Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Saint-Malo

Gentle Friends back to the trip journal....  after we left Mount Saint-Michel we decided to stop in and take a look at St Malo.  It was the middle of the afternoon and so there was plenty of time.  We thought if it was interesting enough we could always drive back for another visit.  We had read all the bits about the city from the travel books about how great it was but you really have to see it to believe it.  The trip really had no structure we just sort of decided were we wanted to go the night before, which was so nice and so very non-stress making!!  We got to St Malo, and it turned out to be a wonderful place and so it was deiced that we would be back the next day for a whole day to explore the city......

Arriving from the west the next morning we stopped first at Solidor Tower, which is actually built in the former city of Saint-Servan, which merged with St Malo in 1967.  Here are some snaps......

my little post card shot... in fact there seemed to be a lot of opportunity for the "post card " shots.....

the tide was going out and over and over again I was just blown away with how drastic the tides were.... these two shot were in the morning and by the afternoon.....

  and this......
I walked down onto the now dry seabed and took this shot with the tower to my back... that's the seem yellow boat.....  and the post card shot.....

...... and a shot of Solidor Tower.....

....and here's a bit of history about Solidor Tower....from Wikipedia..." is a strengthened keep with three linked towers, located in the estuary of the river Rance in Brittany. It was built between 1369 and 1382 by Jean V of Brittany (i.e. Jean IV in French) to control access to the Rance at a time when the city of Saint-Malo did not recognize his authority. Over the centuries the tower lost its military interest and became a jail. It is now a museum celebrating Breton sailors exploring Cape Horn."  You can climb all the way to the attics and there are exhibits on every floor.
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A very short drive and we were back in St Malo's underground parking garage and ready for an adventure....
 ... you are met by the St Vincent Gate, the entrance to the city.... and in front is the.....

... Chateaux de Saint-Malo, built between the 15th century and the 18th century. The castle was built by the Dukes of Brittany for their supervision of the city of Saint-Malo. It became designated as an historical monument in July 1886.  This tower was built by....Anne of Brittany, future queen of France, built from 1498 to 1501 this tower is called Quic-en-Groigne so named because it was built against the will of St. Malo.  Here is some interesting facts about St Malo and the flag..... St Malo’s motto "neither French nor Breton, I am from St Malo" along with its flag, represents the independent spirit of the City.  A red background quarter with an ermine with a golden tie – The specific colors of the arms of the city, reminding us that it belonged to the Duchy of Brittany.  The “Silver Cross” is on all flags of military ports under Louis XIV.

This tower is fronted by a harbour and there is docked ....

.. :"Etoile du Roy"..... is a pirate frigate 47-meter replica of the 18th century pirate frigate Malo.  It was built in 1997. Its home port is the walled city of Saint-Malo.  It is the second largest traditional French ship, flagship of the Star Navy fleet.  The ship is open to the public when it is in the port of Saint-Malo.
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A great thing about this city is that it retains its walls, and you can walk these all around the city.... which we did, and you get some great views....... there are a few entrance to the walls, we went up and the sight we saw was....


... Fort National, the tide was going out so we couldn't walk over then (you can enter the Fort when the flag is raised) so we continued around the walls....

.... another great shot of Fort National from the walls.....

... looking at the northern rampart.....

.....  looking back were I took the snaps of Ft National from the Northern Rampart....

.... looking along the Holland Bastion.... Constructed 1675 – 1689, transformed at the time of the first expansion of the city 1708, it was built to protect the city from an attack from the Dutch fleet.  Holland Bastion was armed with 24 cannon. In 1696, the Count of Toulouse replaced them with larger pieces: 12 of 36 calibre and 12 of 48 calibre. This gift rewarded inhabitants of St Malo for their courage and successful defense during the 1696 attacks.  In 1684, the guard-dog “Les Chiens du Guet” kennel was re-sited to Porte St Pierre, the gate under this Bastion.  Bull dogs were used for centuries to defend the port and strands. Noguette, the Curfew Bell, was rung at 10 pm to fore-warn that the city gates were closing and the dogs let loose.

 ...looking down into the city from the St Louis Bastion towards the Cathedral of St Vincent.

... after we walked around the walls we came back to see if the tide was out enough to visit Ft National... the flag was up and out we went.......

... were the sea had been just a short time ago we were walking, how cool is that!!!!  Now a little about Fort National.... from Wikipedia.... " Ft National is a fort on a tidal island a few hundred metres from St Malo.  The great military architect Vauban had it built in 1689 to protect Saint-Malo's port.  The fort was originally called Fort Royal. In 1789 the fort's name became Fort d'Îlette or Républicain, then Fort Impérial and, after 1870, Fort National. 
History - Origins - The fort stands on l'Îlette rock. This was originally the site of a beacon that was lit at night to act as a lighthouse. Îlette was also a place of public executions for the seigniory of Saint Malo, which burnt criminals there. Latter a gallows occupied the site. A model in Saint-Malo's history museum suggests that a battery may have occupied the site before the subsequent erection of the Vauban fort.

 ... the front gate of Ft National with the Barracks behind....
Vauban - The engineer Siméon Garangeau built the fort following Vauban's plans, and on the orders of King Louis XIV.  Construction seems to have taken from 1689 to 1693. The fort augmented the defences of the city, and was part of a chain of fortifications that stretched from Fort-la-Latte to Pointe de la Varde.

This is the Barracks Building....
 
Later developments - In 1848 the government added a wall pierced for small arms that encircled about three-quarters of the fort. The wall was intended to protect the fort against infantry attack from the land or by troops landed on the rocks on which the fort stands. The engineers also added a small bastion in front of the gate. This gave the fort a total area of about 4000 square metres.  In 1906 the fort received recognition as a historic building. However, in 1927 the government sold the fort to a private buyer. 
 
 ...looking out over the Gate towards the City...
World War II - The German army took control of the French coast from Cap Frehel to Saint-Malo by the end of June 1940. In 1942 work on fortifying Saint-Malo sped up as Hitler's Atlantic Wall project took form.  On 6 August 1944, the allies bombed Saint-Malo, which was still under German occupation. The next day the German commander imprisoned 380 men from St. Malo in the fort to prevent an uprising. The prisoners remained there for six days, where allied shellfire killed 18 of them on the night of 9 to 10 August. Food ran out on 11 August, and on 13 August 150 old men and women joined the existing prisoners. However, that evening, the Germans permit all the prisoners to leave during an hour-long truce.
The allied shellfire damaged the fort, which was later restored in accordance with Vauban's original plans. The American 83rd Infantry Division was responsible for the liberation of Saint Malo, including Fort National. The fort itself was liberated on 16 August. 

 ... here I was walking down on the now dry rocks looking back at the city..... and...

... I just really liked this snap of the lower ramparts of Ft National looking back towards St Malo....
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After Lunch we did a walking tour on our own of the City....




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We ended up at the Cathedral of Saint-Malo, dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa...

..... was at one time a Benedictine Abbey. At the turn of the 12th century the church was built in Romanesque style but in the 13th century the choir was rebuilt in gothic style. This church has undergone several transformations so you will see Romanesque, Gothic, High Gothic and Renaissance styles. However, in 1944 during a battle for the city the cathedral was bombed and the choir section collapsed. It took over 20 years to make the repairs.

Here are some snaps of the super space.....

... the square in front is really narrow so it was difficult get a good front view....

... the outside of the  Rose Window, nice but dull...... while on the inside....

... it was really spectacular.  Although there was lots of modern glass, it was still beautiful!!!

... showing the side windows and the cluster columns, a great space, I can't say it enough!!

 ... Our Lady of the Great Door, a 15th century Blessed Virgin, is the patron saint of the City. 


 Buried in the Cathedral is Jacques Cartier (December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557) was a French Explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France.  Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of St Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas," after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and atHochelaga (Montreal Island).

That about wraps up Saint Malo, a really wonderful place to visit!!!
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Thanks for stopping by, do stop again for more travel Log - Brittany-Paris 2013!

Take care,
edgar

13 comments:

Kielrain said...

Wonderful photos!

ariadne said...

Amazing pictures!Amazing places!AriadnefromGreece!

cl said...

Oh my, the things you have seen. Makes me want to run to the airport and hop on a plane. You are so kind to be taking us all along on your journey. Thank you so much!!!!

diamondc said...

Dearest Edgar: What a wonderful time you must have had these pictures are so positively beautiful, someday I will travel to France my Husbands distance cousins have a couple of winerys in France.
Thank-you for sharing these lovely pictures.
Blessings to you and Family

Catherine

cucki said...

Wonderful pictures
Hugs x

Margaret said...

So so cool! I love how they built everything around the tides. And the tides are so extreme too! Amazing! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous pics and the history and everything!

Barb said...

I am so enjoying your posts of the trip. What a post card town!! I loved the rose window. The age of things in Europe always amaze me.Thanks for sharing!

Bianca said...

Beautiful pics!

Monica said...

Love your pictures. Maybe someday...I can dream!

Shelly said...

Wow, Solidor Tower is exactly what I think a keep should look like! Every single picture is a postcard for sure. Thanks Edgar.

Christine said...

Great photos. Been there once but the children were quite small so we didn't do as much exploring as you did.

Vonna Pfeiffer said...

I am learning so very much from sharing your vacation photos and knowledge with us! LOVELY Edgar! Its stunning in breadth and scope!

Catherine said...

More fab pics, Edgar!