Saint Malo

There are two sides to Saint Malo, the new and the walled-old town. My experience with the new consists of a Hertz office and the train station so we’ll focus on the part that everyone visits this little town for—the walled one.

From the train station we walked nearly a mile, 

passing a marina on either side before walking under the ramparts of the fortressed town. Cobblestone streets under foot and old brick buildings towering overhead, we quickly fell in love with the little town even though we were running late thanks to a delayed train. Distracted by the lamp-lit streets, we took a few wrong turns but magically arrived at our hotel at just the right moment to check-in.

I had read in reviews that Hotel San Pedro was a great place to stay and its manager Marielle was incredibly sweet, but after a few failed phone call attempts earlier in the day I was concerned what conversations would be like.  This was quickly laid to rest though; she was extremely kind and obliging with enough English to get you through the day; but when not discussing business she spoke slowly in French so we could still understand what she was saying.

To any would-be world travelers: hotel rooms are much smaller in Europe than we’re accustomed to, but just remind yourself that you’re there for the location and not your hotel and you’ll be fine. Also, the elevators are tiny too.

Our room was on the fourth floor with a sea view and since we had bags we skipped taking the elevator and hiked up the stairs. Is it sad that what I was most excited about was the shower in our bathroom? Taking baths is not all it’s cracked up to be.

We quickly got settled then walked over to a creperie, which are everywhere in France and are great for comfort food. The restaurant is known for having a great view of the ocean as it sits right on the rampart wall, however the sun had already set so there was no view to be seen, but it was still nice to know that the beach was so close.

Probably my favorite part of our stay was breakfast. It wasn’t fancy, but it was just so pleasant and comforting that it became what I looked forward to. Mirelle prepared the meals herself, putting out a bottle of juice for each table, a cup of fruit, a bread basket with spreads, yogurt with some type of jam (yogurt in Europe without the aid of some sweetener is disgusting), a plate of cheese, café et lait (coffee and milk), plus a daily special like fried egg or French toast. Good food with a happy French host running around delivering food and insisting we eat more all added up to pleasant mornings.

After breakfast we rambled over the beach. I went barefoot despite the temperature being somewhere in the upper 50s and stuck my feet in the English Channel—not as cold as I was expecting.

 Colton in true Colton form, decided to go rock climbing in a button-up dress shirt, tie, vest, and boots. 
Eventually we left the beach (slight concern that rain might be headed our way) and made our way into town. We explored some shops—tourist traps galore—before grabbing lunch.

I was given specific instructions to have moules and frites (mussels and fries) while we visited Saint Malo, so that’s what we had for lunch. It sounded like an odd combination when I first heard about it, and I did miss having ketchup with the fries (I probably could have asked for some but I didn’t want to be “that American”) but honestly it was a fantastic meal. Colton went with the regular, which were just cooked in a white wine sauce; I went a bit fancier and got the kind cooked in a cream sauce with bacon. Even now I’m wanting to get some again. I should investigate if anywhere in Angers serves it. About ¾ through our dish we were nearly stuffed and we realized we still had to eat dessert. I know, rough life.

We finished the day out on the ramparts, and walked out to a lighthouse. Despite the difference in height between the seawall and the water level, waves still managed to splash up onto our path, so on the way back we made sure to walk a bit faster as to avoid getting wet.

 We scrambled out onto the beach for more pictures, Colton climbed more rocks, and then we sat down and waited for the sun to set. As the wind persisted and the temperature dropped, my interest in this was declining and I was looking forward to returning to our cozy Hotel San Pedro for some warmth. I know, I’m no fun. But I managed, and once the sun was behind the horizon I told Colton (who was lost in thought on the other end of the rocks) that he could stay outside but I was heading to warmth. He followed.

After resting in our hotel room we went to dinner at Au Coin Malouin, a burger restaurant that I had seen great reviews on (I look at TripAdvisor way too much now). I hastily made a reservation by email just a couple hours before we left on the off chance that they were busy and magically they responded before we left for the restaurant. I say magically because when we arrived at the restaurant, the husband and wife team that runs it informed us that they never check for reservations in the evening and had just happened to check and see mine. We probably would have been fine without reserving but I like knowing we would have a table when we got there and the side bonus that they saw from our email that we spoke English and knew to help us with the menu. Now, I didn’t really need them to translate as I had translated the menu online and already knew what I was going to order (plus he raddled off so quickly that I had no idea what some of the things were if I hadn’t already looked).

It was a cute little restaurant, Colton and I have a habit of picking places that have a color scheme of red and black—it’s not on purpose I promise. It was small and two-stories and reminded me of the pub we live next to in Angers (the Welsh), both of which keep games around the restaurant for patrons to entertain themselves. They also have affection for animals, while the Welsh has two massive housecats that wander in and out of the pub. The animal at this eatery was a bit more unexpected for to our surprise a large group finished dinning and got up to leave the small room and in their company was a massive golden retriever which neither one of us had noticed. The food was great, it was the first time I’ve ever eaten ribs with a fork (a little ashamed of myself), Colton ate a burger which neighboring diners ate by cutting up with and eating via utensil, Colton ate good ol’American style. The French fries were fantastic.

One day and one night’s adventures, I think you’ve been through enough.

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