St Malo: rock across the rocks

St Malo is France in an oyster-shell. A Francophile’s dream – artwork galleries, seashores, café society, on line casino, crepes, high fashion, macaroons, patisserie, shellfish and wine.  Fashionable Bretons deal with it as a Parisian cat-walk in entrance of a dramatic Gothic backdrop. French gastronomy with an invigorating sea breeze.  St Malo is the very essence of France. And on prime of all that it has two annual rock festivals as nicely.

Cobbled streets, inside a as soon as formidable fortress, are nonetheless protected by the ramparts of battle: seven metres thick in locations. Constructed to maintain out the English within the 17th and 18th centuries, right this moment the citadel protects guests from brutal Atlantic storms lashing the Brittany shoreline. There are extra fortifications than you possibly can fireplace a cannon at: 83 of them.

Surprisingly, St Malo is one thing of a misplaced treasure. Ferries from Portsmouth dock and 1000’s of vehicles race previous the outdated walled metropolis on their sprint to the South of France, oblivious of St Malo’s many charms. And so hasty are the French on their pilgrimage to go to “les rostbifs” that they race previous too.


In summer season, St Malo’s superb sandy seashore, the three kilometres lengthy Plage du Sillon and deceptively tropical-looking waters appeal to 1000’s of holiday-makers. Youngsters spend hours fishing within the shallow rock swimming pools.

There’s even a salt-water swimming pool, cleansed and stuffed by the tides, with a excessive diving board for macho exhibitionists. Fortified islands, defending the delivery channel, are miniature reflections of St Malo that draw artists to a novel seascape.

Inland from the seashores, St Malo has its Monet moments in spring and summer season, with colourfully planted gardens in its shoreline parks, offering foreground to the Breton seashores or views throughout the Rance’s estuary to inexperienced Dinard.

Café society

It’s a 4 hour drive from Paris’s Rive Gauche however St Malo’s cartoon pageant, e book truthful and busy cultural programme hold the Breton intelligentsia debating, over espresso, all year long. On the streets you’ll hear poetry recitals and teams singing sea-shanties too.

Politically unbiased St Malo, with angle, has all the time been house to a folks voicing sturdy beliefs: “St Malo first, then Brittany and at last, maybe, France.” Native pursuits dominate with St Malo nonetheless exercising the precise, granted by Louis XlV, to fly its flag larger than the Tricolore. From postcards and paintings you’ll quickly study that a few of the corsairs nonetheless possess cult determine standing.


Despite the fact that St Malo boasts the densest focus of French seafood eating places on the planet, in summer season, it’s best to e book prematurely, notably if you would like a desk on a terrace.

Menus will ceaselessly supply a duck salad, spicy chilly meat platter, pate or asparagus for starters in addition to the inevitable and impeccably sourced oysters. For a fishy metropolis the eating places are remarkably good at steaks – although with sea meals so recent its virtually legal to not go for fish or shellfish as a important. A crepe or cheese platter is the one option to end in true Breton fashion. Cargo Culte consists of loads of vegetarian choices on a menu that does inventive issues with tartines and quiches.

Le buying

Simply because the streets are cobbled and most vehicles are exiled to an enormous underground automobile park past town partitions, it doesn’t imply that St Malo’s retailers are a throw-back to medieval instances. Fashionable leather-based retailers make it a hand-bag Mecca plus loads of high-end up to date trend retailers too.

With wild Atlantic climate blowing in Brittany has developed it’s personal distinctive sou’wester-yellow moist climate gear, typically worn with horizontal blue hooped tops.

Crepes and galettes

After hard-work within the fields or the docks Brittany wanted to develop its personal high-energy quick meals. A savoury galette, a country pancake together with wheat or potatoes, topped with cheese ham and mushrooms makes for a considerable lunch – particularly when washed down with Breton Cider. Usually adopted by a lighter crepe with fruit.

Even in December, sheltered by the towering ramparts, hardy locals take their lunch al fresco at one in every of St. Malo’s quite a few cafes and eating places.


Within the age of the Corsairs, a well mannered euphemism for the royally authorised pirates who who plundered throughout the Seven Seas, – at one level the French East India Firm was renamed the St Malo East India Firm – St Malo folks developed a candy tooth for newly found flavours of the world.

Wealth and style nonetheless mix in up to date Chocolatiers. As soon as elegant mansions, constructed from St Malo’s prosperity, now home subtle chocolatiers the place elaborate chandeliers gentle tempting shows of chocolate and macaroons.

The Route du Rock

Staging a rock pageant in August for British and American bands round St Malo’s seashores and dramatic fortress was all the time going to be a hit. Radiohead’s efficiency on the inaugural 1993 bash didn’t do them any house.

Attracting over 15,000 partying pirates yearly, it was additionally inevitable that there could be a spin-off, since 2007 there’s been a Winter Assortment: scheduled for 22nd – 24th February in 2018.

39/45 Memorial

Hitler’s orders decreed that there ought to be no give up by German forces occupying St Malo throughout the Second World Battle. American bombing and British naval shelling lowered St Malo, by liberation in August 1944,to over one million tons of rubble. The invading American troops, utilizing napalm in warfare for the primary time ever, found that lower than 100 German troops had been left to defend town. Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the sunshine we cannot see, is the right learn to accompany a go to to the memorial’s poignant reinforcement of the horrors of World Battle ll. It took a 12-year restoration mission to rebuild town utilizing the native granite.