French commune

caption=View of the walled city

canton=Saint-Malo-Nord and Saint-Malo-Sud
maire=René Couanau
alt moy=8 m
alt mini=0
alt maxi=51 m

Saint-Malo (Breton: "Sant-Maloù"; Gallo: "Saent-Malô") is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine department.


The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season. With the suburbs included, the population is about 135,000.

The population of the commune more than doubled in 1968 with the merging of three communes: Saint-Malo, Saint-Servan (population 14,963 in 1962), and Paramé (population 8811 in 1962).

DemogFR | 1793=10,730 | 1800=9147 | 1806=9934 | 1821=9949 | 1831=9981 | 1836=9744 | 1841=10,053 | 1846=10,076 | 1851=9997 | 1856=10,809 | 1861=10,886 | 1866=10,693 | 1872=12,316 | 1876=10,295 | 1881=11,212 | 1886=10,500 | 1891=11,896 | 1896=11,476 | 1901=11,486 | 1906=10,647 | 1911=12,371 | 1921=12,390 | 1926=13,137 | 1931=12,864 | 1936=13,836 | 1946=11,311 | 1954=14,339 | 1962=17,137 | 1968=42,297 | 1975=45,030 | 1982=46,347 | 1990=48,057 | 1999=50,675 | date1=2005 |pop1=49,600 | date2=2007 |pop2=52,737

|sansdoublescomptes=1962 | source=Cassini [cite web|url=|title= Population avant le recensement de 1962] et INSEE [cite web|url=|title=INSEE: Population depuis le recensement de 1962] Inhabitants of Saint-Malo are called "Malouins".


Saint-Malo during the Middle Ages was a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance River, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. The promontory fort of Aleth, south of the modern centre in what is now the Saint-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan early in the 6th century. Its name is derived from a man said to have been a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo.

Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1490–1493, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto "not French, not Breton, but Malouins". [S. et J. Beaulieu, Saint Malo et l'histoire, p 10 to 32]

Saint-Malo became notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and sometimes pirates. (In the nineteenth century the city's "piratical" notoriety was portrayed in Jean Richepin's play "Le flibustier" and in César Cui's like-named opera derived therefrom.) The corsairs of Saint-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who sailed the Saint Lawrence River and visited the sites of Quebec City and Montreal — and is thus credited as the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands – hence the islands' French name "Îles Malouines", which gave rise to the Spanish name "Islas Malvinas".

The commune of Saint-Servan was merged, together with Paramé, and became the commune of Saint-Malo in 1967.

Saint Malo was the site of an Anglo-French summit in 1998 which lead to a significant agreement regarding European defence policy. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac stated that "the [European] Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and a readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises".


Saint-Malo has one of the highest concentration of sea food restaurants in Europe. It is famous for its local oysters from the nearby village of Cancale.


Saint-Malo is a terminal for a ferry service to Portsmouth in England via the Channel Islands. It also has a railway station offering direct TGV service to Paris and several links to Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands via a fast ferry catamaran service.

Sites of interest

Now inseparably attached to the mainland, Saint-Malo is the most visited place in Brittany. Sites of interest include:

*The walled city ("La Ville Intra-Muros")
*The château of Saint-Malo, part of which is now the town museum.
*The Solidor Tower in Saint-Servan is a fourteenth century building which holds a collection tracing the history of voyages around Cape Horn. Many scale models, nautical instruments and objects made by the sailors during their crossing or brought back from foreign ports invoke thoughts of travel aboard extraordinary tall ships at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
*The tomb of the writer Chateaubriand on the Ile du Grand Bé
*The Petit Bé
*The Cathedral of St. Vincent
*The Privateer's House ("La Demeure de Corsaire"), a ship-owner's town house built in 1725, shows objects from the history of privateering, weaponry and ship models.


Saint-Malo was the birthplace of:
* Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), explorer of Canada
* Philippe Cattiau (1892-1962), Olympic medalist in fencing
* Jacques Gouin de Beauchene (1652-1730), explorer of the Falkland Islands
* Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759), mathematician and astronomer
* Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1699-1753), sailor and administrator
* François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), writer and diplomat
* Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne (1724-1772), explorer
* Robert Surcouf (1773-1827), sailor, trader, ship-owner and corsair
* Hughes Felicité Robert de Lamennais (1782-1854), priest, philosophical and political writer
* Louis Duchesne (1843-1922), historian, French academician

Twin towns

* Port-Louis, Mauritius (1999)


See also

* Saint-Servan
* Rothéneuf
* Mont-Saint-Michel
* Battle for Brest
*Communes of the Ille-et-Vilaine department


External links

* [ Town hall's website] fr icon
* [ St. Malo: Capital of the corsaires] Images and information
* [ Pictures from Saint Malo]
* [ French Ministry of Culture list for Saint-Malo] fr icon
* [ Public transport of Saint-Malo] fr icon

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