St Malo, Grand Bé & Petit Bé
Country - France
Region - Ille et Vilaine (35) - Brittany
Author - Lou Johnson
Time - 3.00 hours
This walk takes in the walled city (La Ville intra-muros) of St Malo and, subject to tides, the two small tidal islands that lie just off shore. Remember that St Malo is one of the busiest tourist destinations in this part of France so choosing a quiet time of the year might be preferable. As the tides are critical it is essential that you are aware of tidal conditions. It is probably best to visit the Office de Tourisme prior to setting out to establish if the walk to the islands is possible.
The start of the walk is the Office de Tourisme which is located just outside the walled city by the St Vincent Gate. There is parking in the immediate vicinity although you may have to park some way off in the peak season. From here walk along the front of the city walls (i.e. the wall should be on your right) to the far end. Turn right here along the Esplanade de la Bourse from where you get fine views across the River Rance to the resort of Dinan.
Pass the departure point for the Dinan ferries and continue along the waterfront. Ahead is the breakwater which offers a breezy walk and some great views back to the walled city. After completing the out and back on the breakwater return as far as the first gate - Porte de Dinan. Here you can climb up onto the walls and continue the circuit of the city. Obviously there are many options as you might be tempted to explore the streets as well or spend some time relaxing on the small beaches.
If tides are favourable you need to leave the walled city at the Place de Quebec which is located in the northernmost corner of the city. From here descend to the beach and follow the concrete path to the Grand Bé which has the ruins of an ancient fort. Continuing to the smaller Petit Bé with its rather splendid fort built in 17th century do not be tempted to pick mussels as they area apparently not safe to eat. After completing your exploration of these two islands return to the city.
Turning left along the walls will allow you to complete the circuit and will take you back to where you started by the Hotel de Ville. If you still need some more exercise then you can continue along the Grande Plage for as far as you wish as at low tide the sands are extensive. Returning to the city there is also a warren of streets with a wide range of shops and restaurants mainly aimed at tourists.
- IGN Carte de Randonnée - St-Malo, Dinard, Dinan - 1:25000 Sheet 1116 ET
French IGN mapping is available in digital format by area and 'cut your own' maps. For more information and availabilty go to the Anquet website.
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