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.[ReadMoreMob] 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.
There are two small islands across from St Malo, which are accessible by foot at low tide. The plan was to build a series of forts to protect St Malo from pirates and invaders in the 17th century. One is Grand-Bé – a rocky hill 400m from the port and home to the tomb of the famous writer and politician, Chateaubriand, who was born in St Malo. From the top of the hill, you can get an amazing view of St Malo. This is home to The Fort National, designed by the renowned military architect Vauban, and built in 1689. When the Germans occupied St Malo in 1944, all of the men were sent to The Fort National to be imprisoned. Part of the Fort was destroyed by bombs but it was later rebuilt.
Old Town/City Walls
St Malo sits on a granite island, and the grey walls that surround the city are made of granite. You can walk almost all the way round the walls. The city’s old town is made up of a series of lanes. You will enter the city through the main entrance – the Porte St. Vincent Gate. Within the old town, you will find the Cathedrale St. Vincent – a Gothic 13th century building whose spire can be seen from your cruise ship. You will also find the Chateau de St Malo – a town hall and museum, and the Demeure de Corsaire – an 18th century mansion, built by the wealthy owner of the French East India Company, and one of the only buildings to survive the World War II bombings. Much of the old town was destroyed during World War II, but was reconstructed in an ambitious project completed in 1971.
The aquarium in St Malo boasts around 10,000 sea creatures and 600 different species. There are eight themed rooms including a tropical room, a touch pool and a ‘sea laboratory’. There is also a unique attraction called the Nautibus – a four-person submarine ride that simulates life under the water.
Cruises to St Malo
Departs: Rosyth (Edinburgh) • Thu 01 Jul 2021
13 nights • Balmoral • L2120
- You’re in for a feast of diverse culture and enchanting beauty, as Balmoral takes you on an immersive journey of discovery to gorgeous and engrossing French and Spanish cities.
- Docking alongside the promenade in Bordeaux makes it easy to capture the city’s arts, culture and wine heritage, or even tour to a famous family-run vineyard nearby.
- There’s a rare visit to Saint Malo and charming Honfleur too; and in Spain, the cultural treasures and landmarks of Bilbao and Avilés await.
From £1,899ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Sat 29 May 2021
5 nights • Bolette • T2113
- A five-night journey of discovery combining scenic river cruising through breathtaking countryside with visits to three inspirational cities, this is an enriching short break.
- Enjoy a short French foray including chances to explore the charming cobbled streets and historic harbour of Honfleur, and the dramatic fortifications of St Malo and Mont St Michel.
- There’s a memorable day in Belgium too; Bolette takes you on a journey along the Western Scheldt River to Antwerp, a city famed for its cathedrals, chocolate shops and sparking diamonds.
From £749ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Fri 02 Jul 2021
9 nights • Bolette • T2117
- Take in the scenic and city delights of gorgeous French region as Bolette guides you on a mesmerising journey of discovery.
- Sail the picturesque Gironde and Garonne rivers to Bassens and visit Bordeaux, where you can immerse yourself in local arts, culture and world-famous wine heritage.
- Visit the beautiful coast of Brittany for a rare call at Belle Ile and to discover the centuries-old treasure of St Malo or Mont St Michel; and, in Normandy, revel in the historic highlights of Cherbourg.
From £1,199ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Mon 19 Jul 2021
10 nights • Borealis • S2116
- Enjoy an authentic taste of France and Spain, visiting regions and destinations selected for links to famous food and drink.
- Visit Bordeaux, famed for its Medoc, Merlot and Saint Emilion wines – an overnight stay allows for a tour to an enchanting family-run vineyard, and see the city’s iconic sights too.
- On Brittany’s beautiful coast, you can tour to the famed oyster town of Cancale; while in Spain, Getxo and Avilés offer traditional Basque tapas, Rioja wines and sweet Asturian cider.
From £1,499ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Sun 26 Sep 2021
11 nights • Borealis • S2122
- A full-flavoured cruise adventure combining French city discovery and scenic cruising with an authentic taste of northern Spain.
- Borealis sails the picturesque Gironde and Garonne rivers to Bassens, your gateway to UNESCO-listed Bordeaux and some of France’s most famous countryside vineyards.
- Visit La Pallice for tours to historic La Rochelle too, and St Malo on the beautiful Brittany coast, plus delight in authentic flavours of Spain with traditional pintxos, Rioja and cider in Avilés and Getxo.
From £1,599ppFares Explained | What's Included