St. Malo

St. Malo sits right on the Atlantic coast, and has quite a history. Records indicate that St. Malo existed in the 1st century, and during the 1800s it became notorious as the home-base of pirates on the Atlantic. Disaster struck at the end of World War 2, as the city was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing in August, 1944. Four years later (!), when funds became available to rebuild the city, it was decided to rebuild it not with modern buildings, but using the same stone materials as before to the architectural designs as before. In essence, the new St. Malo would be the old, beautiful St. Malo, but freshly built. The result is an exceedingly beautiful place.

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St. Malo’s beauty brings a downside: the city is the most-visited place in Brittany. During July and August, it is, as an English friend of ours puts it, “heaving with people.” We visited for a day in mid-August, the highest point of tourism everywhere in France, and it was ugly.

Cars lined up to enter the city. This line was about half a mile long. Where they all planned to park I have no idea, as we'd just come from the city and it was already jammed.

Cars lined up to enter the city. This line was about half a mile long. Where they all planned to park I have no idea, as we’d just come from the city and it was already jammed.

As parking disappears, drivers get creative. These cars are parked on the grassy edge of a parking lot about half a mile from St. Malo. This was the last August holiday, so these drivers did not have to worry about getting a ticket or being towed away, as the ticket-givers and tow truck drivers were all taking the day off.

As parking disappears, drivers get creative. These cars are parked on the grassy edge of a parking lot about half a mile from St. Malo. This was the last August holiday, so these drivers did not have to worry about getting a ticket or being towed away, as the ticket-writers and tow truck drivers were all taking the day off as well.

Oy!

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Laurie has my permission to shoot me if I ever dress like this:

"Hey, I'm on vacation.I can wear whatever I want."

“Hey, I’m on vacation. I can wear whatever I want.”

But St. Malo has some beautiful sights, away from the crowds.

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Creperies everywhere! St. Malo is the main city of Brittany, the origin of crepes. I can tell you that if I were looking for crepes in St. Malo, this would be the place: away from the crowds, in a lovely street.

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What to say about St. Malo? I’d like to see it off-season, that’s for sure. I think it’s interesting that the city is comprised of what are essentially “new-old” buildings, and these buildings hold their own against modern architecture. They are beautiful, in a different way than a le Corbusier or a Frank Gehry building, but beautiful nevertheless.

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One Response to St. Malo

  1. Gilles says:

    Like Sarlat, the place will be easier to explore in a few weeks.
    Beautiful photos!

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