10 reasons to visit Saint Malo

1. Because Saint Malo is a city with a badass history!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded early in the sixth century.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From then on, the city had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Later on, St Malo mariners were the first Frenchmen to Canada, the Indies and round Cape Horn to the Pacific seaboard. Worldwide trade brought extravagant prosperity to the city.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

The thing is that you can read the story in modern day Saint Malo’s townscape and a tour of the ‘cité corsaire’ is the perfect way to discover it all.

Emeraude Guides offers some brilliant tours of the city, both in English and French, as well as a variety of excursions, which you can book through their website. Alternatively you can get an audio guide from St Malo Tourism Office for 12€.

2. Because there’s something magical about being surrounded by the sea.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Being built on a rock reclaimed from the sea, water pretty much circles the whole of Saint Malo.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Which make for rather high maintenance (those walls are here for a reason!) but also for breathtaking views of the sea from… well, pretty much anywhere, really!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From the top of the bulwarks to almost every hotel room in town, the sea is everywhere in Saint Malo!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Including on the menu of many restaurants!

(PS. Did you catch my previous post, all about Malouin Michelin-starred chef Luc Morbihan’s top tips to cook lobster?)

3. Because Saint Malo is home to one of France’s most beautiful beaches.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Brittany is the region with the  longest continuous coastlines in France and each stretch is more beautiful than the next.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Transparent, blue-green water (hence the ‘Emerald Coast’ nickname) and golden sand as far as the eye can see, Saint Malo truly is a little piece of beach-goer paradise!

4. Because the city is an absolute architectural dream.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Looking at the stone buildings and the pastel blue facades, one can hardly imagine that the historic walled city of Saint-Malo was almost totally destroyed by American shelling and bombing as well as British naval gunfire.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

The city was carefully re-built according to original building designs from 1948 to 1960 and has since re-gained its original beauty.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

5. Because people who like butter are always the best people.

And god knows Malouins do!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From the Bordier ‘Butter House‘ (yes! a store/museum focusing on all things butter!!), to many a food speciality and about a billion different kinds of butter biscuits, butter is EVERYWHERE in Saint Malo!

And there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Oh, and the ‘Butter House‘ also happen to have the prettiest floor…

6. Because you haven’t truly lived until you tried Kouign Amann.

A butter-enriched, caramel crusted croissant and one of the very best pastries France has ever created (and I don’t say that lightly).

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Forget about learning how to say it (‘coo-nee-ha-man’ in case you were wondering), just get your hands on one ASAP.

7. Because buckwheat is totally underrated!

Buckwheat is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and one of the healthiest food there is.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + WhiskySaint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

More importantly, it is the key ingredient to galettes, the traditional Brittany savoury pancakes.

It’s gluten and dairy free, and packed full of good-for-you stuff.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Ask for the ‘complete’ (with ham, cheese and egg) or have it with smoked salmon (my personal favourite) and a nice cup of cider.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

As I they say,  one galette a day keeps the doctor away!

8. Because SALTED CARAMEL!

Just stating the obvious there.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Onto crêpes, ice cream, baked into cakes and biscuits or even by the spoonful, there’s no wrong way to eat salted caramel, so make sure you make the best of the opportunity!

(Plus you’ll be supporting the local economy, so double brownie points for you!)

9. Because it’s small enough not to get lost but be enough so you won’t get bored.

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

From being a total beach bum, to touring Saint Malo’s many restaurants, bars and foodie spots, seing the final resting place of famous French writter Chateaubriand, going on excursion to nearby islands, learning about the city’s rich history and trying out all sorts of sporty activities (surf, segway… you name it!), Saint Malo is the perfect destination no matter what sort of holiday you’re after!

10. Because it’ll only be the beginning of your love story with Brittany!

Saint Malo, Brittany, France | Cake + Whisky

Saint Malo is well worth a spot on your Travel To Do List, even if it’s only for a long weekend. Just a few days there felt like a proper break and I can’t recommend it enough!

Thanks to its great links with British ports, and with plenty more to see in the area (including the Mont Saint-Michel, a Unesco World Heritage site), Saint Malo is also an excellent home port if you’re planning to stay in Brittany for a little while longer.

And it’s all so pretty (and delicious), how could I blame you?

Can’t wait to start planning your trip to Saint Malo? Visit Brittany Tourism’s website for all info, including practical information, accomodation and more ideas of what to see and do!

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10 reasons to visit Saint Malo

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