Seniors Visit Saint-Malo

Jul 29th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Saint-Malo is a port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel.  Seniors will love it there as it is known that the population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season. With the suburbs included, the population is about 135,000.  I have been there several times with student groups and what is great is that I can “turn them all loose” as it is a walled environment.

The Grand Aquarium is enclosed right into the walls that surround the city and it is a major attraction. When the tide was low, students could walk all the way out to the castle perched on the rocks near the Channel. The city is called the “City of Corsairs“.  It is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the northern coast of France. Note the white ermine on the flag in this video. It was the symbol of Anne of Brittany as it would die rather than enter dirty water.

If you love boats, St Malo is France’s largest marina, and it is only one hour’s drive from Mont St Michel. First, you can take a walk along the top of this corsair city’s ramparts. You should count on about two hours to go around the fortress and enjoy the splendid view of the Emerald Coast.

The citadel, also known as the Old Town or Intra-Muros (“within the walls”), was originally built on a rocky island at the mouth of the Rance estuary. This strategic position allowed control of both the sea and any trade heading into the interior of Brittany, helping to shape the stormy and often dark history of the city.  The attractions are numerous in the are. It is one of the most interesting cities in Brittany and is one of my favorite areas in France after Provence.

Walled and built with the same grey granite stone as Mont St-Michel, Saint-Malo was originally a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. Now inseparably attached to the mainland, it’s the most visited place in Brittany. Mont Saint-Michel was previously connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which before modernization was covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. Rick Steves, my travel hero, is big on the Mont as well.

Close by is a very interesting barrage called L’Usine Marémotrice that is a tide generating hydro-electrical station phenomena. As the tide rises, it produces electricity.  The water is then “trapped” behind the dam and then released when the tide is low on the other side, thus producing electricity once more in the reverse direction.

TripAdvisor can fill you in on all the specifics including the top-rated hotels, B&Bs, and rentals. If you love music, check out this site on the Music of Brittany.  Who knows you might even be fortunate enough to run into a fez noz (Breton for night festival).  Enjoy Brittany as I have.  jeb



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