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St-Malo Citadel

St-Malo Citadel

The walled grey granite Old Town of St-Malo is the main tourist attraction for visitors to the area. With its atmospheric narrow streets, bustling bars, restaurants and shops, the citadel makes an ideal base for a long weekend break in Brittany.

Perched on a granite island, the Old Town was originally only accessible by a long causeway. This changed in modern times with the construction of the inner harbours joining the citadel to the mainland.

Today, although the buildings give the impression of great age, they are almost all the result of a staggering reconstruction project which returned the town to its former glory after WWII. This project was only officially completed in 1971.

It is possible to walk almost the complete circuit of the walls and this refreshing promenade provides some wonderful vistas. In addition, the town's beaches can be easily accessed from various points on the way.

For a preview image and further information click on the numbered markers below.

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St-Malo Castle 1. Chateau de St-Malo The impressive Castle of St-Malo acts as the town hall and is also home to the Museum of St-Malo.

The museum covers a number of themes including the long maritime history of St-Malo, 19th century writers of which Chateaubriand is the most well known, WWII occupation and the destruction/ reconstruction of the town.

St-Malo: Cathedrale St-Vincent 2. Cathedrale St-Vincent The tall spire of the Cathedrale St-Vincent soars above the streets of the Old Town and is clearly visible to visitors arriving by sea.

There has been a church on the site since the 12th century with the current gothic cathedral dating to the 13th. A plaque in the aisle commemorates the departure of explorer Jacques Cartier to Canada.

St-Malo: Porte St-Vincent 3. Porte St-Vincent The main entrance into the citadel is via the Porte St-Vincent gate. Immediately inside and to the front of the Castle is Place Chateaubriand, the liveliest part of the Old Town and home to numerous hotels and restaurants.

Outside this entrance are the inner commercial harbours of St-Malo.

St-Malo Hotel: Demeure de Corsaire 4. Demeure de Corsaire Also known as the L'Hotel d'Asfeld, this 18th century mansion block is one of the few buildings to survive the war intact. It was built by the wealthy ship owner and director of the French East India Company, Francois-Auguste Magon.

To gain an insight into the lives of St-Malo's rich merchants, it's possible to take a guided tour around parts of the building.

St-Malo Porte de Dinan 5. Porte de Dinan Located at the south facing walls, this is the place to go for those interested in taking a boat trip. Ferries make the short hop to Dinard as well as longer excursions up river to Dinan and west along the coast to Cap Frehel.

It also marks the start of the Mole des Noires, a long curved jetty with a lighthouse which gives an alternative view of the citadel.

St-Malo Corsaire: Robert Surcouf 6. Statue of Robert Surcouf Further on from the Porte des Bes, which provides access to the northern end of Plage de Bon Secours, is the Champs Vauverts and a statue of the famous corsair, Robert Surcouf.

At the north west corner of the ramparts, the bulk of the Tower Bidouane hosts various temporary exhibitions.

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