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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 48°38′53″N 2°00′27″W / 48.6480555556°N 2.0075°W / 48.6480555556; -2.0075

Commune of Saint-Malo

View of the walled city
Saint-Malo is located in France
Country France
Region Bretagne
Department Ille-et-Vilaine
Arrondissement Saint-Malo
Canton Saint-Malo-Nord and Saint-Malo-Sud
Intercommunality Saint-Malo
Mayor René Couanau (UMP)
Elevation 0–51 m (0–170 ft)
(avg. 8 m/26 ft)
Land area1 36.58 km2 (14.12 sq mi)
Population2 52,737  (2007)
 - Density 1,442 /km2 (3,730 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 35288/ 35400
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Saint-Malo (Breton: Sant-Maloù; Gallo: Saent-Malô) is a walled port city in Brittany in north-western France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine department.



The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season. With the suburbs included, the population is about 135,000.

The population of the commune more than doubled in 1968 with the merging of three communes: Saint-Malo, Saint-Servan (population 14,963 in 1962), and Paramé (population 8811 in 1962).

Date of Population
(Source: Cassini[1] et INSEE[2])
1793 1800 1806 1820 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
10,730 9147 9934 - 9949 9981 9744 10,053 10,076 9997
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
10,809 10,886 10,693 12,316 10,295 11,212 10,500 11,896 11,476
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
11,486 10,647 12,371 12,390 13,137 12,864 13,836 11,311 14,339
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2004 2007 -
17,137 42,297 45,030 46,347 48,057 50,675 - 52,737 -
For the census of 1962 to 1999 the official population corresponds with the population without duplicates according to the INSEE.

Inhabitants of Saint-Malo are called Malouins, Malouines.

Breton language

In 2007, 0.7% of the children attended the bilingual schools in primary education.[3]


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.

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".[4]

Saint-Malo became notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and sometimes pirates. (In the nineteenth century the city's "piratical" notoriety was portrayed in Jean Richepin's play Le flibustier and in César Cui's like-named opera derived therefrom.) 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 of St 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.


Saint-Malo has one of the highest concentration of sea food restaurants in Europe. It is famous for its local oysters from the nearby village of Cancale.


Saint-Malo is a terminal for ferry services to Poole, Portsmouth and Weymouth in England via the Channel Islands.[5][6] It also has a railway station offering direct TGV service to Paris and a bus service provided by Keolis. There is an Airport at Pleurtuit, a little village near to Saint Malo.

Sites of interest


Now inseparably attached to the mainland, Saint-Malo is the most visited place in Brittany. Sites of interest include:

  • The walled city (La Ville Intra-Muros)
  • The château of Saint-Malo, part of which is now the town museum.
  • The Solidor Tower in Saint-Servan is a fourteenth century building which holds a collection tracing the history of voyages around Cape Horn. Many scale models, nautical instruments and objects made by the sailors during their crossing or brought back from foreign ports invoke thoughts of travel aboard extraordinary tall ships at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
  • The tomb of the writer Chateaubriand on the Ile du Grand Bé
  • The Petit Bé
  • The Cathedral of St. Vincent
  • The Privateer's House ("La Demeure de Corsaire"), a ship-owner's town house built in 1725, shows objects from the history of privateering, weaponry and ship models.
  • The Great Aquarium Saint-Malo, one of the major aquaria in France.
  • The labyrinthe du Corsaire, (an actraction park in Saint Malo)
  • The Pointe de la Varde, Natural Park.
  • The City of Alet, in front of Saint Malo Intra Muros.

Notable people

Saint-Malo was the birthplace of:


International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Saint-Malo is twinned with:


See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From Wikitravel

Boats in the harbor, with Intramuros in the background
Boats in the harbor, with Intramuros in the background

Saint-Malo is a small walled coastal town in Brittany, France.


Once the feared base of pirates (corsairs), heavily fortified against Norman (or English) attack, today's Saint-Malo is one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. The star of the show is the atmospheric walled city (intramuros), largely destroyed in the second world war but painstakingly reconstructed. The modern towns of Parame and Saint-Servan lie outside the walls.

Get in

By train

Saint-Malo's train station is located over a kilometer south of the intramuros area, but it's an easy 20-min walk straight down Avenue Louis Martin. There are a few direct TGV services daily from Paris (Gare de Montparnasse), which take about three hours. Most travellers, however, will end up connecting in Rennes, from where there are hourly commuter services (50 min, €12) to Saint-Malo.

By Ferry

From the UK you can arrive from Poole and Weymouth on Condor Ferries. Leaving from Portsmouth with Brittany Ferries. From Jersey & Guernsey you can take HD Ferries. Leaving from Jersey, it takes about 1 hour, Guernsey sailings go via Jersey, or Condor Ferries which offers direct routes from both islands.

By bus

There are two buses daily to Pontorson (line 17, 1 hour, €2,5), which depart from the train station and stop at the city walls. The buses are timed to connect to onward buses to Mont Saint Michel (15 min, €2), allowing a fairly comfortable day-trip.

Get around

Saint-Malo has a good bus system, with the main terminals located at the train station and just outside the walls(St Vincent). Get a booklet with maps and times from any bus driver. A one and a half hour ticket costs €1.05. Unfortunately there are no bus services late in the evening.

The walled city is easily covered on foot, but you can also opt for a dinky "Tourist Train" that takes you and your wallet for a ride (€5.50).

  • Ramparts (Remparts).
  • The walled city (La Ville Intra-Muros)
  • The Chateau
  • The walled city view from the "Memorial 39-45"
  • World's first tidal power station, [1]. The tidal power plant reportedly attracts 200,000 visitors per year. A canal lock in the west end of the dam permits the passage of 16,000 vessels between the English Channel and the Rance. The display centre is looking a bit tired and there isn't much to see from the barrage wall. Getting there is a bit tricky, bus routes C1 and C2 get you to within a kilometer walk.  edit
  • Watch the impressive tide.
  • Walk (or jog) along the beach.
  • Walk around the walls of the walled city(free).
  • Visit the Festival des Folklores du Monde (World Folklores), which takes place at the beginning of July. There are dance and music performances from around the world. You can also dance when Celtic Breton bands play music in the main square of Parame district.
  • Look at the many hundreds of sailing boats of all sizes and ages in the harbour/s.


La cale aux trésors 2 passage de la grande hermine, intra-muros. website [2] French delicatessen shop.Wineshop.

Cancale Bay oysters
Cancale Bay oysters

Saint-Malo is a great place to sample Breton specialties.

  • Breton Pancakes: not just the world-famous sweet crêpes, but also savoury galettes.
  • Kouing Aman: this is a delicious Breton cake made with butter and sugar. Try to sample them piping hot, especially the ones with apple added in.
  • Mussels (moules): fished in the place and available in any restaurants.
  • Oysters (huitres): the best are from Cancale, a village near to Saint-Malo. In France, they are eaten raw.

The Intramuros area has what is quite possibly France's highest concentration of creperies and seafood restaurants. Most cater solely to tourists and are effectively identical.

  • Cafe de Saint-Malo, just inside Grande Porte. The restaurant here is unspectacular, but what makes this the best deal in Intramuros is the window selling fresh seafood to go. For €5, you can get a dozen large oysters, preshelled, on ice and with a quartered lemon.
  • Petit Crêpier, Rue Ste Barbe, tel. +33-299409319, [3]. True to the name, this restaurant is small and has crepes, but their daily selection of seafood galettes is a cut above the pack. €10.
  • Coté brasserie, 8, rue des Cordiers (intra-muros), tel. 2-99568340. New proprietary. . seafoods and chips. Well separated smoking and non-smoking areas. €20-40.
  • Captain-Ice, Rue Jacques Cartier, Intra-Muros. This may well be the best ice cream place in town. Try Amour de Glace (Love of Ice cream) for something really yummy. Prices are slightly high, but you get big quantities and very high quality!


Brittany is not a renowned region for its wine. Otherwise, there are other specialities:

  • Breton beer
  • Cider
  • Calvados: apple brandy
  • Chouchen: mead (it's a blend with alcohol and honey)


There are many accommodation options in Saint-Malo, including over 20 hotels within the walls, but they can fill up very fast in season — book ahead.

  • Le Centre Patrick Varangot, 37 avenue du R.P. Umbricht (near the beach, 30-40 minutes by foot from the walled city), tel. 02 99 40 29 80, E-mail :, [4].
  • Best Western Central, 7 Grande Rue, +33-2-99408770, [5]. Superb location just inside the main gate of the walled town, but lower floors can be noisy. Rooms are small but clean, some with views out onto the street, some with shower, others with bath. Wifi available (separate charge). No parking. €98.  edit
  • San Pedro, 1 rue Sainte Anne, +33-2-99408857, [6]. Comfortable small nautical-themed hotel within the walled city. Rooms have shower, WC, TV, wifi. Daily changing themed breakfast available (€7.50 extra). Internet bookings unreliable, so call to confirm. €55/67 without/with sea view.  edit
  • Visit nearby Mont Saint Michel - a monastery and town built on a tiny outcrop of rock in the sand, which is cut off from the mainland at high tide. It is one of France's major tourist destinations, and as such gets very busy in high season. Check the times of the tides before you visit!
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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