Top Historic Sights in Saint-Malo, France

Explore the historic highlights of Saint-Malo

Château de Saint-Malo

Château de Saint-Malo was built between 1424 and 1690, first by Jean V, the Duke of Brittany. The Duke Francois II built the first tower in 1475. In 1590 during the Wars of Religion the castle was occupied by local people, who wanted to prevent local governor to gave the city to Protestant king Henry IV. The château was modified in the 17th century according the design of famous fortress architect Sebastian V ...
Founded: 1424 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Saint-Malo Cathedral

Saint-Malo Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Saragosse de Saint-Malo) is a Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa. It was formerly the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Malo. The cathedral was built in 1146 when Jean de Châtillon, Bishop of Aleth, transferred his bishopric to the growing town of Saint-Malo on a more secure site across the river. The Benedictine monastery of Saint Malo ...
Founded: 1146 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Fort National

Fort National 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 engineer ...
Founded: 1689-1693 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Petit Bé

Petit Bé is a tidal island near Saint-Malo, France, close to the larger island of Grand Bé. There is a fort built in the 17th century. It was part of the defense belt designed by Vauban to protect the city of Saint-Malo from British and Dutch fleets. This belt also included the walls of the Saint Malo, Fort National, Fort Harbour, Fort de la Conchée, and the forts of Cézembre and Pointe de la V ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Grand Bé

Grand Bé is a tidal island located few hundred metres from the walls of Saint-Malo. At low tide the island can be reached on foot from the nearby Bon-Secours beach. Around 1360, hermits built a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Laurel, then to St Ouen. A redoubt was built in 1555, then replaced by other fortifications in 1652. François-René de Chateaubriand, a French writer native to Saint-Malo, is ...
Founded: 1652 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Solidor Tower

Solidor Tower (tour Solidor) is a strengthened keep with three linked towers, located in the estuary of the river Rance. It was built between 1369 and 1382 by John V, Duke 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 s ...
Founded: 1369-1382 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Château de la Briantais

The first manor on the site was built in 1666 by the Pointel family. Today the ruins of this original manor are still visible. The current Château de la Briantais was built by Eugene Sully-Brunet between 1850-1864. Today it is owned by the city of Saint-Malo and used for concerts and other events. The 27-hectares park is worth of seeing, including a chapel from 1778.
Founded: 1850-1864 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Jacques Cartier Manor House

The Jacques Cartier Manor House is the only existing property wich belonged to Cartier, the discoverer of Canada, in 1534. It’s a rare example of a great 16th century explorer’s home. Jacques Cartier opened up the North American continent to the French via the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The manor house has been restored and furnished to illustrate both the everyday life and the travels of its famous owner. From t ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Fort de la Conchée

Fort de la Conchée is an island fortification constructed by Sebastien Vauban. In 1689 Vauban conducted an inspections of French coastal fortifications for King Louis XIV, who wished to strengthen and improve the country"s defences. In 1693 whilst the fort was being constructed the English raided the town. They landed on Conchée where they slighted the works and captured those working on the fort. Agai ...
Founded: 1689-1705 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Aleth Cathedral Ruins

Aleth was a Gallo-Roman settlement on a peninsula on one side of the Rance estuary. The bishopric was established in the 9th century. Aleth Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre d"Aleth) was destroyed by Norman invaders in the 10th century but later rebuilt. The site of Aleth however was not a secure one and the town of Saint-Malo had begun to grow up on a far more defensible site on a rocky islet in the estuary ...
Founded: 920 AD | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.