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St Malo is in an ideal location in the north of the country with easy road links to other gorgeous French cities. There are many other places to visit near St Malo, and below you’ll find a few of our favourite attractions to enjoy. Whether you are looking for a city for shopping or a quiet seaside resort, you’ll find it all within easy reach of St Malo’s walls.
Rennes is the capital of Brittany with a history going back over 2000 years to a time when it was a small Gallic village named Condate. It is around an hour’s drive inland from St Malo and as a city of art, history and heritage, it is a must-see city for your French adventure. It has a unique combination of old and new, with over 90 protected historic monuments yet the University means that there are plenty of students bringing a youthful presence to the city. There are many attractions to visit including the City Hall Plaza, the Opera House and St Germain’s Church so you may have to extend your visit to make sure you see it all!
The beautiful Mont St Michael is only an hour’s drive from the centre of St Malo and is a stunning island that was once a famous prison during the French Revolution. Today, visitors can explore the beautiful historical 11th-century abbey, along with its surrounding restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops. The island is only linked to the mainland by a narrow, yet picturesque causeway built in 1880 and a bridge that was only completed in 2012. This magical island full of history is the perfect place to venture off land for an unforgettable French experience and a step back in time.
Dinard is a commune in northwestern Brittany full of beautiful beaches. Its position on the gulf stream means it boasts a warm climate, making it a hotspot for tourists and locals alike for a relaxing yet lively French escape. The city has an abundance of restaurants and bars for its visitors to enjoy, and the beautiful stretch of beaches mean that people can enjoy the golden sands and crystal waters late into the evening in the brighter summer months. Dinard is full of 5-star hotels and luxury accommodation to cater for the wealthy holiday makers who wish to spend their French escape in this stunning city.
The Fontaine Laveuses de Huitres translates to ‘the fountain of washing oysters’, and it is based at the Église St-Méen in Cancale. The church was built in 1875 when the previous church became too small, yet it wasn’t fully complete until 1886. On the church square is the fountain with a sculpture created by bronze artist, Jean Fréour showing two washer oysters. The sculpture symbolizes the work of the people of Cancale during the early twentieth century before mechanization and is a great place for a photo-opportunity.
La Pointe du Grouin marks the westernmost tip of the Bay of Mont-St-Michel and boasts beautiful views east and west. On either side of the Pointe is a coastal path and the southerly facing path leads you to an array of coves with small ports tucked inside. Each port is sheltered, creating beautiful places to sit and enjoy the view of the Bay of Mont-St-Michel. The coastal path westerly leads past a line of sandy bays and rocks, all with glorious views of the stunning French channel.
The Moulin de la Saline is a stunning windmill located in Brittany to the north of Cherrueix, a small city in between St Malo and the Mont-St-Michael. It is a granite tower type mill, and like the other mills in Cherrueix, has been listed a protected building since 1977. The Moulin de la Saline translates to the ‘Mill of salt’ and is named so due to its past as it was formerly the seat of an establishment dedicated to the production of salt.
The Rochers Sculptes are a truly remarkable piece of art that are hidden at a little-known cliff in Rothéneuf, a city just north of St Malo. There are over 300 sculptures that were all chiseled into the rocks there by a deaf, mute and partially paralyzed priest, Adolphe Julien Fouré in the late 1800s. Fouré lived in Rothéneuf as a hermit and completed his sculptures using only a hammer and chisel. It is worth noting that there are no handrails or stairs there so make sure you are wearing proper footwear to explore the works of art.
Baule Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in the world and has a beach that runs 9km from Pornichet to Pouliguen on the west coast of Brittany. The beach is perfect for the whole family with kids’ clubs for the youngsters in the summer and a selection of bars and restaurants to grab refreshments throughout the day for the adults. Behind the pines that line the promenade, you’ll see a range of luxury villas and hotels where wealthy holidaymakers choose to stay on their Breton adventure – a great place for celebrity spotting in the summer months.
Mont Garrot lies 17km south of St Malo and at 73m high, has a fantastic 360-degree view over the Rance Valley. You’ll find the small vineyard of Clos Garrot which used to be the site of wine cultivation by monks in the middle ages and underwent restoration in 2003 to the vineyard it is today. The vineyard has over 1000 vine plants which are all cultivated by hand without machinery. Near an old windmill on the peak of Mont Garrot, you’ll find the tomb of Gargantua the giant who was said to have been so big that he had to be folded seven times in order to be buried!
Loire Valley is renowned for its beautiful chateaux. Its position was decided by French Royalty to be a safe location away from the political corruption of Paris, leading the Royalty to build around 300 castles, each with a unique design and architecture. You’ll find gorgeous moats and extremely pristine gardens, finished with unique statues and ornaments to be in awe of. In some of the chateaux you can go inside and find out more about the building’s history with museums and galleries.