© Alexandre Lamoureux
ExperienceA family day out in Saint‑Malo

A family day out in Saint‑Malo

You can be on the beach in Saint-Malo after just a 45-minute car journey from Rennes. Swimming on Sillon beach and admiring the sea view from the top of the ramparts are must-do activities. But the privateer city has many unsuspected treasures that will please parents, teenagers, children and grandparents ! Are you coming ? Let’s go for a family day out in Saint‑Malo.

Piscine de Bon Secours, Saint-MaloPiscine de Bon Secours, Saint-Malo© Alexandre Lamoureux

A MORNING TO DISCOVER SAINT-MALO

  • 8:00 am : This weekend, Saint-Malo is on the programme. Departing from Rennes, is everybody ready ? Let’s go !
  • 8:45 am : Arrive in Saint-Malo. Already ?
  • 9:00 am : Start this day of exploration in Saint-Malo by strolling along the mythical Saint-Malo beach, called Sillon beach, to the inside of the walled city.
  • 9:15 am : Before climbing the ramparts, there’s time for a coffee ! But not in just any café, in a veritable institution in Saint-Malo : the “café on the corner of the street at the end of town opposite the port – La Java Café”. This is the oldest bistro in Saint-Malo. With its vintage posters and retro dolls, this café is unique. Discover it without fail !
  • 9:35 am : Head to the ramparts for a full tour of these emblematic fortifications of Saint-Malo, covering a distance of 1,754 metres (the walk takes around 45 minutes at a good pace). Discover the remains of the town’s privateer past – Bidouane Tower, Bastion de la Hollande – and admire the views of the sea, the town and the port, or Saint-Malo castle.
  • 11:00 am : Plunge into the universe of these shipowners from Saint-Malo in the 17th and 18th centuries. Set off to discover the malouinières, country residences where the shipowners enjoyed the peace and quiet, far from the hustle and bustle of the town. The malouinières of Ville Bague or Chipaudière are on the edge of Saint-Malo.
  • 11:00 am alternative programme : Your teenagers might not be very interested in visiting heritage. So why not suggest a tour on a gyropod ? Travelling on a Segway in Saint-Malo is so cool ! And for grandparents who want to enjoy their grandchildren on their own, the land train is always a success with young children.
  • Midday : After this activity-filled morning, it’s time for lunch. Are you food lovers ? Great! Saint-Malo has many good gastronomic restaurants. With delicious crêperies and seafood bistros, among others, there’s no shortage of choice! You must try craquelins, a Saint-Malo tradition since 1923, or Bordier butter. Why not have lunch at the bistro “Autour du beurre” at La Fromagée Jean-Yves Bordier. You’ll love it. Do you want an original experience ? Try out the hotel school restaurant in Saint-Malo.

Book for lunch

WHY IS IT CALLED THE PRIVATEER CITY ?

Saint-Malo is known as the privateer city due to its prestigious past. It was the largest privateer city in the 16th and 17th centuries. During this prosperous period, the privateers, including the famous Duguay-Trouin and Surcouf, and many Saint-Malo shipowners made their fortune and had sumptuous mansion houses built here.

SEA ACTIVITIES FOR AN AFTERNOON IN SAINT-MALO

  • 1:30 pm : Do you feel like a privateer ? Hop on board an old sailing ship for an outing in the bay of Saint-Malo ! Take the helm of the Narval, a magnificent sardine boat built in 1946. Children will love it ! Hoist the sails !
  • 1:30 pm alternative programme : Have your teenagers got too much energy ? There are many water sports to choose from. Why not programme a sea kayak outing ? It’s a great way of discovering Saint-Malo from the sea. And if there’s too much swell, an initiation in surfing on Sillon beach is a good option.
  • 4:00 pm : It’s time for a well-earned afternoon snack ! After 2 hours 30 on the sea, now head to THE restaurant street in Saint-Malo. Glacier Sanchez, Pâtisserie de la Cathédrale, Babas de Saint-Malo, Kouign-Amann de Saint-Malo… so much temptation !
  • 5:00 pm : It’s time to get back in your car to go to Saint-Servan. To return from inside the city walls, pass on the port side to admire the impressive Étoile du Roy boat. When you arrive in Saint-Servan, walk on the embankment and to the bottom of Solidor Tower. Do you still have some energy ? Before your aperitif, stroll on the Sentier des Douaniers starting from the Tower for another view of the bay.

 

Discover all the activities in Saint-Malo

ADMIRE THE SUNSET OVER THE BAY OF SAINT-MALO

  • 6:00 pm : Get some height for your aperitif (with moderation, of course) ! Here are two rooftop ideas to admire the sunset as a family : Hôtel Les Ambassadeurs on Sillon beach or Crêperie le Corps de Garde on the ramparts. There are only a few tables, so be quick !
  • 7:00 pm : It’s time to leave ! Is it too early ? If you want to prolong the evening and if the children are up to it, treat yourself to dinner in one of the restaurants in town. L’Effet Mer, Les Charmettes, Le B’Art à thé are just some of the addresses for every budget.

 

Want to stay ? Book accommodation in Saint-Malo

Practical information

Located on the northern tip of Ille-et-Vilaine, just a short distance from Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo is the ideal place for adventures.

Where to park in Saint-Malo ?

Finding a parking space in Saint-Malo, especially in the summer, is sometimes a nightmare. The town has 14 paid car parks near the station, the maritime station, the ramparts and in the streets adjacent to Sillon beach. A good idea in the summer ? The free shuttle bus from the Paul Féval park & ride to Quai Duguay-Trouin.

Come by train

Why not opt to come by train : Paris/Saint-Malo in 2 hours 30 ?

The journey time between Rennes/Saint-Malo is 45 minutes and costs between 7 and 15 euros.

The SNCF train station is a 10-minute walk from the town centre.

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