On our second day in Saint-Malo (see our previous post for an introduction to this Brittany coast medieval city that was home to French corsairs and pirates for hundreds of years), we decided to climb up the rampart walls and do a complete circumambulation of the walled city.
Built in 1689 by French King Louis XIV’s master military architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the massive Fort National dungeoned fortress was primarily intended to protect Saint-Malo from the British. Located just outside the walled city on the north, the fort is situated offshore atop a rocky outcrop and can only be reached on foot at low tide.
Chateau de Saint-Malo (the Castle of Saint-Malo) was built by the Dukes of Brittany for their guardianship over the city of Saint-Malo beginning in 1424. Within the castle today is a museum chronicling the city’s history, Musee de L’Historie de Saint-Malo. It contains information on some of Saint-Malo’s most famous residents such as Jacques Cartier and the writer Chateaubriand.
After our morning circumambulation of the walled city, we met some friends for lunch in La Ville Intra-Muros (the old city within the rampart walls) at Autor du Beurre. We were very impressed by the modern decor in a 15th or 16th century building and the cuisine of Chef Steve Delamaire. True to the restaurant’s name, there is a lot of beurre (butter). We started our luncheon with a butter tasting! (pictured above.) Of the eight butters — unsalted, salted, with tarragon, with garlic, with grey sea salt, with pimentón, etc., our table’s favorite was the butter with grey sea salt. Quite an interesting way to get into the local Brittany food and culture.
We couldn’t pass up the all lobster multi-course luncheon. Each course presented part of the lobster in a different preparation. Pictured above is the lobster tail served back in its shell as the entree.
When we took the tender back to the ship, anchored in the harbor (see top photograph in this blog post), looking back at the walled city it was quite a sight to see all the anchored boats sitting on the sand at low tide (10+ meters, or 33 feet twice-daily rise and fall of the water level).