2 September 2015
Saint Malo, France: Location, Location, Location

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

This little piece of Brittany has a story of its own as well as a firm hold on pieces of European, North American, and South American history.

It’s all about location: offshore islands at the mouth of an important river.

Before the arrival of the Romans, a promontory fort had been erected at Aleth, south of the Saint-Servan district, commanding the approaches to the Rance River.

A monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan in the early sixth century included a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo or Maclou.

The settlement has a long history of setting itself apart.

Walking through the cobblestone streets of Saint-Malo feels like time travel, little changed from the 1500s, when the explorer Jacques Cartier set out from here for the New World.

But, in full disclosure, almost everything you see has been rebuilt from the rubble of World War II.

This beautiful little place, a fortified town on what was once an island, was a German holdout after the Normandy landings to the north. Allied forces wanted to open up additional ports to bring ashore men and supplies, and Saint-Malo was one of the places chosen.

In late August and early September 1944, the historic walled city of Saint-Malo was almost totally destroyed by American shelling and bombing as well as British naval gunfire.

On this visit,  I went with guests about an hour inland in Brittany to the beautiful,  mostly untouched Medieval town of Dinan on the Rance River.

We inspected the half-timbered shops and the simply elegant Saint-Saveur church.  I also made a visit to the Chateau of Dunan.


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Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.