Whilst the majority of visitors are drawn to St-Malo by it’s ancient walled citadel, there is an additional attraction in the form of St-Malo’s beaches just a stones throw beyond the city walls.
St-Malo’s beaches and islands draw many visitors during the summer season. The sandy beaches of fine white sand and a cluster of rocky islands can be reached on foot. The latter are home to a variety of fortifications, as well as the tomb of Chateaubriand, and provide great views back to the walled city.
The exposed sands make it possible to walk a half circuit of the Old Town on the western and northern sides between the Mole des Noires jetty and the Chateau de St-Malo. East of the chateau, the long sandy Grande Plage stretches towards the district of Parame. For those visiting the islands, timetables are available at the Porte St-Pierre gate to provide guidance on beating the rising tide.
Plage Du Mole
The most southerly of St-Malo’s beaches, the Plage du Mole, nestles in between the Mole des Noires jetty and the Bastion de la Hollande.
The relatively small size and sheltered nature of this beach means that space can be at a premium in peak season.
Plage de Bon Secours
The larger Plage de Bon Secours can be accessed from the northern side of the Bastion de la Hollande via the Porte St-Pierre gate. A sailing club is situated on the ramp down from the gate.
A seawater pool, Piscine de Bon, provides bathing for those who don’t wish to walk to the waters edge at low tide.
The main reason tourists make the walk to Grand Be is to see the resting place of St-Malo’s famous son, the French politician and romantic writer, Chateaubriand.
On his own instructions, Chateaubriand was buried here in 1848 under a simple cross facing out to sea.
Beyond Grand Be is the smaller island of Petit Be which is still accessible by foot at low tide.
The well-preserved Fort du Petit Be, dating back to the reign of Louis XIV, was recently opened to visitors and contains cannons and an exhibition on tides.
Plage de l’Eventail
Outside the northern walls of St-Malo is the Plage de l’Eventail which is the rockiest of the Old Town’s three beaches. It links up with the Grande Plage at Fort National.
As a child, Chateaubriand described how this was one of his favourite places to play.
Dating back to 1689, Fort National was designed by Vauban along with the other defences surrounding St-Malo to protect the French corsairs from English incursions. It never fell to enemy action.
A 35 minute tour of the fort takes in the various subterranean chambers deep under the battlements.
To the north east of the castle, the main sandy beach of St-Malo stretches some two miles towards the seaside suburb of Parame.
This is a popular place for those staying outside the city walls and has a large number of hotels.