Seven great things to do in St Malo

27th May, 2016
Just a short hop over the Channel lies the Brittany port town of St Malo, an enchanting place proud of its history and featuring a dramatically changing landscape. With one of the world’s greatest tidal ranges hitting its shores, the town can see anything from brewing storms and dark skies to calm seas and broad beaches. Surrounded by walls, its fortifications date back as far as the 12th century, and there are also important buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, a testament to when it was a key base for both merchant ships and privateers. Here’s just some of the great things you can do here while you’re staying at our St Malo villas.

Chateau de St Malo

Located on an outcrop of the Plage de l’Eventail, the Chateau de St Malo was built by the dukes of Brittany in the 15th and 16th centuries. Climb up to the lookout tower for excellent views out onto the old city, or explore the Musee d’Histoire de St Malo which can now be found inside, giving an insight into the life and history of the city.


La Demeure de Corsaire

In the heart of the town lies La Demeure de Corsaire, an interesting 18th century mansion once owned by the corsair (privateer) François Auguste Magon. Discover what life was like in 18th century Brittany as well as how the wealthy privateers spent their fortunes. Guided tours are available in French only though descriptions are also available in English.


Île du Grande Bé

The rocky islet of Île du Grande Bé can only be reached during low tide, when you can cross the Plage de Bon Secours to reach both the island and the fort that is built upon it. Guided tours are run for the Vauban-built 17th century Fort du Petit Bé in French, though information leaflets are also available in English.


Grand Aquarium

The Grand Aquarium is one of the largest in France, and can be found around 4km south of the main city centre. Among the exhibits on local marine life, tropical fish and mangrove forests are attractions such as the Nautibus, a simulation of a descent in an underwater submarine, as well as a touch pool, where you can get hands on with rays and turbots.

Beaches

One of the main attractions of St Malo is its beaches, and there are certainly plenty here to choose from, including the Plage de l’Eventail, Plage du Mole and the Plage de Bon Secours. The Plage de Bon Secours also has a protected tidal swimming pool for safer swimming, or the more adventurous can climb the ladder to the top of the walls before jumping into the sea.

Fort National

Standing on top of a rocky outcrop, Fort National can only be accessed at low tide, though it’s worth waiting for the limited crossing to visit. Seen from the northern stretch of the town’s ramparts, reaching the fort you’ll find the interesting remains of a former prison, built by Vauban in 1689.

Cathédrale de St Vincent

Last but not least is the centrepiece of St Malo, the Cathédrale de St Vincent has changed significantly through the centuries, with its earliest construction taking place in the 12th century. After construction was finally completed in the 18th century, much of the cathedral was reduced to rubble in 1944, including the spire. Subsequently the cathedral was rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1971, restored to its former glory.


Image: annso t, Dennis Jarvis, available under Creative Commons