© Emmanuel Berthier
Culture and heritageTHE MALOUINIÈRES

The "malouinières" mansion houses, unique heritage of Ille‑et‑Vilaine

Ille-et-Vilaine has 112 malouinière houses in the Saint-Malo hinterland. Witnesses of the privateer past of the city of Saint-Malo, these elegant residences were the holiday homes of rich shipowners. Discover this unique heritage in Ille-et-Vilaine!

Privateer residences

The malouinière houses are linked to the adventures of the famous privateers from the Saint-Malo region, who carried the famous “”letter of marque” signed by the king. Robert Surcouf, René Duguay-Trouin, René-Auguste de Chateaubriand and Jacques Cartier distinguished themselves in the race at sea and become rich by taking enemy ships. Dissatisfied with the tight space within the city walls, they took up residence several months a year outside of the city in these perfectly symmetrical houses in a calm setting.


Bleak architecture

Built in the countryside from the end of the 17th century, these beautiful and sumptuous holiday residences were concentrated in the region of Clos-Poulet (Pays d’Aleth). Concealed behind impressive gates and in the shade of huge wooded parks, these now private residences all have a slightly strict and bleak approach. Inspired by Vauban-style military architecture, their symmetrical façades are plastered in white to fight humidity and salt. Their steep roofs are topped with fire pots and tapered chimneys. The often lavish interior is decorated with memories from trips: precious wood for the furniture and parquet floors, porcelain from Compagnie des Indes, marble from Italy, etc.

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