Well, they have what is called a "Fest-Noz", roughly translated as "night-festival". Dancing and traditionnal Breton music is played while all around there is eating and drinking as is usual at these events. Traditionnal fare is generally a "galette-saucisse", a buckwheat pancake with a nice fatgrilled sausage inside that can be accompanied by fries. There's always beer on hand and in the some parts liberal amounts of cider.
This one, at the Moulin du Prat is a yearly event including a fine "son et lumiere" depicting local ways of working 200 years ago and a decent fireworks show. Entrance was 5€ per adult, children were free.
The watermill is open all year round for visits at 3€.
The "Fest-Noz" can be found all over Brittany at most times of the year where the Bretons remain faithful to their culture, but are welcome to teaching you some of the intricate and technical dance steps.
An exhilarating experience to be had with ULM-St Malo. Flying in an ultra-lite aircraft at 600 metres above the waves around the bays of St Malo and the Mont St Michel is a real eye-opener, giving you views that are only seen in magazines. I had the pleasure of doing this last week on one of the only fine days we've had so far this year with a superbly competent pilot, Thierry Moullin, during a couple of hours. I had chosen to go up on the high tide and got to see the Mont surrounded by water. Really something from up there. Cherry on the cake was the sight of roughly 20 dolphins just off the coast at pointe du Meinga. It's rare to see them this close in. Prices start in the 75/80€ region for a half hour flight and rise to 227€ for the long one around the two bays. It is not cheap but one of those things you may only ever do once in your life, and I heartily recommend it.
My flight started from the tiny airdrome at Dinan-Trelivan, up towards St Jacut and Les Hebiens with views as far as Fort la Latte and the Cap Frehel. We then followed the coast past Dinard, St Malo and Cancale and twice round the Mont St Michel, at a height of 1000 metres, as around the Mont is a restricted zone. Return via Cancale to St Malo and Solidor before making the run back to Dinan over the river Rance.
More photos can be seen here :
Lead photo Rock Pool Painting
We walked along the esplanade and then down on to the beach where some young people were playing football.
Went past the old tree trunks. which line the shore..what were they for?...where did they come from?....never did find out this story....have a look at the photo...I would love to know.
Even though there were dark clouds in the distance we ventured further afield....Lauren loves rock pools. you would think rock pools would be the same all over the world...but no you would be wrong.
And being the artist she is on her return to Australia two beautiful works of art were painted inspired by the rock pools of Saint-Malo.
And the storm came...but by then we were waiting in the hotel foyer...ready to leave for the train station for our return to Paris.
MSM is not far from the historic port city of Saint-Malo
We arrived too late on our train from Paris to go to MSM by the tourist bus...(I believe there are more options for times to travel later in summer). We could have left the train at Rennes to go to MSM but we had decided it would be simpler to go and come back from Saint-Malo
What a shame as we hoped to visit on the day we arrived but, voila!, we met a friendly taxi driver and for a reasonable price we were soon on our way....and he drove the scenic route... stayed with us and helped order lunch which saved time and money with 'taxi waiting'... later he delivered us safely back to our hotel in Saint-Malo
We arrived at the parking area during the reconstruction to save MSM from sinking into the sea.
It was a long walk to reach the entry. There was a bus available part of the way. 2012.
I am told on good authority that the shuttle bus now drops off much closer to the entry...2013.
UPDATE from pfsmalo "Just for information, as from Monday the price of parking your car at the Mount is going up from 8.50€ to 12€. A jump of some 40%. On the good side you will not have to walk a km to get the shuttle anymore. That is of course Monday 3rd of June 2013."
We climbed the pathway past the shops and cafes to explore the monastery section...as usual we almost got lost in the dark interior
"The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name. The Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. More than 3,000,000 people visit it each year."
The first time I enterd France, I selected my best french to ask someone the way to... I don't know. I do know that the first 9 people I spoke to where... Portuguese.
More than 40 years later I entered Intra-muros in Saint-Malô, wondering why "muros" and not murs?
I made some research to discover how did we get a "Portuguese" name associated with this walled area of Saint-Malô. I got no answer, but I think that it is a coincidence, and the name may have something to do not with us, but with Spanish, that write it exactly the same way.
Well... forget the word and enjoy the walk. It's nice!
No other fortress that I've seen in the world, matched the imposing sensation of this fortress by the harbour.
The size of the wall and towers, the tightness of the houses and streets, all transmitted a sensation of protective strength that I couldn't feel anywhere else.
(work in progress)
Given its impressive fortifications built to repel would-be intruders, it's no surprise that St Malo also equipped withself with the weaponry to fire back.
At several points along the battlements, you'll find cannon strategically located to give at least as good as they got, which must have been formidable in their time. Sadly this impressive firepower was of no use whatsoever in the city's time of need, when it came under intense artillary attack courtesy of the U.S. Army's 329th Infantry during the Allied liberation of Bretagne in 1944.
These days, the cannons are quiet, and are best appreciated by little boys looking to play soldiers ...
(work in progress)
The walled citadel of St Malo is a visually stunning place in an austere sort of way: if it were a woman, it would be described as being 'chic' (elegant) rather than 'belle' (beautiful).
One of the most striking spects of the 'intra muros' ('inside the walls') area of the old town is the uniformity of the architecture. One of the reasons for this is that St Malo was bombed into submission before being recaptured by General Paton's Allied forces in August 1944. The weaponry used - incendiary mortar shells - was selected for the task in order to inflict maximum damage as a result of not only the mortar impacts, but also the resulting fires which ravaged the city. Over 80% of the old town was destroyed (only 180 of the 865 buildings were still left standing) and the reconstructive work took over a decade. Although every attempt was made to reconstruct buildings according to their original design - often piecing buildings together stone by stone - the fact that so much was rebuilt over a short time has probably lent even more unformity to the city's appearance than would have previously been the case.
St Malo's strategic importance along this stretch of coastline had long been recognised and was the reason why the town had been so heavily fortified over the centuries. Its position at the mouth of the River Rance was hugely important, as not only did it create a sheltered port, but the deep estuary also provided access to the interior of Bretagne. So it was a natural place for the occupying German forces to establish headquarters when they invaded the region in June 1940, and the city remained under occupation for the next four years.
In researching this tip, I came across this lively and beautifully written account of the siege of St Malo. I couldn't say it any better, so I have reproduced a 'taster' just to give you context, and would urge you to visit the website listed below if you are interested in learning more:
"Strategically, the battle for St. Malo is not known as a major battle but that should not take anything away from those who fought in it and their achievements. It is a story that could have come straight from the pen of a Hollywood script writer, an American commander with the improbable name of Major Speedie (329th Infantry) and a "mad" German Colonel von Aulock, complete with monacle and flapping coat. Von Aulock said he would hold out to the last man in an ancient fortress that had been heavily reinforced with concrete and contained underground tunnels, storage areas, power plants, ammo dumps, living quarters, and even a hospital, fortifications that had been built up to a level even greater than those on the Normandy beaches. Von Aulock was a veteran of Stalingrad and he was very experienced in street fighting and defense of a city fortification."
I understand that there is a museum St Malo's World War II history in the former German headquarters in Saint-Servan, although we unfortunately didn't have time to visit.
(work in progress)
This rather swashbuckling statue stands on the ramparts of St Malo and commemorates Jacques Cartier: master mariner and one of the band of incredibly intrepid European explorers who sailed westwards in the early part of the 16th century to claim a slice of the New World for their grateful monarchs.
Although he was born, bred and died in St Malo, Cartier spent much of his adult life exploring the north eastern coast of North America and is best remembered as the man who claimed Canada for the French crown. His mandate was both clear and challenging: the letter of commission from King Francois I stated that he was to, "discover certain islands and lands where it is said that a great quantity of gold and other precious things are to be found". No pressure, then!
Between 1534 and 1542, he lead three expeditions to explore and map the Atlantic coast of Canada and underlined his credentials as a master mariner by not losing a single ship in his three expeditions (an achievement almost unparalleled by his peers). On his first voyage, he discovered the Gulf of St Lawrence, and on subsequent voyages, became the first European to navigate up the St Lawrence Seaway, venturing as far upstream as the sites of modern day Quebec City and Montreal Island. Although he never managed to discover the vast mineral wealth that had been expected of him, he claimed Canada for the French crown and - most importantly - mapped the waterway that would open up the vast Canadian interior. He was also responsible for naming Canada, which is derived from the Iroquois word "kanata" (meaning village), which he mistakenly assumed was the name of the land bordering the St Lawrence Seaway.
Unlike many of his fellow explorers who perished during the course of their exploration, Cartier retired to his estate near St Malo on his return from his third voyage, and died at the age of 66.
I will give you the ones I like, there are several but these are my favorites.
,there are good beaches here, we look at plage de Bon Secours,right in the middle area from intra muros and a wonderful pool with diving deck right in the ocean! Kids will love this one.
plage du Mole is a bit secluded under the remparts and our favorite for its sandy white sand and tranquil waves.Lovely and more private if we can have that at the beach.
the beach or plage de l’Eventail is nice just below the chateau with a large cafe on beachside. This could be good for late nights under the moon ::)
This is an interesting architectural find, one fort the Vauban fans to seek.
This fort was previously called Fort Royal and for a time as name also known as the Fort Impérial . The current fort was built in 1689 on plans of Vauban by order of king Louis XIV, at the same time that the ramparts were reinforce to insure the defense of the city of St Malo
During WWII ,the fort was a nazi prison that jailed the malouins in very bad conditions.
Today you can see it in low tides once the French flag is up, the fort is open, you access by the beach or plage del'Eventail facing the castle. You cross in low tide from the gate or porte Saint Thomas or the parking de la Galère (about 300 meters on foot). the tickets are purchase by the grill door at the fort. admission is 5€ adult.
mounds of ilots in the middle of the bay to St Malo, monuments to the past,and on the Grand Bé,the tomb of François-René Chateaubriand the great writer who ask to be buried here .
The Grand Bé is only about 500 meters from the beach at bon secours, and easily visible from it. You can visits these ilots in low tides.
this mound or Grand Bé was taken by the G company of the 3rd battalion of the 329 regiment of infantery of the USA on August 16 1944
The petit Bé is only a few hundred meters from the ramparts of St Malo and about 50 meters from the GRand Bé.
There is also a fort petit Bé that was part of the French army until 1885 and then now is part of the city of St Malo.
internet site for the fort du petit bé
This is a wonderfully preserve tour along the bay on the other side of the intra muros and what is was the original site of the city near cité d'Alet. Here is very quaint and open in contrast to the city intramuros. We were able to park for free along rue de la cité.
inside the tour there is a museum of cap horniers in honor of French discovered who turn first the Cap of Good Horn.
The tower was built by Duke Jean IV of Brittany in 1369 and now houses a museum from 1970 showcasing the collections of the museum of St Malo on navigation of long carriers and cap horns, with maps, maquette model displays ,instruments of navigation etc.
The house of corsairs, its a historical building of the 18C hotel d'Asfeld; typical of the home of corsairs in the area, and totally renovated after WWII.
It can be rented out for any occasion, and it is a wonderful reproduction of the era of corsaires in the city of corsaires Saint Malo.
It once serve as a prison for women during the French revolution.
It is advisable to come here with children over 12 yrs old so they can grasper the history better. Visits outside school vacations here are every day at 15h ,it is closed Mondays; july and august and school vacations it is open every day from 10h -11h30 ,and 14h30 -17h30 ;admission adults are 5,50€
a replica of a frigate boat circa 1745 the Etoile du Roy sits n the bassin de Duguay Trouin as a living museum of an epoch gone by. A wonderful introduction to seaman life.
The boat is 47 meters long,3 masts of 310 tons with 240 men, armed at the time with 20 canons. At time of war, the admiral of France gave the orders to the ship captain to set sail, authorising it to attack the enemies of the King.
It has participated in TV series and can be rented for any event such as weddings here http://www.etoile-marine.com/en/
visits are 6€ adults, and guide visits available, they are open during the school vacations,and everyday in summer.