PLAN YOUR TRIP
1. Walk along the walls
Step back in time along cobbled streets and imagine what life was like centuries ago in this historic sea port and walled city. Check into a cosy hotel, dip into the bars and restaurants when it’s time to rest your feet or investigate the fascinating shops within its granite walls.
2. Find out about the pirates
The citizens of St Malo have always been fiercely independent. Back in the 17th century, pirates based in the city were granted licences from the King of France to pursue enemy ships and capture their goods. Soak up the atmosphere – local museums will tell you their stories.
3. Check out the sharks in the Grand Aquarium
More than 6,000 underwater species live in the Grand Aquarium, see many of them for yourself from the underwater tunnels. Enjoy the 360° shark tank, then dive beneath the surface in the Nautibus mini-submarine to see marine creatures in their own environment.
4. Get offshore
Walk out to the Fort National at low tide. It was built to protect the town from the Royal Navy and has amazing views of St Malo. But watch out for the tides – this coastline has some of the highest (and lowest) in Europe.
5. Climb up to the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel
It’s an hour’s drive or bus ride from St Malo but this UNESCO world heritage site is a ‘must-see’ in Normandy. The 11th century abbey is reached by a winding footpath, twisting and turning ever upwards past small hotels, shops and restaurants.
6. Wander along the beaches
Just north of the ancient city, you can walk for miles along the Plage du Sillon. There are rockpools to investigate and you can watch people flying kites and racing sand yachts take advantage of the breezes.
7. Get a taste of Brittany
Breton cuisine is famous – and for good reason. Start off with oysters from nearby Cancale then try a sweet or savoury crêpe. Wash them down with a glass or two of cider and don’t forget to leave room for some local cheese.
8. Relax in peaceful Dinan
The port’s half-timbered buildings lining the River Rance are Instagram-friendly. Take time to stroll along the narrow streets, sample the local cuisine and get to know the town’s proud heritage under the black and white flag of Brittany. It’s half an hour inland from St Malo.
9. What’s the connection between St Malo and Canada?
One of St Malo’s famous sons, Jacques Cartier, is thought to have discovered Canada in the 16th century. He was the first European to sail down the St Lawrence Seaway. Find out more at his museum and see his monuments in the old town.
10. Visit a fairy tale French château
Château de Combourg is a magnificent sight next to its tranquil lake with a pepperpot tower at every corner. Climb up to the turrets for amazing views. This medieval fortress was home to the famous French writer Chateaubriand and is just 35 minutes inland from St Malo.
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