Europe 2012: Day 26, Saint-Malo

View of Saint-Malo from the “wall”. (Saint-Malo, France)

Monday, July 2, 2012

First, I would like to thank everyone who has commented that they like my blog!   As long as the netbook and camera hold up, I will keep blogging!  Keep the comments coming — I love hearing from you!

We awake at 8am to catch the 9:15am bus to Saint-Malo – a coastal town to the north of Dinan, up the La Pance River.   We suit up with our raincoats, scarves, and hats because it is raining.

Last night, we decided that we need to take things slower.   Colds and tired legs can really wreck a person!   We decided that we do not need to see every sight possible!   We need to be more selective and choose the option with the least amount of stress.  So today we only really need to do three things:

  • Get on the bus to Saint-Malo.
  • Enjoy Saint-Malo.
  • Get on the bus back to Dinan.

Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern coast of France.  It is a popular tourist attraction.  The bus ride was an hour and we were lucky to get it!   For some unknown reason, the public bus and train transportation in Brittany all but shuts down on Mondays!   What is it about Mondays?   No one can tell us!

When we arrive in Saint-Malo, my DH and I head for the Tourist Information office to get a map. Next, we walk through the gates of the walled city.  My DH and I could use a little something for breakfast and there are lots of cafés and restaurant choices here!   I decide on Café de l’ Ouest because it is busy with people drinking tea and eating croissants – that is exactly what I want!

I wonder if I will ever stop being impressed by pretty china tea services? (Saint-Malo, France)

After a wonderful breakfast of tea, croissant, and bread with apricot jam, we head off to the ramparts for a look around.   It isn’t raining too hard.   Our waiter told us that “you don’t come here for the weather.”

In all honesty, the damp and windy weather suits this place perfectly.   The grey stone and black tile roofs scream old gothic!  Interestingly enough, this city was 85% destruction during the Allied bombings during WWII (before the D-Day invasion).  Most of the building we saw were built after the war.  The French took great pains to rebuild of the city to look just as it did before the war.

Also, these ramparts give you a sense of what it must have been like being a solider walking this wall, looking out for pirates or the English Navy.  Here are some pictures:

Another view from a rampart. There are a number of smaller castles around the city. This is low tide, at night the water level is higher. (Saint-Malo, France)

Facing the other direction.  We are told that there is a lovely stretch of beach out there…somewhere.  (Saint-Malo, France)

When it got too rainy, we headed back into the city to seek out lunch.   We found a nice crepe shop and ordered the menu of the day  — a Complete crepe (ham, cheese, egg, mushroom, and tomato wrapped in a buckwheat pancake), tea, and a chocolate crepe for dessert – to share.   It was yummy!  We were feeling pretty virtuous with our decision to share the meal and we felt light and satisfied!

With that said…

A national favorite, Ker-Y-Pom (a baked apple on a shortbread cookie covered with more shortbread). Perfectly tender and flaky and not overly sweet — must be all that butter. (Saint-Malo, France)

Another national favorite, the Kouign Amann — a thin butter dough wrapped in a spiral with butter and sugar. It looks innocent enough but later we found out later that this is considered the most fattening dessert in Europe! It was good and we are glad we decided against topping it with Nutella. (Saint-Malo, France)

I’ve been seeing these little chocolate eggs all over France and I just had to possess them! If I only eat one a day, they will last 31 whole days! (Saint-Malo, France)

We completed the walk around the wall.  The rain stopped for a while but the wind continued to blow.   We decided to take a short walk on the beach.

View of the beach from the street. (Saint-Malo, France)

On the beach! (Saint-Malo, France)

Where’s Anna? She’s out taking pictures for her blog! (Saint-Malo, France)

We caught the 5:15pm bus back to Dinan.   Needless to say, we really enjoyed the day (even with the rain)!

We also skipped dinner (it was raining anyway).

Quote of the day — “Think there’s enough butter in that?”