In 1990 we were introduced to a fairly eccentric English man who had retired to St Malo as he felt unable to live in England during the years of Thatcher Government. He had joined the St Malo Randonneurrs (French for Ramblers) and said he would like to entertain some of us on a rambling break in Brittany. Our host's name was John but he was called Johnny by his French rambling friends. During our week's holiday John showed us around St Malo and led us on walks along the rather attractive coastline in St Malo Harbour. We also joined the local Randonneures for some of their walks away from the coast and during the week they alllowed us to join a most enjoyable afternoon's coach outing in which we visited three French Chateaux. 

 

We were a small group but probably as many as could be accommodated in John's fairly large end of terrace house. A number of us had cameras but it was before digital cameras became the order of the day so the number and quality of our photographs fell well short of present day standards (writing in 2017). However I have managed limited improvements with the aid of Photoshop and Microsoft Office Picture Manager. The photographs below will fall under the following headings:

 

Around the Town

Some striking Buildings 

Coastal Walks

Non Coastal Walks

Tour of three Chateaux

Rest Day at Mont St Michel

An Unplanned Day on the Normandy/Brittany Border

 

During the week we had several occasions to explore different parts of St Malo. One part of the town had narrow streets and busy trading premises, making a man with Wexford blood in his veins feel quite at home.

Other parts of the town had attractive old fashioned features of which this is one example

This looks like an occasion when we were meeting up with the locaal ramblers.

Other parts of the town had open vistas with attractice buildings, including Churches.

The above photograph was taken in the course of our walk along the town wall. At the time I took it I was unaware of the impression it conveys that our group was dividing into tpeople walking in opposite directions but we had a laugh when we saw the print!!

With the passage of time I can't remember the detail behind this photograph but I think there was a history attached to the Church and at the time the photograph was taken we were being told about it.

This is one of the points we visited on our walk around the town wall, much of which is along the sea front.

In the town and along it's impressive Town Wall there was ample provision of places to take a rest.

During a visit to a small museum I took these two photographs using two of the very limited number of settings afforded by my instamatic camera.

Considering St Malo was 90% destroyed by allied naval and air attacks during the German occupation, this photograph illustrates how completely it was rebuilt after the war.

Many of the monuments around St Malo commemmorate military events but this particular commemorates James Cartier, a French explorer who explored the St Lawrence river and came up with the name "Canada" for that great country.

Another Cartier monument elsewhere in the town

The amusing notice in the centre of this photograph promises "Broken English Spoken"!!

 

This brings us to the end of our selection of photographs taken around the town of St Malo. Folowing will be the other offerings, beginning with Coastal Walk photographs.

We begin our views taken on coastal walks with this view looking back at St Malo from a point further out on the coastline.

As we looked down on a beach one day we found that our host and walk leader had incribed a greeting with his name in the sand below.

Although not taken on a coastal path as such the above photograph, taken on a walk on which we joined John's Randonneurs, shows a nice coa.stal view in the background

The exact location of the above photograph is lost in the mists of all the time that has passed between when it was taken and when I am publishing it. It seems to be the remains of a defensive wall or fort overlooking St Malo Harbour.

Although well into October weather conditions were surprisingly mild and pleasant. This photograph was taken on a day when at least some of us indulged in a bit of paddling.

The above photograph was taken, I think, on a coastal walk we did towards the end of our holiday. There had been playful banter between one of our group and the owner of a coastal cafe. He went inside and came out with his wartime revolver pretending to be about to shoot. It is clear from the photograph that it was all good fun but our host and guide was embarrassed and said he would return the following week to apologise!!

In the same coastal cafe we asked, in the same spirit of friendly banter, for ketchup for our snack and the cafe owner produced the gigantic catering grade ketchup dispenser shown her. I thought it was worth a photograph ans still amuses me all these years later.

When I think of coastal footpaths I tend to think of low lying level walks but we encountered some quite hilly ones as well.

As we arrived back in St Malo that day I was thrilled to see this wayside shrine replicating the grotto shrine in Lourdes. In the photograph above our members are looking at the plaque below carrying in French the prayer: "Thank you O Virgin Mary - I was crippled and now I walk". The following six or seven pictures are of the coastal area taken on the same day.

One of the most amazing finds during the week were a series of rock sculptures hewn out of granite around the coast near St Malo. The sculptures were the work of a priest (Abbe Foure) who was stricken deaf and dumb by a stroke at 30 years of age. Isolated from the world by this affliction he spent the next several years carving these images from granite on the coastline. Some accounts give the impression that he did this in hermit like isolation but other accounts say he was assisted by an elderly fisherman. The sculptures are said to portray the life of a family of privateers of the 16th century.

 

Abbe Foure also prodeced many wooden sculptues but they were destroyed by fire in 1944.

This lunch time snack photo was taken close to the Abbe Foure sculptures.

Our host/leader organised us with military style discipline. Hence the mock salute.

We were able to identify the views of St Malo from all round the coast.