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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 6 January 2014

The ancient walled city of Saint-Malo, Brittany (France)

The holiday season is over, the 5-year-old is back at school, and the baby's on a more predictable schedule - which means I have a bit more time for blogging again! I am determined to get through my backlog of photos from our trip to France and Italy before we head of on our next trip down-under for my sister's wedding next month. So here we go!

During our 2-day stay in the ancient Breton town of Dinan, we hopped on a bus to take a day trip out to Saint-Malo, another walled port city like Dinan, but more touristy and commercial. Saint-Malo has a notorious history of piracy, and the first thing we encountered upon getting off the bus was a replica of an 18th century fr├ęgate corsaire that the boy really wanted to get on to have a look-see. I wasn't particularly interested, so hubby and boy went on the Etoile du Roy while I figured out the itinerary for the day using the information gleaned from the Tourism Office. Here's what they got up to:

The 47-metre Etoile du Roy (or rather, its replica):

Excited to be steering a pirate ship:

Deep inside the heart of the ship, in a room that looks like the common dining area:

The boy proudly showing off the stamp he got on his arm:

Fort National, as viewed at sea level at relatively high tide. Only a couple of hours later, we saw from the top of the wall that the tide had gone down, giving a different look (photo at the end of this post):

After the boys came off the ship, we decided that we only had enough time to explore the intra-muros (walled city) and walk the full length of the wall, before catching the last bus of the day back to Dinan. The streets of the intra-muros were crowded with tourists and buskers, and it had a more busy and commercial feel than Dinan.

Part of the walled city of Saint-Malo as viewed from the outside:

A pair of buskers performing on the street:

The different varieties of Gateau Breton (Brittany butter cake), a regional specialty:

This galette saucisse (buckwheat pancake with sausage, and eaten like a hot dog) was part of our lunch-on-the-go:

We also had a baguette sandwich from a sandwicherie (no photos), and from that same place we got an egg flan for dessert:

Walking along the wall gave us a good view of what's going on down there on the streets:

I love the clean straight lines of the architecture:

Looking down the street to the other end of the walled city:

Juxtaposition of the ancient wall and the intra-muros buildings, and the modern world outside:

A wavy breakwater structure - brings me back to my coastal engineering days:

Can you spot hubby and the boy somewhere along the wall?

Checking out a canon:

A cordoned-off swimming area - to keep out the nasties?

By the time we'd made the complete circuit of the wall, the tide had gone out and I actually didn't realise this was Fort National, the same structure I took a photo of at sea level earlier:

A panoramic shot of Fort National at relatively low tide (click image for larger view):

It was a fun day in Saint-Malo!

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