The city of Saint-Malo rears its head proudly at the north of the Breton coast. The fortress walls of the most important harbor of the region have a unique silhouette: rising fassades, bastions and towers characterize the city.
The impressive castle of Saint-Malo
In the midst of these magnificent walls, situated in the historic city center, lies the castle of Saint-Malo. The fortress, flanked by four defense towers, was built for the control and defence of the city in the 15th and 16th century. As a symbol for the ducal, and later the royal power it sits, caressed by the waves of the Atlantic, enthroned on the city wall surrounding the Intra Muros (the old town). For many centuries the castle served as a guarantor that Saint-Malo was hard to conquer. As a result it remained independent much longer than other cities. Still today you can see the flag of Saint-Malo blowing from the high tower. It skillfully shows the belonging to France as well as to Brittany.
The history of the significant seaport
Nowadays, the castle in the old town, next to the city hall, houses the historic city museum (Musée d'Histoire de la Ville et d'Ethnographie du Pays Malouin). Here you can discover the eventful history of the city of Saint-Malo. The seaport has been hard fought many times during its history and has been destroyed to over 80% during the bomb attacks of the allies in 1944. The inhabitants however maintained calm: With the help of old plans and illustrations of the city, they rebuilt it quickly as close to the original as possible! What is more, the museum shows the traces of great personalities, such as the French writer and politician Chateaubriand, the French corsair Duguay-Trouin, or the famous French explorer Jacques Cartier who grew up in Saint-Malo.
A round tour over the city wall
During a walk over the long city wall you can enjoy a wonderful outlook. From the battlements, you overview the historic old town as well as the Intra Muros (the center of town that lies within the city walls) with its many narrow alleyways surrounded by high buildings. Should you climb up the watch towers, you also have a beautiful panorama over the harbor and the emerald coast with its pretty beaches. There are also other forts to be explored on the islands off shore. When the tide is low you can even reach them by foot. At sunrise or sunset the round tour is especially worthwhile.
- The day pass at The castle Saint-Malo is €6 making it one of the 10 cheapest tourist Attractions in France.
How to get there
Coming from Rennes, follow the Voie de la Liberté (D137) northwards over Châteauneuf-d'Ille-et-Vilaine up to Saint-Malo. Coming from the West or the East, drive over the N176 to Châteauneuf-d'Ille-et-Vilaine and then change onto the D137. Follow this road until you reach your destination. You can leave your car at the car park Paul Féval. In July and August as well as at weekends in April, May and June, a shuttle-bus takes you from the car park to the city center free of charge. The castle lies opposite of the tourist information.
By public transport:
From the station Montparnasse in Paris, take the TGV directly to Saint-Malo. The train ride takes about 3 hours.