Visit St. Malo by Mouse
is in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine
on the north coast of Brittany
, 248 miles northwest of Paris, 21 miles north of Dinan
41 miles north of Rennes
. We have visited it twice, once a long time ago and again on our 2006 trip. The first time we stopped there
after visiting Mont St. Michel
for an overnighter and were enthralled by it. It had a wall facing the sea that you could walk on,
which we did in the evening. The restaurants featured fresh seafood. In fact the seafood available in an open market here the next
morning certainly had to be the freshest we have ever seen (possibly barring the Far East where you buy fish swimming in tanks). On
a counter of a fish vender was a display of whitebait, tiny silver fish, and they were alive and jumping! When we were in Rennes and
then Dinan we drove the short distance to see St. Malo again. It did not disappoint. Just look at the photos
and read the letter
wrote after our visit.
There were hordes of tourists, but we have a high tolerance for such as these. And it seemed that
in those restaurants we remembered so fondly, a variety of seafood seemed to have been displaced by ubiquitous moules-frites (mussels
with fries). These were prepared in a variety of ways, though, and those that I had were excellent.
St. Malo has been notable for being the birthplace of the writer Francois-Rene Chateaubriand
, whose cook is credited with inventing
the steak dish of the same name, and who is buried on a nearby island. Perhaps better known to Americans and Canadians, the explorerJacques Cartier
sailed from St. Malo on his voyage across the Atlantic and down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec and Montreal. And
St. Malo was notorious for the Corsairs
--French pirates, or, if you prefer, privateers-- who adopted St. Malo as their home base and
harassed British ships sailing in the Channel and also brought in booty from farther away.