April revisted – St Malo

Despite hardly writing anything last month it doesn’t mean there was nothing to write about and, having written about the election recently I’m going to cover some of the events from the last month for the rest of this week, a sort of April rediscovered.   There were plenty of things I’ve thought about during the month to write about but the ones I feature here are the ones I have pictures of.

The first event, which was widely trailed here, was the visit to St MaloJTO and I arrived on the Saturday on the TGV via Paris.  On Sunday we were joined by family on the ferry from Portsmouth.  The picture shows the ferry arriving early on Sunday morning between the old city on the left and the fort national, built by Vauban, on the right.  Before going I talked with colleagues about what I was doing for Easter and the unanimous response was along the line that it rains twice in St Malo, once for three days and then for four days.  Well for us the weather was gorgeous sunshine for the whole week, it was windy sometimes but the sun shone the whole time.  Our apartments were near a beach so we spent time there making castles, flying kites, playing football etc.  On Easter Sunday we went for the first of a number of visits to the old walled city which can be seen, largely on the right, in this picture.  It was 80% destroyed in the Second World War and was reconstructed in the style of 17th and 18th centuries.  As well as the churches, one of which had a spire which could be viewed over the walls and miles away, there were public buildings, shops, homes and restaurants in the old city.  In the restaurants we enjoyed local specialities of seafood, moules frites, crepes – both as a main course, galettes made from a buckwheat flour, and a desert – and the cidre.

As well as the old city St-Servan was visited to see the fortress, Fort de la Cite, built in the 18th century and then further fortified when used by the Germans during WWII.  It contained a museum on the effect of the war on St Malo and the fighting to recapture it from the Germans in 1944.  It was still possible to see the effect of some of the fighting on the fortifications.  I was struck on walking round the fortifications how similar those added by the Germans after 1940 were to those they added to the defences of Strasbourg after it became German in 1871.  In terms of technology and positioning little seemed to have changed.  In its grounds there is also the remains of a Roman wall and the camp-site for St Malo.  Nearby there is, as can be seen in this picture, the remains of a 12th century Cathedral and the 14th century Tour Solidor which is now used as a museum.  There was also a great view across the estuary of the Rance including the Barrage de la Rance, which I had hoped to visit but is closed for all 2010.  We also took the short ferry from St Malo to Dinard which seem to attract English visitors more.  It has the feel of a turn-of-the-century beach resort with belle epoque mansions around the bay.  There is a statue of Alfred Hitchcock, pictured, and it was claimed that the inspiration for the film, The Birds, came from this bay, explaining the birds on the statue.  Though it has never been determined whether Hitch visited the place or not.  Still there is a festival of British film every October.

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One Response to “April revisted – St Malo”

  1. Pancake Day but not as we know it Jim « The Flashing Blade Says:

    […] have cidre brut which came in a jug and was drunk out of a large cup as I had done in Normandy when there last Easter.(You can see the cup mentions the Rance which is the river on whose estuary St Malo […]

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