sablons Bay, although there are also smaller beaches along the Rance. The town has three ports: the Bouvet dock, a trading and a fishing port, linked with that of St.Malo, the Solidor, a former naval base and the Saint-Pere.

Corniche d’Aleth - This walk offers magnificent views. Leave your car in Place St. Pierre, where the ruins of the former cathedral of Aleth stand in a garden.

Take Rue St -Pierre at the east end of the church and follow on the left the coastal pathway.

First comes a remarkable view of St.Malo. Further to the left can be distinguished Île Petit Bé, the Grand Bé and Cezembre Islands. Take a left, and skirt the seashore. Go round the fort. The whole harbour is now visible: to the right of the Île de Cézembre, in the distance, is the fortified Île de la Grande Conchée: on the left, the Grand Jardin Lighthouse, Île Harbour and its fort and. in the distance, Cap Fréhel and Pointe du Décollé, followed by a maze of reefs. Finally take a steep downhill path to the right to enjoy a very fine view of the Rance estuary, barred by the Rocher Bizeux, on which stands a statue of the Virgin, and beyond, of the Usine marémotrice de la Rance.

Tour Solidor - This tower (27m - 88.5ft. high), commands the Rance estuary and was built in 1382 and restored in the 17C. It now houses the International Museum of Cape Horn Vessels.

Museé International du Long Cours Cap-Homier - The lives of the great navigators (16- 2OC) who sailed to Cape Horn are recounted in the museum. Throughout the galleries the history, techniques, traditions and life on board are evoked. Among the ship models displayed, note the model of Victoria, the first ship that sailed round the world in 1084 days from 1519-22. A succession of exhibits at different levels leads to the wall walk (104 steps) that commands a view of the estuary, St.Servan-sur-Mer. St.Malo. Dinard and the Rance.

Parc des Corbieres - It is a wooded park with trees of different species. Bear right; follow the cliff path, which goes round Pointe des Corbieres, affording fine glimpses of the Rance estuary and the tidal power scheme.

Fort de la Cite - The City Fort was built in 1759 on the orders of the Duke of Aiguillon. Around the inner courtyard is a chain of blockhouses joined by over a mile of underground passages, which also serve the barracks, the hospital and all the offices of this little town, laid out on several storeys.

Belvedere du Rosals - The viewpoint is near the little marine cemetery on the side of a cliff overlooking the Rance, which contains the tomb of Count and Countess of Chateaubriand, the writer’s parents. View of Rance Dam, the Rocher Bizeux with a statue of the Virgin on top of it, Pointe de la V'icomté and Dinard.

Market days are as follows:
Place de la Mairie – Monday to Saturday

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© Breizh Poellrezh SF 1994 - 2017