The company I work for is great at organising short trips both in England and abroad. One that I went on a couple of years ago was a 2 day trip to St Malo by ferry.
We arrived in Portsmouth by coach at around lunch time and boarded the ferry. We spent the rest of the day and evening looking round the boat’s shops abdhaving a drink in the bar with entertainment.
In the morning we had breakfast early and disembarked before any of the shop were actually open. Not that this bothered us much as it meant we could enjoy another cup of coffee and a croissant in a lovely french cafe.
We waited a bit longer for the rest of the town to wake up and then set about visiting the island’s cathedral, walking along the fort walls and browsing in the tourist aimed shops. (And a bit more eating of course. Freshly baked baguette with cheese and ham. Mmmm!)
It wasn’t until late in to the afternoon that we left the walled city and headed for home. Arriving back in Portsmouth the next day to a coach waiting for us.
It was only a short trip but well worth the slight nausea andsea sickness. St Malo has lots to offer from its interesting history to the stunning architecture and fort walls.
History of St Malo
Saint-Malo (French pronunciation: [sɛ̃.ma.lo]; Gallo : Saent-Malô; Breton: Sant-Maloù) is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.
Traditionally with an independent streak, Saint-Malo was in the past notorious for piracy. Today it is a major tourist destination, with many ancient, attractive buildings.
Saint-Malo during the Middle Ages was a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance River, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. The promontory fort of Aleth, south of the modern centre in what is now the Saint-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan early in the 6th century. Its name is derived from a man said to have been a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo or Maclou.
St. Malo is the setting of Marie de France’s poem “Laustic”, an 11th-century love story. Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1490–1493, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto “not French, not Breton, but Malouins”.
Saint-Malo became notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and sometimes pirates. In the 19th century this “piratical” notoriety was portrayed in Jean Richepin’s play Le flibustier and in César Cui’s eponymous opera. The corsairs of Saint-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who sailed the Saint Lawrence River and visited the sites of Quebec City and Montreal – and is thus credited as the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands – hence the islands’ French name Îles Malouines, which gave rise to the Spanish name Islas Malvinas.
In 1758 the Raid on St Malo saw a British expedition land intending to capture the town. However the British made no attempt on St Malo, and instead occupied the nearby town ofSt Servan where they destroyed 30 privateers before departing.
The commune of Saint-Servan was merged, together with Paramé, and became the commune of Saint-Malo in 1967.Saint Malo was the site of an Anglo-French summit in 1998 which led to a significant agreement regarding European defence policy.