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The haunt of pirates for hundreds of years, the “Cité Corsaire” has always done things its own way: In the 1590s it even declared itself an independent republic. Saint-Malo is still defended by its historic ramparts, while the tidal islands next to the city continue to be fortified by 17th century bastions. Walking the walls is a must-do – they’re massive, and have sweeping views of the sea and many islands near shore. The area is very windy and looks to be quite popular for kite-surfing and other wind sports.

Saint-Malo is clearly a foodie paradise – it’s packed with specialty stores and boutiques. The wonderful smelling L’Epicerie Roellinger focuses on spices, peppers and herbs from around the world, created by top chef Olivier Roellinger (of Chateau Richeux) and inspired by the town’s links to the spice route.

***Bistro Autour du Beurre was very, very good. The meal starts with an assortment of 8 flavors of butter for your bread, and continues in rich fashion.


Dinard

Across from Saint-Malo, on the left bank of the Rance, Dinard is a rather elegant spa town. It’s lined with turn-of-the-century mansions, and features a really excellent promenade along the waterfront. The town itself is packed with high-end boutiques. 

Very different in feel, it’s a nice companion stop to Saint-Malo.


Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes

20 minutes from Saint-Malo, ***Chateau Richeux is a fine dining destination, with the option of staying in separate, modern cabins or the main chateau. The food focuses on fish & seafood, with much of the produce grown on the property itself. It’s a beautiful spot with distant views of Mont Saint-Michel – I definitely recommend it.

The spa is quite something (and not included with the price of stay) – a stone and wood complex of pools, a hamman, and sauna with great views and indoor/outdoor swimming.

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