Archive for October 19th, 2018

October 19, 2018

Fougéres, more than its Castle!

And here I am at you again on my wonderful extraordinary Brittany or Bretagne, or Breizh. I have as mentioned on my posts on Fougéres many times by on my trips to and from Paris. However, once or twice I have stopped inside and written on it here, it is a small nice fortified town that can be a nice surprise to lovers of architecture and history. This is Fougéres of course.

I like to tell you a bit more on it on this post.

Fougères  in dept 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine, région of Brittany/ Bretagne.Located in the Marches (swampy areas) of Brittany, in the northeast of the Ille-et-Vilaine department. The fortified city initially developed on the plateau (about 140 meters above sea level) on the left bank of the Nançon, a tributary of the right bank of the Couesnon coastal River, the castle, oddly in a low position (at 114 meters above sea level), occupying a eminence of the convex shoreline at the lobe of a particularly accentuated meander of the Nançon.

Fougères is located at: 330 km from Paris, 40 km from Rennes, 58 km from Mont-Saint-Michel, 81 km from Saint-Malo, 290 km from Brest, 140 km from Nantes. Fougères is served by the Estuary expressway A84 between Caen and Rennes, and by the N12 which crosses the city from east to west. By the N12 going from Brest to Paris via Rennes and Alençon, but whose section is now downgraded to the departmental road between Romagné and Rennes, the construction of the A84 expressway which passes a little to the west of the city, but to which Fougéres  is , from its road bypass, connected by a four-lane road. Since the stop of the regular traffic of travellers between Fougéres and Vitré there is no train service since 1972. The N12 road is the one I take lately to go to Paris toll free.

A bit of history I like

Fougères is historically, since the arrival of Latin in Armoric, in the territory of practice of Gallo in which it is called Foujerr. Its name in Breton is Felger; However ,Breton has never been spoken in the country of Fougéres which lies outside the traditional area of diffusion of the Breton language yet the entrance panels of the agglomeration have been installed there for several years with Breton language.

The creation of Fougéres dates back to the Middle Ages. The first mention of the Castle of Fougéres  is found in the late 10C. It was at the time a simple wooden fortification located on a rocky ridge, whose position dominated the Nançon valley and the surrounding marshes. Fougéres  was at the crossroads of two Roman lanes, one from Chartres to Carhaix and the other from Avranches to Nantes. From the 12C onwards, the population departed from the banks of the  Nançon river  and the city grew higher in height, divided into two parishes: Saint-Sulpice for the lower town and Saint-Léonard for the high town. From the Middle Ages, artisanal activity developed around the tannery, weavers and clothiers in the lower town.

Built in the 11C by the Lords of Fougéres, the first fortification, defended by Raoul II, was taken by Henri II Plantagenet in 1166 and destroyed. Raoul II, obstinate, will have it rebuilt in more imposing, and it will become a stronghold defending the borders of Brittany, Mont Saint-Michel and Nantes. The population of Fougéres requests assistance from the Duchy of Brittany. And it was returned to its circle in 1428, sold by Jean II of Alençon. But in 1449, a man named François de Surienne, a Aragonese mercenary in the service of the English, seized and sacked it, in order to force Brittany to ally itself with England. There are many massacres, which provoke the reaction of duke François I of Brittany, determined to get rid of the English. The Duke of Brittany allied himself with Charles VII of France, attacked the south of Normandy and put the siege in front of Fougéres. Surienne and his men, however, manage to resist and make themselves conditional on being able to leave free. This episode announces the Battle of Formigny. Finally , La Trémoille, French general, seized Fougéres in 1488, during the Mad War.

During the French revolution the province of Brittany disappears and its privileges with it. The first changes made are well received. But the population then divides, the civil constitution of the clergy of priests, the lifting of Mass trigger a rebellion, the Chouannerie. In 1793, the campaigns are increasing and soon the troubles escalate into riots. The same year, during the trip of Galerne, the Chouans and the Vendéens took over the city on November 3, 1793 which was taken over on November 18, 1793 by the Republicans (revolutionaries). For eight years, the city and its region passed from hand to hand, with the passing of numerous massacres and lootings. The chief of the Chouans in the vicinity of Fougères was the young general Aimé de Boisguy. The region of Fougères was concerned by the schism of the Church, Catholics refusing the Concordat of 1801, known locally as “louises”.

The monument to the dead of Fougéres bears the names of 640 soldiers from the town who died for France during WWI. The military square bears the names of 148 other dead soldiers in Fougéres, but not native to this city, because Fougéres hosted in its hospital during WWI many casualties of the war from afar.  The monument to the dead of Fougéres bears the names of 52 people who died for France during WWII. The liberation was marked by the terrible American-British bombardments of 6 and 8 June 1944,

Things to see

The Château de Fougères occupies an area of two hectares. It is made up of three enclosures in a good state of conservation. If the lordship dwelling is in ruins, the thirteen towers are still standing. Some are visitable, such as the Hallay Tower, The Hague Tower (12C), the Raoul Tower (15C), or the Melusine tower. At the entrance there is a triple water mill. Access to the West curtain makes it possible to observe the  city from above it afar with great views. If anything this alone is worth the detour to see it!You go by this boutique store for the tickets then continue into the St Hilaire tower, into the enceinte or central square of the castle where you can look up all the towers such as Guédameuc, Coigny, Guilbé, Gobelins,Poterne,Mélusine, Surienne, Raoul,Cadran to come back out again.  Between the Poterne and Gobelins towers you can see the old ruins of the keep with traces of the original wooden castle from 1166AD.  Inside the most interesting towers are Mélusine, showing how the castle was built, Surienne, life in the castle, and Raoul, the power of Brittany  with coronation of the Duke Francis II.


The Porte Notre-Dame; this gate of the 15C with a double drawbridge presents numerous tusks including moats, wells, machicolations, etc., and a protective Virgin facing outward. It is the only fortified gate in the city that still remains. The Theatre de Fougéres is rather nice but never been inside.  You past by the nice homes of the Place du Marchix where the maison de Savigny is the oldest in the city, 14c/15C.


The Church of Bonabry which the works began in1891 and ended with a blessing from the Archbishop of Rennes in 1893. In Neo-Romano-Byzantine style, the façade of the Church is inspired by Notre-Dame-la-Grande of Poitiers. The chorus was rebuilt after the bombardment of 1944. Its capitals were done in 1962. In city center there is a nice small Musée de l’Horlogerie (Clock museum )that looks very nice quaint but no time to go in yet, just browse the shop.

The Saint-Sulpice Church is home to two remarkable medieval altarpieces in monumental granite, with carved decorations: The Tanners ‘ altarpiece and the altarpiece of Notre-Dame-des-Marais. The Church of Saint Sulpice, at the street, Enclos Etienne de Fougères, founded in the 11C at the foot of the castle. Taking a quotes from the tourist office who always explained it better, this is the take, rebuilt in the 15C and 16C  in a flamboyant Gothic style, completed for the choir in the 18C, St Sulpice church is one of the richest in Brittany.  Inside you will discover the nave preening hull overturned boat, the choir in rocaille style of the 18C woodwork of Louis XV, the medieval altarpiece in granite, the stained glass of the 16C. On the left of the nave , the altarpiece dedicated to Notre Dame des Marais is one of the rare altarpiece in granite kept in Brittany, with one of the tanners lying in mortuary chapel. Outside , the sculptures strike by the imagination of their inspiration. You will find the so called Gargoyle, the satyr, and the sculpture of the fairy Melusine above the door of the church.

The Church of Saint-Léonard, located at the top of the high City, offers a panorama view of the town.  The Church of Saint Léonard was founded in the 12C ,rebuilt in the 15C, and 16C. With a portal and a rosette of six meters in diameter from flamboyant Gothic style. Outside, admire the North facade with balusters and strange gargoyles. The South chapel contains the oldest stained glass of Brittany  (12C) which comes from the Abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris. The North Chapel holds an array from the 19C. During the high season, visitors have access to the Bell tower of the church where they will discover an incredible panorama on ferns, its monuments and the surrounding countryside. The mortuary chapel of the Church houses the oldest stained-glass window preserved in Brittany: the medallion of St. Benedict.  Donated by a parishioner after the French revolution, it comes from the Abbey of Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis 93) and illustrates the history of Saint-Benoît. Left of stained glass, he returned to the monastery where the Abbot hands him his coat of monk; right, a priest visits him.  Above a Jerusalem cross fragment incomplete, recalls that a jacket was placed under the feet of the donkey. Wonderful indeed.

The former Convent of the Clarisse Urbanists, built in 1680 and destroyed in part by a fire in 1794, now houses a cultural center after being used as a prison and then as barracks. You come to see the Beffroi or Belfry of the city, off rue  Nationale. Symbol of the wealth of trade with distant regions, the first belfry of Brittany was erected by the burghers of the city in 1397. Its architecture is inspired by the Flemish models of the Drapers of Ferns and were discovered during the travels in Flanders. Engraved on the Bell is the inscription: ‘in 1397 the bourges of ferns made me and call me Chapelle Roland. We moved on to walk its wandering street , see the petit train work,and the wonderful Théatre Victor Hugo. We very much enjoy the market or marché, lots of folks full, and goodies like those cheeses we got from maison hautbois stand their home base in the Manche (50).

The city/town hall was built in the 15C. The Emmanuel-de-la-Villéon museum; House with porch built in the 16C located near the Church of Saint-Léonard.  The Hôtel de la Belinaye, built in 1740, is the birthplace of the Marquis de la Rouërie Armand Tuffin. It now hosts the city courthouse. The Victor-Hugo Municipal Theatre, one of the last Italian theatres, was built in 1888. La Tour du Papegaud, a place where the plot of the novel Les Chouans by Balzac unravels. The Public Garden: located in the upper town, it offers a remarkable panorama of the city, overlooking the castle and the medieval quarter around the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Le Val Nançon: A landscaped garden that offers many ambiences to discover as you step up. Exhibition of contemporary works including the work on the life of Louis-Marie Catta since 2000.



As we left the city,  we encountered two characters one in a huge statue by rue Rallier (can be seen from rue Nationale)  of Général de La Riboisiére,  Jean-Ambroise Baston the Riboisiere  was born in Fougéres. He was classmate of Napoléon Bonaparte at the artillery school of la Fére, general and Baron of the Empire,  inspector–general of artillery, played a decisive role with his guns at Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, Danzig, Lena, Smolensk, and Borodino, where one of his sons was killed. Shortly after he died in  Königsberg, Prussia, the General was buried at Les Invalides, Paris. But his heart rests at the Monthorin castle in Louvigné du Désert. The statue of the General found back in 1999, as the one left in 1942.


Another one, very interesting for me was of Marquis de la Rouërie, Armand Tuffin. Born at Fougères, in 1751, Armand Tuffin de la Roûerie  is covered with glory in America under the name of Colonel Armand, during the war of independence.. He remains a friend of  Gen. Washington. Back in Paris, he was the ardent defender of Breton privileges.  At Saint-Ouen-la- Rouërie, shortly before  1789, he founded the Breton Association who in 1791-1792 prepares an insurrection against the French revolutionary movement. Betrayed by one of his friends, the doctor in this case, hunted down  he died of exhaustion in the castle of Guyomar (côte d’Armor dept 22) on January 30, 1793. He will be beheaded post-mortem. RIP.

Again out of habit and simplicity, here are some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my blog posts.

City of Fougeres on heritage

Tourist office of Fougeres

Tourist office of Ille et Vilaine on Fougéres

Tourist office of Brittany on Fougéres

There you go ,now you are well armed to see and enjoy this wonderful city of Brittany: Fougéres.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 19, 2018

Some news from France CXCXV

So let me take a break from my lovely Brittany ! if I can . So I can update you on my belle France and especially on my romantically beautiful exciting Paris! Ok ok I am not going into the poetic me, anyway I probably fail in that dept but will bring you up to date on the events and my ramblings in the city of lights and love!

The weather is sunny nice almost like Summer here now at 65F or about 15C… about the same at Paris! Did I need to tell you the weekend !!glorious and ready to step out again into my Brittany love.

Palais d’Iéna Suspension historique.  A century of abstract sculpture (1918-2018) from the unprecedented angle of the aerial suspension, it is the exhibition not to be missed at the Palace of  Iéna. Some fifty works signed by the greatest (from Alexander Calder to Sol LeWitt) mingle in this grandiose architecture of Auguste Perret. Until 28 October 2018. More here Le CECE palais d’Iéna Paris

Orphée et Eurydice. Version Berlioz.  It is indeed the score prepared by the French composer in 1859 for the resumption of Gluck’s opera by the famous soprano Pauline Viardot: He then fixes a few verses which he denounces the silliness and proceeds to some improvements of the narrative. But to these reshuffles, Raphael Pascal has added his own. At the opening festive and luminous,disconnected from the drama to come. Do not miss this production of the opera of Gluck at the Opera Comique Hall Favart . More here Opera Comique Paris

Les Journées des plantes de Chantilly at the Domaine de Chantilly awaits 200 exhibitors: nurserymen, collectors, landscapers, plant professionals, horticultural associations, sellers of accessories and tools… From collection plants to great classics, lectures, animations, green hands will find their happiness. From Friday 19 October to Sunday 21 October 2018 from 10h to 18h. admission from 12€ to 20€. More here Flower Show at Chantilly

La Dame de cœur, le son et lumière from Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, comes up to October 25 2018. Centenary of the Armistice obliges, the story happens at the end of WWI, on a battlefield. In the Twilight, a meeting is established: that of a young French nurse and an American dying soldier. The Soldier’s dream? Discover Notre-Dame, which he has never been able to visit.  From this tragic starting point, starts a festival of lights and colors, where the paintings follow one of the most famous Parisian monuments. The great lady is adorned with a thousand motifs that marry her rich façade, and seems to come to life before our eyes. Magic! Forecourt of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.  15 meetings up to October 25 2018 from 19h30 to 21h30. Free event ,more here:    Sounds and LIghts from Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

As part of the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of the Franco-Japanese painter Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita, a free exhibition, organised from October 20 2018  to January 13  2019, highlights his “great compositions” and makes them dialogue with art Contemporary. Tuesday to Saturday from 14h to 18h, Sunday from  14h  to 18h30. Château du Val Fleury at Gif-sur-Yvette. Free admission. More here :  Expo on Foujita

Meaux Beach, in Seine-et-Marne, is the only licensed and supervised whitewater bathing site in Île-de-France region! And my dear late wife Martine native town!. It is advisable to park behind the extended Quai Jacques-Prevert, in the parking lot located at the entrance to Avenue de la Marne. The beach is less than a five minute walk away. For snacks to eat try the captain’s Guinguette, where are offered aperitif baskets (7 euros) or formulas (main dish, dessert and drink at 13 euros) to be enjoyed on a covered terrace. With the Marin d’eau douce , you can rent electric boats without a permit for walks upstream of the Marne (40 euros per hour for five people).  More info here:   Swim by the Marne at Meaux

In Paris, they are trying to clean up the waters of the Seine and Marne river to open more beaches along them from now until 2025. An ambitous plan that I will keep you updated.


And now the coup , Pay to enter Paris? Builds on the experiences of London (UK), Stockholm (Sweden) and Singapore. 2,50€ per vehicle per day in a city of more than 100 000 inhabitants; 5€ in cities of more than 500 000 inhabitants and 10 euros maximum for heavy vehicles!!!  . This is already in London and has not lowered emissions still very high there but different rules now In London, if a motorist wants to access the London center between 7h  and 18h. from Monday to Friday, he must pay a fixed rate of 11.50 pounds, or 13 euros, regardless of the number of trips between the area and its exterior. Weekends, bank holidays, evenings and nights are free. In Stockholm, it is another system: every passage from 6h30. to 18h30 from Monday to Friday is paid but is capped at 10 kroner per day or 11 euros. The rate also varies depending on the timetable, to encourage you to take your car during off-peak hours. Every month, the bill is sent to the taxpayer. In London, residents of the area benefit from 90% discount. Electric cars are exempt as well as buses and taxis. Stockholm on its side is much less complacent with its motorists but the toll is tax deductible for those who do more than two hours a day by taking their car to get to their work instead of taking public transport. These two European capitals do not tax the cars of disabled people, the police cars or even the ambulances. London and Stockholm use automatic optical recognition systems for effective registration plates; In the English capital, 646 cameras were installed. They analyze 650 000 images of plaques per day. The authorities then send the bill to the motorists.  Singapore is with another device. Motorists have a coder box  in their car. As soon as they want to access the city center, they insert a prepaid card and the box communicates with the terminals installed at the entrances of the zone. Still in the Asian city-state, they project for 2020 is to use a GPS system that would geo locate the cars and calculate the distances travelled to adapt the tariffs  And the beat goes on with the car. This is the way to say as it is elsewhere why not here !! .Drive in Paris now Driving in Paris France

An American tourist was arrested on Thursday, at the entrance to the Château de Versailles, for using a drone to take pictures of the monument. It was a little over 12h30 in the afternoon, when the security PC of the castle alerted the police after noticing a man who was using a drone in the place d’Armes, in order to take shots, which is forbidden by law. On-site officials brought the tourist, aged 39, to the police station . Keep aware of the laws, do not do this ever ;ask if photos permitted etc do as the French do , period. So mad my former home is nice do not touch it !!! News in Le parisien newspaper, history of the city of Versailles  City of Versailles heritage

I also deplore the disappearance of the playground of the Jeux du Poussins Luco (game of chicks luco), in the Jardin du Luxembourg, where the small Parisians could bellow  more than half a century  on a Tyrolean and mute their families under the ramies of the Luco. I called the Senate (owner of the premises): Believing me reassure, they told me that the dealer family for fifty years has not been renewed (strange, right?) But that there would be new operators in March 2019, after six months of work, with games much more interactive. Sadly. Where Paris is going!!! The owners are the French Senate! Senate of France Jardin du Luxembourg

A bit of a nice seldom known event but nice again…The music festival is back in the Orangerie of the departmental estate of Sceaux until June 2019. The small nights of Sceaux have existed since 2011. More here Festival Orangerie at Sceaux

The Maison de Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges, Paris invites all to discover an unpublished exhibition of the political and literary cartoons of the author of the Misérables (wretches), published in the press between 1830 and 1885. To be seen until January 6, 2019. Exhibition caricatures, Hugo on the one. Maison de Victor Hugo. 6, Place des Vosges (4éme). Open Tuesday to Sunday and from 10h to 18h. Admission 8€. More here:    Maison Victor Hugo Paris

Trick or treat is coming; kids be ready, I will join you!!! Halloween!!!  One of the popular event for the kids and mine younger did participated at St Cyr l’école (Yvelines 78).  Pumpkin Feast (Halloween) at Gally Farms at both locations Sartrouville and St Cyr l’école.  From October 26-31 2018. More here:  Ferme de Gally St Cyr l’école

With Peur sur le Parc or fear on the park at the Parc Asterix and the Halloween Festival in Disneyland Paris, you can play to scare yourself. Activities for all ages, metamorphosed attractions and parades, scary shows and encounters to give you goose bumps. The perfect place to have a good time and a little ruffling during Halloween 2018 season. They are great did participated with my boys ,and still brings the kid in me as well. Enjoy them

Parc Astérix. Plailly (Oise dept 60).Until November 4  2018.  More info here : Parc Asterix fear on the park

Disneyland Paris. Marne-la-Vallée (Seine-et-Marne 77).Until November 4 2018. More info here  Disneyland Paris Halloween Festival

Some off the beaten path sites in Paris

To go to this Cathedral is a journey. I loved this sensation, the quality of silence, this distance that one can suddenly take with the outside, with our Lives . Some off the beaten path beauties of Paris; the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky. 12, rue Daru (8éme) More info here: Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Paris

The wonderful  parc Monceau of my days in Paris, It’s a green lung of Paris that reminds me of so many souvenirs, the pony rides for the boys, the rides, the swings. It is very big… it is a real pleasure to walk there. Parc Monceau. 35, Boulevard de Courcelles (8éme).More info here from the city of Paris :  City of Paris on Parc Monceau

A great cheese maker and an excellent baker. This is real living in my belle France and nothing beats a local market. The products are always fresh, sorted on the shutter , see it at the covered market or Marché couvert des Ternes. 8, rue Lebon (17éme). More info here from the city of Paris:  City of Paris on the market of Ternes

When a room full of spectators responds present, it is enthusiastic, it feels like a surfer who overcomes a wave. It’s exhilarating. And then, we must salute the quality of their programming  See the wonderful little Théâtre Tristan-Bernard. 64, rue du Rocher (8éme). More at Theater Tristan Bernard Paris

Caravage à Rome, Amis et Ennemis ( From Caravage to Rome friends and enemies) All the beauty up to January 28 2019 at the  Musée Jacquemart-André.158, bd Haussmann (8éme). A wonderful work indeed in a very nice museum. More here: Museum Jacquemart-André Paris

Mary Poppins à la Philharmonie. Wonderful in Paris. For the first time, the famous Disney film is presented in Ciné-concert. A perfect opportunity to rediscover in family this sparkling musical with timeless themes.  November 3 and 4, 2018. At the Paris Philharmonic (19éme) More info here Philarmonie de Paris on Mary Poppins

And to finish with the culinary arts of France, tops!

An old favorite especially when my trips to Switzerland were often and rejuvenated indeed. The Rostang family takes over the spectacular institution of Gare de Lyon and celebrates Lyonnaise and Mediterranean recipes. The LeTrain Bleu (blue train) is a gastronomic restaurant in the neo-Baroque style and Belle epoque of the 1900’s located in the lobby of Paris-Gare de Lyon train station in the 12éme arrondissement of Paris. The restaurant re-opened its doors on September 12th, 2014. The kitchens have been fully modernized. All the decorations and frescoes have been cleaned, restored, the walls repainted and the gilding ironed back to the gold leaf. The parquet floors and all the furniture were redone identical, however the club Chesterfield armchairs of the lounges were not kept. New armchairs and seats and chairs now have the new blue color.  On the ground floor the brewery was previously transformed into a musical bar. More on it here: Le Train Bleu at Gare de Lyon Paris

A street kitchen with pepper and salt on the left bank, where the market Saint-Germain proves that in these neighborhoods Blondin and two glasses of the street of thirst, starts to kindly open the mouth. Potato Tortilla: Well at the rebound. Iberians croquettes: Sharp. Wagyu: Biting . My latest gamble and it was great as usual in romantic Paris. Le Café du Marché. 6, rue Lobineau (6éme).Tél. +33 ( 0) 1 42 02 77 20. Open every day except Sunday dinners and all Mondays ; closest metro/subway/tube is Saint-Germain-des-Prés. More here : Le Café du Marché

Enjoy my belle France , all of it. And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 19, 2018

Upper Brittany, Saint Malo!

As I am cruising in my dear Brittany, why not go up north to another department ,this time no 35 Ille-et-Vilaine and the wonderful fortified city of Saint Malo!

Again, I have written in my blog on it but like to tell you more of the history and the intricate wall ramparts of this wonderful corsair city of upper Brittany! Bear with me ok

Saint-Malo is the main port on the north coast of Brittany. The name of the locality is attested in the Latinized form of  Macloviensem in 1162, then, Saent Madubugwu in 1282, Saint Malou in 1287 and in 1294, Saint Malo in 1304 during the revolution, the town was renamed Port-Malo, then Common-de-la-Victoire, then Mont-Mamet.

On the coast of the channel and on the right bank of the Rance estuary. It is located 18 km north of Dinan, 75 km north of Rennes and 404 km from Paris. Saint-Malo is the northwestern part of Clos-Poulet, a large peninsula bounded by the Rance, Manche and the depression of Châteauneuf.  The coastline of the Clos-Poulet is part of the Emerald Coast, stretching from Cancale to Cape Fréhel. Saint-Malo is bordered by Dinard, but is separated by the estuary of La Rance. The tides of the Bay of Saint-Malo are among the most important in Europe. They are caused by the concentration of water in the heart of a triangular bay between Brittany and Cotentin.

Saint-Malo is connected to Rennes and Paris by train. In season there are also links with Granville and Lille Europe (on weekends only). Many residents leave each morning to work in Rennes and return in the evening, enjoying two stops in the regional capital; In addition to Rennes train station, Pontchaillou station serves the Pontchaillou hospital, schools and the Villejean University campus.

The city center/ downtown with the historic city (old Saint-Malo), the city (old Alet) and the port, is formed by a complex coastline, with numerous reefs and marshes immersed in high tide, underwater tombolos, visible at the low tides of vivid waters , by islands or islets, many of which were fortified in the 17-18C such as Cézembre, Fort Harbour, fort de la Conchée, Grande Bé and Le Petit Bé, and the island of the Fort National.

A bit of history I like

De Canalchius (from the Old Gaul Canalch) became over time the intra-muros Saint-Malo. It’s on this one, surrounded by the islets of the Grande, the small and the National Fort accessible at low tide, lined with those of Harbour, Cézembre and Conchée in the studded harbor of multiple rocks, that the hermit Aaron welcomed a monk from what Will eventually become Wales: Maclow, Malo or Manail, the future Saint-Malo. On March 11, 1590, Saint-Malo declared its independence from the Kingdom of France and became the Republic of Saint-Malo. The four-year episode will end on December 5, 1594 with the conversion to Catholicism of King Henry IV . It is with the discovery of the Americas and the development of trade with the Indies; The shipowners became more numerous and characters of that period made famous the city, these were Jacques Cartier (discovered and explored Canada), and the Corsairs harassed the enemy merchant and military Marines, such as Duguay-Trouin, and later Surcouf.

During WWII, Saint-Malo and its surroundings were fortified by the Nazis as several ports of the Atlantic façade. The Festung (fortress) Saint-Malo becomes even as the entire coastal zone of restricted access. During the liberation of the city in August 1944, this Nazi garrison is actually located on the city of Aleth. These bombings and the fires they trigger destroyed 80% of the old town. The Nazis on the island of Cézembre will still resist for almost a month, only after intensive shelling by  land, sea and air, including the use of napalm bombs.

Things to see and do, and there are plenty

The start of the Rum Route, a solo transatlantic sailboat race, takes place every four years, and the arrival of the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo as a crew which also takes place every 4 years!

Saint-Malo is an active trading port, the second largest trading port in Brittany. It is composed of four basins, the Vauban basin, the Duguay-Trouin basin, the Jacques-Cartier basin and the Bouvet Basin. The port of Saint-Malo on passenger service to or from Great Britain, Ireland, Jersey or guernsey. The avant-port of Saint-Malo has two recent and efficient ferries terminals, the Naye Ferry terminal and then the Bourse terminal. Four lighthouses mark the various access channels: The Grand jardin, the Balue, the Bas-Sablons and Rochebonne.

St Malo

St Malo

St Malo

St. Vincent’s Cathedral, (see post)in Romanesque and Gothic style. It was the former seat of the bishopric of Saint-Malo until 1801. Dedicated to Saint Vincent of Zaragoza,and the  Evangelist Church of Saint-Servan; The Church of St. Croix; The Cchurch of Saint-Sauveur are nice ones to see.

The awesome here are the RAMPARTS:

The Porte Saint-Thomas, the first of the name, because there will be two others. It opens between two towers, the old dungeon, and the square tower; A second Porte Saint-Thomas is opened in the northern rampart, in front of the tower Quic-en-Groigne, allowing to leave the city. The second gate St. Thomas is destroyed with the old rampart and rebuilt in the new between 1737 and 1742. It is the third gate St. Thomas, which overlooks the cale and the Evantail beach  it still retains the old elements of the counterweight of its door.

st Malo

St Malo

The Grand Porte( big door), also called: the Sea Gate, because originally, the boats came to moor there. It consists of two towers with a firing platform with machicolations to quadruple heights. It’s the oldest door.

The statue of Our Lady of Bon-Secours, placed in a niche at the top of the door dates according to the experts from  the early 15C and seems to be already in place in 1439. The guard placed at the top, destroyed by a fire in 1661, caused  some damage requiring restoration and was rested and blessed in 1663. It is white limestone, and was polychrome. It suffered the outrage of time and people, thrown down and burned at the French revolution, it was finally restored and re-established. The original is now is in the shelter and is replaced by a copy. It has been credited with many miracles.

The Poterne de la Croix du Fief (Fief Cross), which disappeared during the first expansion (1708-1742), was replaced by the Porte Saint-Vincent during the expansion of 1709

The Poterne Brevet, destroyed in the second expansion (1714-1770), replaced by the Porte de Dinan, on the axis of it which happened to be at the corner of the current rue d’Estrées, the old ramparts, and porte de Dinan, giving access to the square.

The Poterne of Bon-Secours (1751-1871). In the event of danger, the poternes (small gates) was walled. The Porte Saint-Vincent, it was built between 1708 and 1710 and is part of the first expansion of the city called the Fief.

The Porte Saint-Louis, pierced in the curtain wall, in 1721, during the third expansion, it was opened only in 1874. It faces the Vauban basin, on the Quai Saint-Louis, and inside the city, at the rue de Toulouse and the Rue de Chartres.

The Porte de Dinan, in the 18C, called the Porte de la Marine ( Navy), or Porte de l’Evéche (bishop), because it was by this one that he made his first entrance into the city. It was built in 1714

The Poterne d’Estrées, opened in 1933, between the bastion of Holland and that of Saint-Philippe, opens on the beach of the Mole, and faces the rue d’Estrées. By Northern wind and stormy days, the water goes through there too.

The Porte Saint-Pierre, opens on the beach of Bon-Secours

The Porte de Bés, it overlooks the beach of Bon-Secours, and was opened in 1884 to facilitate the access to the Petit-Bé at the foot of which the steam boats arrived from Dinard. It was carried out in the Tower of Notre-Dame, also known as the La Découvrance (discovery). It is from this place that the watch saw on November 26, 1693, the English fleet anchored under the Conchée, ready to assail the city.

The Porte de Champs Vauverts, opened in 1879, it overlooks the rocks that surround the tour Bidouane, and allowing access to the square of Malo and Bon-Secours. Easy access to the Grand Bé  and Petit Bé islands

The Poterne aux Normands, its name probably comes from the rocks lying opposite the stones to the Normans. It was rebuilt after the bombardment and fire of 1944

The Poterne Jean de Chatillon, opened in 1757, condemned in 1871, during the opening of the Porte Saint-Pierre, it was reopened in 1958. She was called Poterne bon-secours , until 1971, and a poterne de la surveillance during the French revolution. It gives rue de La Crosse and allows access to the bon-secours square.

In continuation, other importants things to see are

The Château de Saint-Malo, (see post) which now houses the city/town hall, was built by the Dukes of Bretagne, its dungeon currently houses the Museum of History of the city and the Malouin country. Integrated in the northern part of the enclosure by the Porte Saint-Thomas, it separates-southeast of the Porte Saint-Vincent-by an interruption, the latter corresponding to the old moat which isolated it from the rest of the city.

St Malo

Like other permanent points of attraction in the vicinity of the ramparts, the National fort, north of the historic city, is accessible at low tide, as is the fort of Petit Bé, and the tomb of Chateaubriand on the Grande Bé island. The Solidor tower, which houses the International Museum of Long-course Cap-Horn; I even found parking here lol!

St Malo

The ancient Cathedral of St. Peter of Alet (in ruins); Vestiges of Gallo-Roman walls of Alet; The Nazi base of the city which houses the memorial 39/45, a place of remembrance dedicated to the fortifications erected by the Nazi army and the liberation of the town; and the fort of the city and its former Customs corps overlooking the Chemin de la Cordie, facing the Solidor tower and the Rance estuary; The Great aquarium Saint-Malo, with its shark ring, located on the outskirts of the city.  The carved rocks of Rothéneuf; The Manoir de Limoëlou, the manor of Jacques Cartier.

St Malo

A recap of wonderful things here.

There are numerous sites to see, however, my favorites are; Les Remparts or wall defense area around the harbor of about 1754 meters long, dating as old as the middle ages. There are intact from 1944 on…The Chateau, housing the musée d’Histoire in the grand donjon from the .15C; fortification by Vauban in 1500. The Cathédrale Saint Vincent, already a cathedral since 1146, recontructed after losses during WWII, now remains work from the 12C to the 18C, and it keeps the tombs of Jacques Cartier and René Duguay-Trouin. The Maison de Corsaire, most of the facades recontructed after WWII, see the wonderful hotel d’Asfeld, 18C used during the French revolution as a woman prison. The Fort National and Fort du Petit Bé ,built during 1689 on planning by Vauban in the bay of Saint Malo, they can be reach on low tides only . The le Grand Bé, in 1848 the writer François-René de Chateaubriand was buried here,and it can reach in low tides. The wonderful three mast boat Etoile du Roy a replicate of a corsary frigate of 1745, wonderful museum. The Tour Solidor is a wonderful place just outside intra muros in the quartier of Cité d’Alet,considered the oldest part where the original Saint Malo was founded; here on the donjon of the tower you have a musée des Cap-Horniers, in honor of the locals who were the first discoverers in the 17C. There is a petit train or little train, we didn’t took as we are used to walking but could be a respite for many and allows you to get an overview of the town, and it stops by the main gate porte Saint Vincent next to Chateau.

And of course, one cannot go away then eating at this magical place, so we had our lunch at one place recommended by coworkers, Créperie des Bés, 4 Rue Thévenard, close to the porte Saint Pierre at place du Guet. It was warmly welcome,and even thus the food was standard, the service and friendlliness was nice; it was ,also, an opportunity to meet one of my travel forum buddies Paul , for the first time; in all a wonderful experience. We have galettes of chorizo and potatoes,with kir and porto as aperos, a pint of leffe beers, and expresso coffee all for under 16€ per person. We had decided to have our dessert elsewhere, as we saw plenty of ice cream parlors; we stop at Sanchez  9 Rue de la Vieille Boucherie . We had numerous cones and bowl of 3 and four scoops each of magnificent ice cream of all flavors so many cant remember them now, lol!

Not to be outdone ,there are good beaches here, we look at plage de Bon Secours,right in the middle area from intra muros and a wonderful pool with diving deck right in the ocean! plage du Mole is a bit secluded under the remparts and our favorite for its sandy white sand and tranquil waves. the beach or plage de l’Eventail is nice just below the chateau with a large cafe on beachside.

Just outside the city limits there is the Saint Malo aquarium I must say was a welcome relief and nice laidout, including a dive into the Nautibus submarine ride and the big fish and sharks tanks was nice. You ,also,have a petting fish tank lol!!! nice for the entire family. You have free parking !!! and you end up here on the N137 road at the entrance of Saint Malo.

Again, many posts and info in my blog on this beautiful fortified town but for simplicity and habit here are some webpages to help you plan your visit here ,and a visit is a must.

City of Saint Malo on heritage

Tourist office of Saint Malo

upper Brittany tourist office on St Malo

Tourist office of Brittany on St Malo

And there you have it , with this and previous posts on St Malo you should have all you need for a wonderful visit to an extraordinary city of Upper Brittany, Saint Malo.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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