Saint-Malo: Jewel of Brittany's Emerald Coast with Alexander Wilson

Saint-Malo: Jewel of Brittany's Emerald Coast with Alexander Wilson


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Saint-Malo is an unforgettable visit, a walled port town on France's craggy Emerald Coast that offers something for everyone: a rich historic past, from privateers to post-war reconstruction; stunning scenery, from sandy beaches to explorable fortified islands; and culinary delights galore!

Saint-Malo is a must-see not only for those setting out to explore Brittany itself but also for the visitor to Normandy. Just a short drive from the Mont-Saint-Michel along a wonderful coastal road–be sure to stop for an oyster or two– and there it is, this gem of a citadel port solidly ensconced on a granite outcrop, part of France’s scenic, craggy coast.

The old town of Saint-Malo is encircled by high, imposing walls originally built as a defense against the Normans and the English, and later serving as a stronghold for the Corsairs, the French privateers whose notoriety earned the port the title of ‘Cité Corsaire’. Indeed, a walk around the ramparts is perhaps the best way to get a feel for the place: within the walls, views onto the handsome urban architecture centered on St. Vincent’s Cathedral; and beyond the fortifications, simply stunning vistas along sandy beaches at low tide, across the sea at high water, towards smaller fortified islands in the bay, west across the water towards Dinard. The town is of such special historic and architectural interest that it comes as a huge surprise to many to learn that in 1944, bombing and fire physically destroyed over 80% of the town. Post-war, however, the decision was taken to rebuild ‘à l’identique’ and the result is truly remarkable.

This apparent dichotomy was clearly one of the starting points for the author Anthony Doerr in writing his beautifully crafted novel All the Light We Cannot See (2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction), a complex intertwining of young destinies largely set in Saint-Malo during the war. Not just a great read, but a wonderful companion in the discovery of this beguiling town.

Led by local guide and historian Alex Wilson, this seminar seeks to explore the rich history and unique appeal of Saint-Malo and is designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels.

Alex Wilson, a History First from Oxford, has been living and working in France for 35 years. After running his own publishing company, he has been guiding in Normandy (and for Context) for the last ten years. While his interests extend from William the Conqueror through to the post-War reconstruction, his main focus is on WW2 and the Battle of Normandy.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
88%
(7)
0%
(0)
13%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A. (Asheville, US)
Excellent lecture about the Jewel of Brittany: Saint-Malo

Wilson is highly knowledgeable about this subject and offered an organized, comprehensive presentation of Saint-Malo.

D
D.B. (Denver, US)
History of st Malo

Fascinating history of St Malo. In my ignorance, I had no idea, although I have been there many years ago, and hope to again in the near future.

P
Paul Rivard (Québec, CA)
A jewel

A beautiful and fascinating town charged with history and beautiful architecture!

B
Bonnie Gale (Briarcliff Manor, US)
Such an interesting lecture

I learned so much about the history of and about today's Saint-Malo. The photos used were beautiful. I am now going to plan a trip to Brittany.

A
Anonymous (Lafayette, US)

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
88%
(7)
0%
(0)
13%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A. (Asheville, US)
Excellent lecture about the Jewel of Brittany: Saint-Malo

Wilson is highly knowledgeable about this subject and offered an organized, comprehensive presentation of Saint-Malo.

D
D.B. (Denver, US)
History of st Malo

Fascinating history of St Malo. In my ignorance, I had no idea, although I have been there many years ago, and hope to again in the near future.

P
Paul Rivard (Québec, CA)
A jewel

A beautiful and fascinating town charged with history and beautiful architecture!

B
Bonnie Gale (Briarcliff Manor, US)
Such an interesting lecture

I learned so much about the history of and about today's Saint-Malo. The photos used were beautiful. I am now going to plan a trip to Brittany.

A
Anonymous (Lafayette, US)

Guest did not leave comment