Saint Malo built its wealth during the 16th to 18th centuries, when it was a base for many 'official pirates' - these were ships approved by the King of France to attack and seize the goods from ships of other nations. It was a profitable trade as evidenced by the town that we can now see - and also its fortifications.
The town was very largely destroyed during the liberation of France in 1944 and much of what we now see is a reconstruction, albeit one of the very highest quality in meticulous detail.
One of the best ways to discover St Malo is to take the 2 km walk around the high, sturdy ramparts that encircle the town, with good views of the town itself and also of the beaches, coast and surrounding area. This part of the town is on a peninsula with water more or less all around.
This will be followed by an exploration of the walled city of Saint-Malo within the ramparts, known as 'Intra-Muros', to admire the grand granite houses dating from the days of the pirates. Enter through the impressive Porte St Vincent (which also accesses the rampart walk).
Other highlights include the 12th century Saint Vincent cathedral in the centre of the intra-muros; the Parc de la Briantais, which is an attractive very large open park area which offers good views; and there are some interesting exhibits about the history of St Malo in the town museum.
Just off the coast and accessible only at low tide are two small islands (Petit Bé and Grand Bé), one of which holds the 17th century, Vauban designed, National Fort.
Airports near Saint-Malo
Dinard airport at 10 km Rennes airport at 70 km Ryanair flights are available from East Midlands Airport and Stansted Airport
Ferries to St Malo
Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth
Condor Ferries from Weymouth and Poole
We are members of the Brittany Ferries Property owners club and you can obtain a discount when using them. Please enquire if you would like further info on this.