Saint Malo and the sea!

Well again written several posts on Saint Malo but feel very little on one of its biggest attraction the sea and the beaches. And they are plenty and beautiful here if only can have more time.

Saint Malo is in north Bretagne in the department 35 of Ille et Vilaine and about 155 km from my house or a bit over 2 hrs. Let me tell you a bit more of this city of corsairs.

Saint-Malo is the main port on the north coast of Bretagne. It is 18 km from Dinan, 75 km from Rennes and 404 km from Paris. It constitutes the north-western part of Clos Poulet, a wide peninsula bounded by the Rance, the Manche and the Châteauneuf depression. At the northeast end of Clos-Poulet is Cancale, which closes the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel to the west. The Clos-Poulet coastline is part of the côte d’Émeraude or Emerald Coast, which stretches from Cancale to Cape Fréhel.   The neighboring towns of Saint-Malo are, Saint-Coulomb, Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, Saint-Jouan-des-Guérets, on the left bank of the Rance, Dinard, La Richardais and Pleurtuit.

The tides in the bay of Saint-Malo are among the highest in Europe. They are caused by the concentration of water in the heart of a triangular bay between Bretagne and Cotentin peninsula. At most, the tidal range (amplitude between low tide and high tide) can reach 14 meters, more than double the ordinary tidal range in the Atlantic ocean. It is for this reason that the dam of the tidal power plant was built on the Rance estuary, upstream of the intramural of Saint-Malo in the early 1960s. Here, the sea offers you a different landscape at all times, swept twice a day by the back and forth of the tide. During the full moon or the new moon, the attraction is at its peak. The tidal coefficients generally exceed 100. Every six months, near each equinox (March-April and September-October), the tides are even stronger. These are the famous tides of equinox long awaited by fishermen on foot, because the sea recedes particularly far. But they are also very much feared by the residents of the seaside because the risks of flooding at the time of the high sea are frequent.

The most famous events in the city of Saint-Malo are associated with nautical races: the start of the Route du Rhum, a solo transatlantic sailboat race, takes place every four years, and the arrival of the Transat Quebec -Saint-Malo with crew which also takes place every 4 years. Saint-Malo also hosts occasional nautical events such as the start of the Course des Grands Voiliers (formerly the Cutty Sark) in 2012 or smaller ones such as the Raid des Corsaires in the bay of Saint-Malo. In the area, there is also a second-hand nautical fair, Saint-Malo à la Hune.

Saint Malo

Saint-Malo is an active trading port, the second largest trading port in Bretagne. It is made up of four basins, the Vauban basin, the Duguay-Trouin basin, the Jacques-Cartier basin and the Bouvet basin.

Saint Malo

There are two pleasure boat marinas. One is the Port de Plaisance des Sablons , Port des Sablons, Terre plein sud. Open in high season 7h – 21h. Low season 8h15 – 12h15 and 13h45 – 17h30.

Saint Malo

And the Port de Plaisance Vauban, in the Vauban basin handle by the chamber of commerce and industry of Sain Malo-Fougéres. Port Vauban marina: 225 berths on 3 wharfs and neighboring wharves 50 visitor berths All distances allowed. More info here: Tourist office of St Malo on Vauban marina

Saint Malo

There will be a nice museum worth waiting for and visit. The Musée d’Histoire Maritime de Saint-Malo or maritime history museum , which is schedule to open its doors to the public in 2022. Strong themes carried by 1704 objects and works of art, an exceptional location vis-à-vis the intramural and ramparts, at on the edge of the Duguay-Trouin basin and a stone’s throw from the beach, modern and sober architecture in visual and physical dialogue with the city and the port. You can take a peek in the youtube video below:

Two nice quant rides you can take in the bay fun for the whole family and use as a boat touristic tour (we love it) are

Captain taxi : All year round, From Dinard or from St Malo, embark with family and friends to discover the history and maritime landscapes of the Emerald Cost and Rance Valley. For a quick trip, the water taxi operates fast cruise services between Dinard, Saint-Malo, Cézembre Island and Ebihens Island. More info on the tourist office of Saint Malo here: Tourist office of Saint Malo on Captain Taxi

Taxi Boat : Join Dinard, Saint-Malo or Saint-Servan safely and without congestion!   Shuttle to the island of Cézembre. Discover its beaches, its beautiful promenade and stop at the corsair restaurant . More info on the tourist office of Saint Malo here: tourist office of Saint Malo no Taxi boat

Not to be outdone ,there are very good beaches here, we have our favorites over the times coming here. The plage de Bon Secours,right in the middle area from intra muros and a wonderful pool with diving deck right in the ocean! The plage du Mole is a bit secluded under the remparts and our favorite for its sandy white sand and tranquil waves. And the plage de l’Eventail is nice just below the chateau with a large cafe on beachside. Grand plage or plage du Sillon , 3 km long, extends from the city within the city to the tip of Rochebonne.

Saint Malo

There are 10 secure beaches at St Malo including those above, these are:

The plage de Bon Secours beach is accessible by the ramparts and the fortified town. 3 km long, it is the largest sandy beach in Saint-Malo. Along this beach, you can reach Intra-Muros in Paramé. Plage du Sillon includes the Grande plage, Hoguette beach and Rochebonne beach.

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

Located in the Paramé district, between Hoguette beach and Pont beach, Rochebonne beach is as much appreciated by families as passing visitors

Minihic Beach stretches west of Pointe de Rochebonne, between Paramé and Rothéneuf. Its location below a small cliff, offers the beach a slightly wilder and more green setting.

Sheltered by the ramparts, this sandy beach is located opposite the Fort National and at the very beginning of the Sillon, the Grande Plage de Saint-Malo. It is accessible from the ramparts by the Porte Saint-Thomas or by the Sillon. Fort National, built in 1689, is accessible at low tide. Further offshore, on the right, you will see the Fort de la Conchée, both built on the plans of Vauban, chief architect of King Louis XIV.

Saint Malo

Located at the entrance to the Rothéneuf district, in continuation of the Minihic beach, Pont beach offers a pleasant setting with easy access. This fine sandy beach opens onto the bay of Saint-Malo with the silhouette of the corsair city and Cap Fréhel as a background. By taking the coastal path at the end of the beach, you can reach Pointe de la Varde in just a few minutes.

Near the Bas Sablons marina, the Bas Sablons beach offers a beautiful panorama of the Cité Corsaire. The dike was built to protect the marina and offers a superb view of the Cité Corsaire.

Located in the continuity of the large Sillon beach, the Hoguette beach is located in front of the Thalassotherapy center of Saint-Malo. at its end you will find the nautical base and the sand yachting and surf school.

Val Beach is located at the foot of the residential district of Rothéneuf. This beautiful stretch of fine sand offers a pleasant plant environment appreciated by families.

The plage de Môle is protected from the winds by the pier which shelters the port, and oriented to the west, it is a very pleasant sandy beach for swimming, and therefore very popular in summer. The dike, called Môle des Noires, is a jetty 500 meters long.

Saint Malo

Some webpages on the beaches of Saint Malo to help you plan your visit and is a must are

My fav site plages tv on the beaches of Saint Malo in English: Plages tv on beaches of St Malo

The city of Saint Malo on its beaches in French: City of Saint Malo on its beaches

The tourist office of Saint Malo on its beaches in English: Tourist office of St Malo on its beaches

And there you go folks I feel better telling you the sea and beach side of wonderful Saint Malo in my lovely Bretagne. It is worth the detour for its monuments but in season can’t missed those beaches! They can match any in the world!!!

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

5 Comments to “Saint Malo and the sea!”

  1. Lovely pictures, great write-up. Is it somewhat like French Riviera or different? I have been to the Riviera and I loved it there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I visited St Malo in 2015 and really liked it, especially the timber sea defences!

    Liked by 1 person

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