in Saint-MaloAccess the forts and isletsWatch out for the tides!
Le Grand Be St Malo Alexandre Lamoureux 9226Le Grand Be St Malo Alexandre Lamoureux 9226
©Le Grand Be St Malo Alexandre Lamoureux 9226|alexandre lamoureux

Access the forts and islets

Saint-Malo, the city of privateers, is protected by the most extraordinary maritime fortifications, designed by Vauban at the end of the 17th century. We invite you to dive into the discovery of some of the most beautiful masterpieces of human genius.

Vauban and maritime fortifications

Advanced posts are numerous around Saint-Malo. In order to defend the kingdom from English and Dutch invasions, Louis XIV entrusted Vauban with the protection of the French coast. But the one who carried out the work was none other than Garangeau, appointed by Vauban “chief engineer and director of the fortifications of Saint-Malo”. The citadels built on the rocks in the middle of the sea are a testimony to the military genius of the Sun King’s engineers. In order to protect the city, the Bay of Saint-Malo was fortified from the 17th century. To protect the city, the Bay of Saint-Malo was fortified as early as the 17th century. Garangeau built the four forts on the offshore islets according to the plans of Vauban (King Louis XIV’s chief architect), thus making the port entrances impregnable.

The National Fort, at the foot of the ramparts

It is on the rock of Islet that the National Fort, called the Royal Fort in the time of Louis XIV, rests. Built in 1689 by Garangeau, according to Vauban’s plans, it protected the ramparts of the corsair city. You will access it on foot at low tide.If you see the French flag hoisted on the fort, it means that the site is open to visitors!

The Petit-Bé fort

More confidential, the Petit-Bé fort, nestled behind the Grand-Bé island was completed in 1707, at the death of Vauban. It is now restored by a private individual, passionate about maritime fortifications. The access can be done on foot or by boat, depending on the tide. It is thus necessary to be careful and to inquire about the time of low tide of the day before engaging. To do so, take the reference time and calculate 1h30 before and 1h30 after. This gives you your access window. Visits are possible all year long.

The Fort de la Conchée, off the coast of Saint-Malo

Further out, four kilometers from the shore, facing the large beach of Rochebonne, is the Fort de la Conchée. This ship’s fort of 65 meters long and 32 meters wide had a garrison of 200 men. It belongs since 1989 to the association La Compagnie du Fort de la Conchée which has already restored more than 80% of the building. Due to the difficulties of access, the fort is only open to the public two days a year for the Heritage Days. The association of the friends of the Fort de la Conchée, proposes visits during major events, in particular the European Heritage Days.

When the tide matters!

The island of Grand Bé

Le Grand Bé, Chateaubriand’s final resting place

Le Grand Bé is an uninhabited islet located a few hundred meters off the ramparts of Saint-Malo. It is here, that the illustrious romantic writer François-René de Chateaubriand is buried, facing the sea. The place also provides an incredible panorama of the corsair city.To reach the Grand Bé you must be careful with the tides. You can only access it a few hours a day, at low tide, by crossing the beach of Bon Secours. In order not to make a mistake, you have to refer to the low tide time of the day and add 1h30 before and after this reference time. This gives a 3 hours access window.

The panorama from the Grand Bé

From the top of the islet, enjoy the sublime panorama over the Corsair City. Take a few moments to admire this view that will make you forget everything …