Known as the ancient home of French corsairs, Saint-Malo is now a very welcoming and popular tourist destination. I have been many times to Saint-Malo at many different stages of my life. I have always loved it, and it’s one of my recommended places to visit in Brittany. Here are my tips on Saint-Malo points of interest to help you plan your visit to Saint-Malo and the region.
Points of interest in Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a lovely port on the English Channel with a great History. For three centuries, it was the main port of the French kingdom.
One of the most remarkable things you notice in Saint Malo is the ramparts. They go around the entire town centre. The 2 km walk on the walls of the city gives a beautiful view of the harbour, the bay, and the inner city centre. It’s not rare to find walls around Brittany’s most beautiful towns, but it’s still something remarkable!
Castle and forts
The Chateau de Saint-Malo, built in the 15th century, provides great views of the city too. You’ll find a museum inside to learn more about the history and the life of the city.
In the 17th century, Vauban – a French military genius very highly respected by Louis XIV – was sent to Saint-Malo to design the defence of the city. From the ramparts and the beach, you can see a few forts designed by Vauban on the small mounts in front of the city. Some of them become an island at high tide. Chateaubriand, a very famous French writer, is buried on one of them, Grand Be.
The Cathedral Saint-Vincent, from the 12th century, has been renovated and is worth a look. You’ll find there the tomb of Jacques Cartier, the French explorer who discovered Canada.
The lovely town centre
Inside the walls, the ancient style of the city of Saint-Malo has been preserved, which gives a lot of charm to the town. It is gorgeous. I liked wandering the streets and shopping for food: oysters, winkles…
I just love seafood, and there are plenty of options for great local food in Saint-Malo. If it’s your first time in Brittany, you have to eat a “galette“. They use buckwheat flour to make this local savoury crepe. I love Brittany for the stunning landscape and culture, but eating local food is also one of the best things to do in Brittany.
One day should be enough to explore Saint-Malo points of interest, but you would not get bored if you choose to spend an entire weekend there.
This area has plenty to offer if you are there for longer.
Things to do near Saint Malo
The Mont St Michel, in Normandy but at the limit with Brittany, is only 50 kilometres away. It’s an excellent visit and can be perfect as a bundle with Saint-Malo for a great weekend gateway. If you have time to add Dinan to your visit, it’s one of the most beautiful towns in Brittany (and even in France). You can go there on a day trip with a tour on the Rance River.
I used to spend my summer holidays just nearby it when I was very young, in a small town named Cancale, reputed for its oysters. You can find many seafood restaurants there, in the city centre and at the port. There is a very nice hike to do there called “le Chemin des Douaniers” to go to “la Pointe du Grouin”, to admire the bay and, if the weather allows it, you can see the Mont Saint Michel far away.
Staying in Saint-Malo for the night? Click here to view available hotels*
Where is Saint-Malo?
Getting from Paris to Saint-Malo by train is super easy and will only cost you 20 euros if you find a good deal to book in advance. There are multiple trains per day, and it usually takes around 2.5 hours, so it is possible to visit Saint Malo on a day trip from Paris by train.
It’s a lot longer to go from Paris to Saint-Malo by car; you’ll need at least 4.5 hours.
Have you visited Saint-Malo? Do you like it as much as I did? Share your experience in the comments below!
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