More Free Time in St MaloOctober 2, 2017 in France ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C
We have had a wonderful couple of days in beautiful St Malo. This place is very easy to fall in love with and the ever changing sea vistas keep us entertained for hours every day. The tidal variations here are enormous - up to 15 metres between high and low tide. This means that the wide sandy beaches are constantly in a state of flux. At the time of the low tide the sea retreats so far that it reveals a beautiful flat sandy expanse that stretches hundreds of metres from the sea wall.
That flat area becomes the favourite place for the locals to partake in a myriad of activities. Each day large walking groups make their way through the water's edge, getting their exercise by walking through the chest high water.
Any historical study of St Malo shows that over 80% of the old city was destroyed during the latter stages of WW2. The "old city" that you see now is actually a recreation that was begun in 1947 and completed around 20 years later. The builders certainly did an amazing job, however it is still somewhat artificial.
As we wondered the streets inside the towering ramparts we noticed several with rather whimsical names - such as Rue de Chat Qui Danse (the street of the dancing cat). Of particular interest to me were the places that were featured in that incredible novel "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. Although the novel itself is an historical fiction, many of the places mentioned do actually exist. In the story Marie-Laure LeBlanc and her father escape from Paris to St Malo and live with their eccentric uncle at 4 Rue Vauborel. I can now tell you that the street does really exist, although number 4 looks nothing like the house described in the book.
We spent some time retracing the paths taken by the blind Marie-Laure as she counted her steps along the cobble stoned alleys of the war time city. When I get back to Australia I plan to reread this incredible story and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is ready for an emotional but spellbinding read.
After another two days here we will be heading to Vannes to re-acquaint ourselves with another place we strongly wished to see again since we first visited there in 2013 .Read more