St Malo Cruises
Originally a fortified island, the walled city of St Malo at the mouth of the River Rance on France’s Brittany coast, is now connected to the mainland by a 'Sillon' causeway. Visiting this atmospheric port, once a stronghold for privateers (pirates approved by the king), is like stepping back in time.
The walls of St Malo, largely destroyed in World War II, have been painstakingly reconstructed. A magnificent grey granite citadel protects the old city, the cobbled streets of which are packed with interesting shops, restaurants, bars and cafés. The main gate is Porte St-Vincent, home to the castle and town museum, and an eclectic mix of exhibits including maps and local artefacts. Saint-Malo Cathedral, built in Romanesque and Gothic styles, makes an impressive centrepiece.
From the beach outside the citadel it’s possible to walk at low tide to the small island of Grand-Bé, to see the tomb of the 19th century politician and writer, Chateaubriand. To the south is where the original inhabitants lived. They were converted to Christianity by St Malou, after whom they named the impregnable island when they moved there in the 12th century.