A Traveller's Guide to Saint-Malo, France
A walled city in Brittany in north-western France, Saint-Malo is both a port and resort town. In the past the town was notorious as a home base for pirates, earning it the title "City of Corsairs".
Getting To and From Saint-Malo
There are several ways that you can get to Saint-Malo. The town is around 400km from Paris, with the drive taking about 4 hours along the A13. If coming from Rennes to the south, take the N137 highway, or take the A84 if travelling from Caen to the northwest of the town. If travelling from the UK there are ferry services available from Portsmouth, Poole and Weymouth as well as services from the Canary Islands. There are TGV high speed rail services that run directly from Paris to Saint-Malo daily. However it is easier to take the TGV to Rennes then one of the hourly commuter services to Saint-Malo from there. The train station is an easy 20 minute walk from the walled section of the city.
There is an excellent city bus system to help you to get around Saint-Malo during your visit, however there are no services late in the evening. The main bus terminal is located at the train station. Maps and timetables are available from all of the drivers. Alternatively, there is a "tourist train" available, although is a lot pricier. Or, you can just as easily avoid public transport altogether, as the walled city itself is easily covered on foot.
Things To See and Do in Saint-Malo
The town was heavily fortified to protect it from attacks by the English. The citadel is also known as the La Ville Intra-Muros (within the walls) and consists of the old town of Saint-Malo which was largely destroyed during the WWII bombings but since restored. Outside of the walls are the modern sections areas Parame and Saint-Servan, with a modern harbour connecting the citadel to the mainland.
Saint-Malo's main draw-card is obviously the walled city itself featuring cobbled streets, tall granite mansion blocks, laneways, open squares and an abundance of hotels, restaurants bar and shops all enclosed by the massive ramparts. Another historical site is the castle which now houses the town's museum. Also visit the 14th century Solidor Tower in Saint-Servan which has exhibits about the historical voyages around Cape Horn, including scale models and nautical instruments from the travels of the tall ships.
Some of Saint-Malo's more modern attractions include the Great Aquarium, the labyrinthe du Corsaire, Point de la Varde natural park and the Rance Tidal Power Station which is the first of its kind in the world.