St. Malo is a historic french port with a lovely old town center. Having just climbed and walked along the ramparts of Dinan, it was a treat to see another walled city and another set of ramparts.
Ramparts: In St. Malo, the ramparts are facing the sea since the ramparts were built to protect the city from invading ships. Head for the old part of the city which is not hard to find. It is at the very north and east end of the city perched over the water. The beaches are wide and mostly on the north side of the old city.
In many places logs have been placed as a breakwater next to the sea wall. These logs were pictured on some of the souvenir items so perhaps they are a sign of St. Malo. We thought they were pretty cool looking.
Quebec: As we walked along the ramparts, in one section I saw some familiar flags, Quebecois flags, and so we headed over that way. On top of one of the high points of the city (with a good view) there is a building called Quebec House. I was expecting something pretty cool inside the lovely historic looking building but it turned out to be pretty empty with one employee. However, a little research about the connection between St. Malo and Quebec after I got home was interesting.
What is the connection between St. Malo and Quebec? Well, it turns out that Jacques Cartier, who was one of the first to sail the St. Lawrence river in Canada was originally from St. Malo. Perhaps other sailors (or even his whole ship) were from St. Malo as well. And perhaps there were other ships who sailed to Canada from St. Malo.
Perhaps, now that I know more, I can ask a Quebecois. And perhaps St. Malo is a must see stop in France for them. I know that there was at least one couple from Quebec there since they sat next to us at lunch. They are the only Quebecois I have ever seen in France. I hadn’t yet seen the Quebec house, but if I had I might have struck up a conversation. If I didn’t speak to them how did I know they were from Quebec? The accent. Quebecois speak french with a very distinctive accent.
Things to do in St. Malo: We only had a morning and early afternoon to spend in St. Malo so we didn’t have time to do that much but what we did was fun and we would have liked to stay MUCH longer. St. Malo is great for walking. The beach is wide and the sand is firm. The seawall is long. There is also a small fort that you can visit. I can’t tell you much about it since we didn’t go there. We also saw this super cool sea water/seaside swimming pool. Look carefully in the picture below for the square bit of water.
Food: We had mussels in restaurant perched on the ramparts overlooking the beach. The Buvette de Bains is a good spot to stop and have a drink and a snack. Most everyone was having beer or wine and mussels. For us, one order of mussels was enough for the three of us as a small lunch.
I am used to PEI mussels (Prince Edward Island, Canada) which are large and uniform in size. These felt like they had been collected off the shores nearby as they were sized from small to medium with a few large ones thrown in. It is hard to ruin a dish that includes garlic and wine, and these mussels were as good as any I have had, especially considering we were sitting on the ramparts with a gorgeous view. I recommend the mussels and/or a drink since it was clearly their specialty. Since this is just a combo food shack/restaurant other menu items may not be so fresh or tasty.