Archive for August 24th, 2020

August 24, 2020

Saint Malo and its beaches!

Ok so let me start by saying that this is north Bretagne in an area most folks do not know or realise the beaches are gorgeous and name so in many international publications. Of course, Summers are short and that is the big difference. Otherwise, as I said many times ,they can compete with any same time. And I grew in beaches and lived very near 150 meters as a young adult.

Oh yes let me tell you about the beaches of Saint Malo! There are about 16 beaches here but for us on the best and revisit this time is the Grand plage or plage du Sillon , 3 km long, extends from the old town intra muros to the pointe de Rochebonne.

Let me split them in two sections shall we! The beaches of Saint-Malo Intra-Muros.

The plage de l’Eventail beach is located below the walls of Saint-Malo. On the Plage de l’Eventail is the Fort National, which can be visited at low tide. But it’s at high tide that it’s most impressive. In 6 hours, the beach completely disappears and gives way to an immensity of water, still just as magical.

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The plage de Bon Secours beach is particularly accessible by the ramparts that border intra muros. Bon Secours can be recognized by its seawater swimming pool. And yes, when the sea recedes, there is this swimming pool which appears by retaining part of the tide. This is good for lazy people who don’t want to walk too far to go for a swim. And teens love to do somersaults from the diving board! For walkers, it is also by Bon Secours that one can access the Grand Bé where the Tomb of Chateaubriand is located. And in addition, there is a great view of Dinard. In summer, during the La Route du Rock festival, there are often events: it sets the mood!

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The Plage du Môle is the smallest beach of Saint-Malo Intra-Muros . The last beach of Saint-Malo Intra-Muros is accessible only through a small door. And honestly, to find it, you either have to know that the entrance to the beach is there or stumble upon it by chance. Môle beach is completely enclosed. It is not very tall but the weather is generally very good because it is well protected. At low tide, there is a sandbank that appears and you can therefore go very far out to sea with water only up to your knees. If the day is windy, this is definitely the beach you should go for. It is the most protected of the 3 beaches of Intra-Muros.

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The beaches of Saint-Malo (outside the city walls or intra muros).

The largest beach in Saint-Malo is the Plage du Sillon beach begins along Intra-Muros, where it bears the name Plage de l’Eventail. It is about 3 km long. This beach also links Intra-Muros and Paramé, two districts of Saint-Malo. During high tides, the Sillon beach, also sometimes called the Grande Plage, disappears entirely under the water and it is quite impressive to see!

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The end of the beach that touches the ramparts is called the L’Eventail, but if you walk along this long stretch of sand, it becomes the Sillon, the Hoguette or the Minihic. But the real feature of this beach is the rows of breakwaters that are found there. These long wooden sticks are driven into the sand along the dike to break the waves during high tides. These piles have been around since the 19C and do their job pretty well! You can walk or cycle there, see what you prefer!

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The other two are last choices but worth mentioning here for general info.me think.

The Plage de la Hoguette is a continuation of the Plage du Sillon. This section of beach is located right in front of the Thermes Marins de Saint-Malo, the thalassotherapy center. There is also a nautical base and a sand yachting school. When the weather is windy, there are also a lot of kite surfers facing the waves.

The plage de Rochebonne beach is the one that ends the Grande Plage which began at the L’Eventail. It is located in the Paramé district. It is particularly popular with athletes because beach volleyball or beach soccer games are very often organized there. If you want the most unobstructed view of the entire sea wall, Rochebonne beach is the place to be.

Most of the above information comes not only by our visits but also from resident friends of Saint Malo. Hope you enjoy the Summers in Saint Malo!

The tourist office of Saint Malo on its beaches: https://www.saint-malo-tourisme.com/decouvrir/l-eau/la-mer/les-plages

My favorite beach webpage plages tv on the beaches of Saint Malohttps://en.plages.tv/seaside-resorts/saint-malo-35400

And there you go folks a wonderful time on the beach at Saint Malo, dept 35 of Ille et Vilaine, in my lovely Bretagne, and in my belle France. Enjoy the water!

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

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August 24, 2020

Saint Malo, and its islands!!!

And there I go still moving along in wonderful Saint Malo. A nice town and one of our favorites on a long list! This is Bretagne at its best and we love it.

I need to tell you about the islands and forts found just at eyes view from the ramparts and some you can even walk to them at low tide! This is seafaring Saint Malo!

In its bay, which was part of the continental relief, sometimes turned into points in the water such as Cézembre Island, Conche Island, Grand Bé and Petit Bé Islands.  Of these four islands, Cézembre is the only one accessible by boat where boarding is at St Malo, at the Cale de Dinan or at Dinard. The crossing takes 10 to 15 minutes. The other three islands are accessible on foot or by ferry boat.

The island of Grand-Bé. This uninhabited island is located at the foot of the ramparts of Saint-Malo. You can see the tomb of the writer Chateaubriand, forerunner of French Romanticism, born in Saint-Malo. You will access it at low tide only. So check the tide times before you venture out on the island! At low tide, a 25-minute walk will be enough to reach the top of the island with a superb panorama of the Emerald Coast. It is on this wide island that the tomb of Chateaubriand is located. From Bon-Secours beach, Grand-Bé is known to travelers and literature enthusiasts, for being Chateaubriand’s last home. The name of Gran bé has several possible etymologies, the most common would be the Grand Bey, coming from Celtic and meaning tomb or Bé, in Breton.

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The island of Petit Bé was fortified in 1693 by Vauban, this private island is accessible on foot or by ferry boat from Grand Bé. A guided boat tour will allow you to discover the island and the fortifications of St Malo bay in the distance.  The Petit Bé is a fortified castle signed Vauban on an islet, for a few years it has been renovated to offer tours of this monument.

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The island of Cézembre ; once the tip of a peninsula, this island was home to Celtic monks from Wales and Eire and then served, during the time of the corsairs, as a depot for suspicious goods and was also a place of quarantine. In 1942, the Nazis fortified it and 20,000 bombs were dropped to dislodge them. A site now owned by the State, the island has only been partially cleared. The island’s beach is one of the few beaches in Brittany that is south-facing and accessible. Legend has it that it was in Cézembre that Maclou (Malo), one of the seven founders of Brittany, landed from Wales after seven years of sailing. In Celtic Cézembre means: Highest height.

The last island off the coast of Rochebonne beach and Varde Point is La Conchée, another military fort by architect Vauban. The owner has been renovating for several years to restore this marvel, which was used to protect Saint-Malo. Inaccessible all year round except for Heritage Day. Located off Saint-Malo, facing the  Grande Plage du Sillon, La Conchée is a military fort, built on a rocky islet rising 32 meters above the sea. It was built at the instigation of the king Louis XIV, who commissioned the military architect Vauban to inspect the defenses of the maritime facades of the Kingdom in 1689. From 1690, Vauban therefore commissioned the engineer Siméon de Garengeau to build several fortresses in Saint-Malo, with the aim of counter attacks from the English ships. Vauban had the audacity to build Fort de la Conchée on a rock head, which will remain one of his finest achievements. This building is now private property. You can admire this monument from the beach or during a sea trip. A webpage for the island fort of La Conchéehttp://www.fortdelaconchee.org/

The Fort National is a bastion located on an island offshore Saint-Malo. The island is accessible at low tide. Private today, the fort belongs to an old Breton family.  Formerly called “Fort Royal” and also “Fort Impérial” ,during the years of the First and Second Empire, the current Fort National was built in 1689 by engineer Siméon Garangeau according to plans by Vauban and on orders of King Louis XIV, at the same time as the ramparts of Saint-Malo were reinforced, of which it ensured the defense. The Fort National, another masterpiece by Vauban. If you see the French flag hoisted on the Fort, then dive into the 35-minute guided and narrated tour. You will relive more than three centuries of military life with its legends and dungeons, the immersion is total.

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Throughout its history, the Fort National was the object of a decision of the Sun King, of an achievement by Vauban, it was a place of duel for the famous privateer corsair Robert Surcouf. The story goes that Surcouf, on the lawn of Fort National, overwhelmed his first 11 opponents, simply cutting off the hand of the 12th and declaring “I spare you sir, because I need a witness”. The fort participated actively in the defense of the city during the English attack of 1693. It was finally a Nazi jail. This long history makes it a monument definitely linked to the life of Saint-Malo. More info on the Fort National here: https://www.fortnational.com/en/

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The tourist office of Saint Malo on its islands: https://www.saint-malo-tourisme.com/decouvrir/la-nature/la-cote-d-emeraude-et-ses-iles

And there you go folks, a lovely setting indeed , and gorgeous views from the ramparts of Saint Malo. The sand is soft nice great walk on sands reminds me always of my growing up years. A beautiful setting for two or family trips like us. Hope you enjoy the islands off Saint Malo!

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

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August 24, 2020

Saint Malo and the sea!!!

And continue in magical Saint Malo, like there is no ending! I like to go into the sea, and the corsair city is tops. Just a bit of brag, my father was in the fishing cooperatives and we lived for a while by the sea on a house backyard was the Gulf of Mexico! ,while growing up as a child, the sea was our life. Time change indeed.

In Saint Malo, you are at sea even on land… everything here has a seafarers history and of course ,the corsairs privateers of the king! City is all the sea really.

Let me tell you a bit about the boats I saw and climb on one in Sea bound Saint Malo!

The 3-masted Etoile du Roy is a replica of a 1745 Corsair frigate (and a beauty). This 310-ton vessel was armed with 20 guns and accommodated 236 crew on board. The third largest traditional French ship, Etoile du Roy is today an extraordinary vessel capable of carrying 120 people at sea. It is also an extraordinary reception venue. On board, they organize cocktails, weddings, dinners, dance evenings, product launches, meetings, etc. Etoile du Roy is based in Saint-Malo and is the flagship of the Etoile Marine Cruises fleet.

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With its majestic size, its 790 m2 of sails, its richly decorated transom, its Ottoman figurehead, the Etoile du Roy takes you directly to the 18C. You only need to cross the catwalk to travel through history. Today the ship is visited peacefully. Even if the 20 cannons are still in place! In this veritable floating museum, the spirit of the great royal races awaits you behind each mast, each trunk stowed in the hold. Up to 240 crew were busy on deck and in the shrouds. Want to go further ? Discover life aboard this boat, as in the days of the corsairs. Embark for Roscoff or Morlaix and spend a night in a hammock. In the morning, follow the dream by seeing the sun play in the sails. Magical indeed, recommended!

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The official Etoile Marine on the Etoile du Royhttps://www.etoile-marine.com/notre-flotte/etoile-du-roy/

The tourist office of Saint Malo on the Etoile du Royhttps://www.saint-malo-tourisme.com/a-voir-a-faire/culture-et-patrimoine/musees/la-fregate-corsaire-l-etoile-du-roy-1565619

Another dandy from the same fleet (but never try it, this is from their web)  is the Etoile Molène built in 1954 in Camaret-sur-Mer (see post). It worked alternately in tuna fishing and trawling in Ireland.  It has been part of the Etoile Marine Croisières fleet for nearly 25 years. The elegance of its sails makes it one of the most famous traditional boats in France.

The Etoile Molène demonstrates originality at all levels. First, there are its elegant and racy lines. Then her golden yellow sail which marks her rigging. And the speed that this very canvas boat can achieve. Its abilities even prompted Bob Escoffier to join this dundee in the Route du Rhum 1994! But you don’t have to be a seasoned navigator to get on board. All passengers can enjoy its power and the comfort of its deck saloon. A very nice terrace for an aperitif!  The boss, takes the opportunity to talk about the history of the sailboat. Thanks to him and the crew, conviviality reigns during maneuvers or at anchor. Cruises and outings take place under a good Star… Molène!

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The official Etoile Marine Croisiéres on the Etoile Molénehttps://www.etoile-marine.com/notre-flotte/etoile-molene/

We had the great opportunity to see an old tuna factory boat before going to retirement! The Grande Hermine will be leaving for its last campaign. The factory vessel of Compagnie des pêches de Saint-Malo ( Saint-Malo Fisheries Company) will leave for a final campaign last  January 25, 2018. Afterwards, it will be replaced by a new, more modern boat. Then it will be his retirement. Built in a shipyard and named in 1985, the Saint-Malo vessel is the emblem of deep-sea fishing. Before the quotas ended in 1993, he took sailors on board to go fishing for cod in Newfoundland. When the bans closed, they recovered the quotas from Norway. However, it is still looking for a buyer…

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Another interesting fishing vessel we saw was the Joseph Koty II. From the same group and an active fishing vessel still. Indeed, the surimi are from Joseph Roty II fishing. More on the group and the boats here: https://www.compagniedespeches.com/nos-navires-de-peche/

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In all , there will always be fish and seafood here, the sea is all Saint Malo. If you love the sea and fishing like me, than you are in heavens here , the real thing deep fishing in big vessel boats like my father used to do! Hope you enjoy as we did.

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

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