Saint-Malo

Boats in the harbor, with Intramuros in the background

Saint-Malo is a small walled coastal town in Brittany, France.

Understand

Once the feared base of pirates (corsairs), heavily fortified against Norman (or English) attack, today's Saint-Malo is one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. The star of the show is the atmospheric walled city (intramuros), largely destroyed in the second world war but painstakingly reconstructed. The modern towns of Parame and Saint-Servan lie outside the walls.

Get in

By train

Saint-Malo's train station is located over a kilometer south of the intramuros area, but it's an easy 20-min walk straight down Avenue Louis Martin. There are a few direct TGV services daily from Paris (Gare de Montparnasse), which take about three hours. Most travellers, however, will end up connecting in Rennes, from where there are hourly commuter services (50 min, 12) to Saint-Malo.

By ferry

From the UK you can arrive from Poole and Weymouth on Condor Ferries. Leaving from Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries. From Jersey & Guernsey you can take Condor Ferries which offers direct routes from both islands.

By bus

There are two buses daily to Pontorson (line 17, 1 hour, 2,5), which depart from the train station and stop at the city walls. The buses are timed to connect to onward buses to Mont Saint Michel (15 min, 2), allowing a fairly comfortable day-trip.

Get around

Saint-Malo has a good bus system, with the main terminals located at the train station and just outside the walls (St Vincent). Get a booklet with maps and times from any bus driver. A one and a half hour ticket costs 1.15. Unfortunately there are no bus services late in the evening.

The walled city is easily covered on foot, but you can also opt for a dinky "Tourist Train" that takes you and your wallet for a ride (5.50).

See

Do

Beach and ramparts

Buy

La cale aux trésors 2 passage de la grande hermine, intra-muros. website French delicatessen shop.Wineshop.

Shops in the city center usually close by 19 hrs, but most of them now (as of 2010) stay open every Sunday. -Including high street cloth stores, which before 2010 were not allowed to open on Sunday and now are allowed-

Eat

Cancale Bay oysters

Saint-Malo is a great place to sample Breton specialties.

The Intramuros area has what is quite possibly France's highest concentration of creperies and seafood restaurants. Most cater solely to tourists and are effectively identical.

In St Malo you can eat at any time of day. In smaller towns nearby, you can look for the lunchtime "menu ouvrier" (workers' menu). Often there is little to no choice of dishes, but what you get is genuine French home cooking for half the price, if that, of what you would pay in a tourist centre like St Malo or Mont St Michel (French lunchtime is sacred. Every French person observes it religiously.).

Drink

Brittany is not a region that's renowned for its wine, but it has other specialties:

Sleep

There are many accommodation options in Saint-Malo, including over 20 hotels within the walls, but they can fill up very fast in season book ahead.

Budget

Mid-range

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.