Saint-Malo is a resort town with interesting sights located in northwestern France, in Brittany. About 45,000 people live here, and during the High Season the population can increase fivefold.
Top 8 Sights of Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo was first mentioned in the early 6th century, when the Britons, under Anglo-Saxon pressure, began to cross the English Channel and move from the British Isles to the European continent. Celtic kings lived in this city.
The golden age in Saint-Malo came in the 16th century, when the townspeople expelled the viceroys of the French king and declared their city an independent, sovereign state. But later a new port of Lorient was founded in Brittany, which undermined the importance of Saint-Malo.
During World War II, the Allies landed in Brittany and wiped the town off the map. The modern attractions of Saint-Malo, with some exceptions, are all post-war reconstructions.
This is one huge attraction where extreme lovers will get the most thrill. Here visitors are offered to feed the sharks or spend the whole night in the same room with them. Children can pet less dangerous creatures, such as a sea spider.
Another attraction is diving in a small submarine into the depths of the pool, where thousands of fish and other sea creatures live. You get the authentic feeling of being in the depths of the ocean and enjoying its beauty.
The Grand Aquarium was built and opened to the public more than twenty years ago, but is still considered the largest in Brittany today. It is home to at least 12,000 fish, including 8 sharks, and other marine animals, placed 8 themed rooms.
Grand Baie Island
On this island, located in the English Channel, near Saint-Malo, is the grave of Chateaubriand, the famous French writer of the 19th century, one of the founders of Romanticism in France.
In addition to his talents as a writer, Chateaubriand also had a great diplomatic gift. He was a diplomat under Napoleon and under Bourbon rule, serving as French ambassador to Britain and Germany.
Chateaubriand dreamed of being buried in his small motherland, so he worried in advance about resolving this issue, which took almost 10 years. On his grave you can read that the writer, even after his death, wished to hear the sound of the wind and the sea.
The cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Vincentian
This Catholic church was built in the 9th century, but it burned to the ground in an arson attack by the Franks on the city. However, the monks of the local monastery eventually rebuilt the temple.
In the mid-12th century, the pulpit of the Catholic cathedral was moved to this church from a neighboring settlement. As a result, the church became a cathedral and was reconstructed in the Romanesque style; later it changed architectural styles several times.
During World War II, the spire of the cathedral collapsed; it was not replaced until the 1970s.
Today this cathedral is called a cathedral by old memory, although the bishopric no longer exists in the city.
The Citadel of the City
This citadel was erected at the behest of the Dukes of Brittany in the first half of the 15th century. In all, four mighty, massive towers were built at Saint-Malo, with artillery mounted on their tops.
At the end of the 16th century the fortress was seized by rebellious townspeople, they killed the governor and proclaimed the Republic of Saint-Malo. A century later, one tower was rebuilt to resemble a ship’s prow, and the citadel became known as a pirate fortress.
At the time of the French Revolution, the fort was razed to the ground and the fort itself became an ordinary soldier’s barracks. In World War II, the citadel was badly damaged. Today it has been restored and given to tourists.
This is a very powerful fortification formerly located in the neighboring town of Saint-Servant. But after its merger with Saint-Malo, the tower became part of the latter, and today it is part of a large residential area.
The Sodidor Tower is the calling card of modern Saint-Malo and one of the city’s favorite tourist attractions. It was erected at the end of the 14th century to take control of the rebellious Saint-Malo along with its surroundings.
During the French Revolution, the tower was used as a prison. Today it houses a museum dedicated to the great navigators and travelers. There is also a memorial to the victims of World War II.
Saint-Malo was born as a monastery, and later, in the course of its development, it became a powerful fortress, which gave this small town the opportunity to proclaim its own sovereignty.
Therefore, Saint-Malo has many architectural and historical monuments and landmarks related to fortifications: towers, fortress walls, forts, built in different centuries of the complex history of the city.
Such is Fort National, standing on an island rock near Saint-Malo and built on the orders of the French King Louis XIV. At various times it has been Royal, Republican, Imperial, and now just National Fort.
This museum is located in a medieval castle in the historic part of town. Construction of the castle began in the 15th century by order of the Duke of Brittany to protect Saint-Malo. And the city museum was opened in the castle in the 1920s.
During World War II, the castle was badly damaged, but later almost completely rebuilt.
The museum is very popular with tourists who want to learn more about this amazing city of pirates and brigands.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Peter
The town of Alet, later annexed to Saint-Malo and becoming one of its districts, had its own diocese and cathedral, built in the 10th century. In the 13th century, the inhabitants of Aleta rebelled against Saint-Malo, but the latter was victorious.
The authorities of Saint-Malo ordered the destruction of the castle, the fortress walls and the Cathedral of Aletha. However, the temple, even as a ruin, is of great historical and cultural value, so it is extremely interesting to archaeologists, other scientists, as well as tourists.