St Malo is an extremely popular tourist destination in Brittany, and the tourists have good reason to flock there. An important port during the 17th and 18th centuries, St Malo was home to the Malouin privateers (essentially pirates sanctioned by the government) who terrorized the English ships in the Channel. St Malo was a military stronghold and the walled city on the mouth of the River Rance has protected the estuary and sea since the 12th century, although most of the remaining granite buildings (reminiscent of the Mont St Michel in style) are later additions. The walled citadelle contains more shops, restaurants and bars now than pirates' lairs, and plenty of hotels, and the clean beaches nearby make St Malo an ideal place to spend some time.
The City of Corsairs, founded partly by Vauban, opens the door to offer you a stay of history and relaxation. Walking along its old streets and the ramparts, you will discover the signs of the very rich history of Saint Malo and of its well known corsairs: historic monuments, art galleries, corsair manors, brisk markets invite you to an unforgettable stroll. In the daytime like at night let you rock by the unique atmosphere of “the old city”, the City of Corsair.
Thanks to the discovery of America and the extension of trade exchanges with India, Saint Malo develops on the international level. Ship owners become numerous and some personalities of this time make the city famous.
Jacques Cartier discovers and explores Canada, the corsairs harass merchant and military enemy navies, among them Duguay Trouin, and later Surcouf.
Other famous figures of Saint Malo appear in the sciences, for example Maupertius, or also in literature and politics, like the well-known Chateaubriand. Developing their activities the ship owners start building their manors, called Malouinières (houses of Saint Malo).
It's the history of Saint Malo that offers the opportunity for numerous and pleasant visits and walking tours in and around Saint Malo. All around Saint Malo you have the opportunity to discover the charm of Brittany coast escaping to Dinard, Cap Fréhel or also the Mont Saint Michel.
Finally Saint Malo is famous for its phenomena of tides during the seasons of March, September, October and November which offer you a spectacular show especially when waves go over the sea wall. Go to our page history and walking tours in Saint Malo.