St. Malo is noted for its fortifications and maritime history. It is a major tourist attraction. We stayed in the old city at the Hotel Mascotte overlooking the beach. One night we dined, however, at the nearby Hotel Beaufort.
June is not the warmest month, but there were some hardy souls on the beach near the fortress.
Statue of Robert Surcouf pointing westward. A famous 18th and early 19th century naval commander and privateer, Surcouf was born in St Malo. The statue is located on the fortification on the shore opposite Le Fort National. Surcouf as a boy fled divinity school in Dinan to go to sea. At one time he served in Napoleon’s navy. Many a street in France is named after him, including one in the 7th arrondissement of Paris where we rented an apartment several times.
We came across a curious street sign in St Malo, “Rue du Pourquoi Pas.“ The street is named after a ship, created by another native of St Malo named Jean-Baptiste Charcot. Rather than become a doctor like his father, he asked “marin pourquoi pas?” and became a famous polar explorer, giving the name “Pourquoi Pas?” to four different vessels over time.
We spent two nights in St Malo. It is remarkable to see the ferries passing to and fro beyond the fort. I do not have a picture of my own, but this gives an idea.
These are large ships, with sleeping accommodations and many amenities. We saw several passing beyond the Fort National.
St Malo has always claimed a special relationship with Quebec, because a St Malo native, Jaques Cartier, was the first to arrive there. However, Cartier undertook his voyages at the expense of the King of France, not the city fathers of St Malo. Samuel Champlain founded the province of Quebec, and came often to St Malo, but the francophone population of Quebec came from many different regions in northern and western France and spoke a lot of different patois at first.
They got together speaking French, with a distinct flavor, now influenced by North American English as well. But the Quebecois are proud of their French heritage, and the language they share with the home country.