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A CITY founded in the XIIth CENTURY

St Malo is named after the Welsh monk Mac Low, became in the sixth century bishop of Alet, ancient cradle of the modern city, founded in the mid-twelfth century, on a rocky island neighbour.

From the thirteenth century, inhabitants of Saint-Malo captured enemies’ ships.

In 1308, they had a sworn town, and then, from 1395 to 1415, they give the King of France, Charles VI, who granted them with portuary franchises. In the late fifteenth century, Anne de Bretagne, by his successive marriages with Charles VIII and Louis XII, annexed the Duchy of Brittany to the Kingdom of France.


Saint-Malo indépendant

Saint-Malo indEpendEnt

To protect the portuary franchises, the Dukes of Brittany have built the castle that inhabitants of St Malo besiege in 1590 to declare then "Independent Republic" for 4 years until the abjuration of King Henry IV.

Already, from 1534 to 1542, Jacques Cartier had doubled the road of Newfound-land and discovered Canada.



The city once known as "Saint-Malo de l'Isle" confined in its narrow fence (16 hectares) around its cathedral, partially burned during the first fire in 1661.

In the following years, Vauban and Garangeau transformed it again by making it larger 4 times up to 24 hectares. With its seafarers and its traders who commission for India, China, Africa, the Americas, the prosperity of the city is prodigious in the 17th and 18th centuries.



La ville des explorateurs

Gouin de Beauchesne faces Cape Horn in 1701. Mahé de la Bourdonnais colonizes the Mascarenes and recaptures Madras. Maupertuis leaves to Lapland in 1736 to measure the shape of the Earth. Privateers, Duguay Trouin that seizes Rio de Janeiro in 1711 and Surcouf give it a considerable prestige.

After the end of privateering in 1815, St. Malo still maintains its arms to Newfoundland and continue to develop its port.



The wealth of traders is not expressed better than in the buildings they left behind. If the half-timbered houses with stained glass, like rear-castles of ships, have almost all but disappeared (The House of Poets and Writers), the old stone buildings are still numerous enough to witness the richness of Saint-Malo as this period (The Asfeld Mansion).



The battles of 1944 devastate 80 % of the port and Intra Muros. If reconstruction has restored its legendary silhouette, Saint-Malo, historic and maritime great city, since acquires all the necessary equipment for one of the tourist hotspots of Britanny and the first port of its northern coast.


The 26th of October in 1967, Saint-Malo Intra Muros, St Servan, Paramé and Rothéneuf merge: it is the birth of “the big Saint-Malo” and a new beginning for the city.



The Corsair City cultivates its sailing image, which makes it be part of the label "France Station Nautique". It is therefore logical that Saint-Malo is the scene of many great events such as “la Route du Rhum”, the Transatlantic race Québec - Saint-Malo, every four years.