Things to do in Saint Malo, France

Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany

St Malo
Old town fortification and port view of St Malo

Situated on the estuaries of Rance river in Northern France, Saint-Malo is a popular historic town. The town has a rich history due to a long tradition of piracy and loot of the English ships passing the channel. Today, this fortified city attracts tourists for its classic old town, local seafood, and the beach.

Saint Malo in France is about half an hour from Rennes by car. One can even take a direct train from Rennes to reach to St Malo in about an hour. To get around the town, there are frequent buses from the main train station. Bus fares are pretty cheap. If you arrive by car, there is plenty of car parking outside the old town fortification but during high season, it may get full quickly.

The old town area has all must do things in St Malo. So let’s go inside.

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La Grand’ Porte

St Malo
La Grand’ Porte, St Malo

There are multiple entry points for the old town but why not to choose the main, grand gate. The gate has two robust towers on either side. The grand gate is quite impressive with thick walls and intentional kept iron gate and old pulleys to lift the door to open in the past time. There is a toilet on the right side of the entrance.

The road in front of the gate is Grande Rue and it leads to Cathédrale Saint-Vincent de Saint-Malo. There are numerous restaurants, souvenir shops on both the sides of the street. 

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Old town fortification/ Rampart

St Malo
A leisurely walk on the rampart at St Malo

This rampart is a characteristic feature of St. Malo and is a ‘must see’ attraction for visitors. It starts from Porte Saint-Vincent – little north-east of the main entrance but one can climb on the walls from grand gate also. Walk around this fortification is free. It offers scenic views over the river Rance, English Channel and the ‘new city’ of St Malo. Keep walking from bastion to bastion and enjoy the views.

From this town wall, people like to watch the dramatic tidal changes on a flat sandy beach in front. During low tides, one can walk on the beach and may visit the Grand Bé. It is a small rocky island reachable on foot (only during low tide). It is a perfect Instagram worthy spot for the view over St Malo old town.

City walls of Rothenburg are also worth visiting

Old town

St Malo
The Tower Bidouane

In the St. Malo, not only the rampart walk is the fun but also the old town streets and lanes. There are numerous narrow lanes flanked by tall grey blocks of stone buildings. Today, these buildings have branded shops, restaurants, and hotels. Check out their signboards. Some shops have old styled or funny signs made out of wrought iron.

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Try local delicacies

St Malo
Classic signs on the shops in St. Malo

While walking through lanes of the old city of St. Malo, you will come across lots of restaurants and bakeries selling local specialties. Do not hesitate to enter and taste them. You are gonna love it. Being a coastal town, you will get fresh seafood. Try fresh mussels and oysters. (well, I would recommend going to Cancale for real Oyster treat). You are in the Brittany region of France, I.e. crepes and savory crepes (galettes) are the region’s specialties. Pair your food with locally produced cider or Calvados or Breton beer. Do not forget to end your meal with Breton cake- Kauing Aman.

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Saint Malo in France is kids-friendly, charming little town. One can easily spend one full day here and see all of the attractions. For some extended fun experience, one can stay at any of the variety of accommodations. St Malo is one of my favorite places in Brittany. I am sure, you will also like it.

St Malo, this fortified city attracts tourists for its classic old town, local seafood, and the beach #StMalo #France #thingstodo #LaGrandPorte #rampart #galettes  #brittagne
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