February 23- 2018 | Europe
Posted By : HHLifestyleTravel
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I have visited Saint Malo twice now – once in 2007, and again in 2017. Back in 2007, a group of us decided to head to this fortified town on the Brittany coast via the overnight ferry from Portsmouth. The huge benefit of living in London (as we were at the time), is being close to the cheapest transport links – heading to the continent is just SO easy. Then in 2017, we stopped off there on our way to the Poitou-Charentes. There are so many things to do in Saint-Malo
France, it makes for a great long weekend away!
When taking the ferry from England, you can choose an overnight sailing via Brittany Ferries. Waking up with a view of the Bretagne coast is a lovely thing… even in the early morning fog. Saint-Malo is the perfect sized place to spend a weekend – this cute fortified port town has plenty to keep you busy, but is small enough to walk around easily.
Where to stay
We stayed to the south of the port and the fortified centre, which was easily walkable from the ferry, and was a lovely stroll around the harbour to the town. There are many hotels within the city walls, but we were on a budget, so this location was a perfect compromise between location and cost.
Things to do
Walking around the ramparts is a great way to orientate yourself, and get a view of the water. It also affords you views of the many restaurants and activities you can indulge in while you’re visiting Saint-Malo.
The ancient city walls were destroyed by allied fire during WWII, but were rebuilt between 1948-1960. The restoration has been done very sensitively, with wonderful traditional detail added.
Saint-Malo is known for its privateer past, and for the many famous tall ships which sailed from there (including the one that ‘discovered’ Canada). For those who are interested in Maritime history, you will enjoy the harbour.
For tourist information on Saint Malo, check the official tourism website.
If you fancy a day trip to Jersey
, Condor ferries have foot passenger fares for around £30. Or, you could do what we did, and take a wee jaunt over the harbour to Dinard
(further along the Brittany coast) via water taxi. The Hôtel de la Vallée
sits on the harbour and has lovely outdoor tables where you can have a glass of wine and enjoy the view back towards Saint-Malo.
Where to eat
For those who like seafood, this is the town for you – grand platters of langoustine, oysters and shrimp. And like always in France, you can get a mean steak! Because it’s a summer tourist town, there are lots of ice-cream sundae and crepe shops too. Rue Jacques Cartier is a street full of restaurants, but if you want something away from the hoards, take a wander beyond the cathedral. Although, to be honest, the food was good wherever we ate!
The Brittany coast is a delight to visit, and St Malo is a shining example of the fascinating (and war-torn) history of the area. There are so many things to do in Saint Malo France, you’d better set aside 2-3 days to enjoy it!
Check out our adventures at Mont Saint-Michel, on the Normandy coast, here.
All photos & content © Hannah Henderson and may not be used without permission (sharing this blog post is fine, though!). Images shot with a Fuji Finepix, a Canon DSLR T3i Rebel + Canon EF Lens 50mm 1:1.8 STM; and an iPhone6s.