In Saint-Malo (a photo gallery) - Three Seasons Around France: Autumn - CycleBlaze

September 24, 2022

In Saint-Malo (a photo gallery)

Well, Jupiter and Apollo (the Roman gods of weather and healing) are both shining on us this morning.  I wake up feeling nearly normal and the threat of rain passed in the night.  Our train doesn’t leave until noon so there’s time to walk around and see this place before coming back to our room to pack up.

We start with a trip to the nearby bakery Rachael scouted out for us yesterday, arriving just before dawn at about 7:30.  It’s a bargain: 16€ buys us two almond croissants, a small quiche Lorraine, half a baguette, a pain raisin, and three cups of coffee.  We sit at a table outside the bakery across the lane from the cathedral, stuffing ourselves and watching the sky gradually lighten and clear.  By the time we stand up and start moving the sky above is largely blue and the sun is up.

Approaching the cathedral, on a pastry hunt.
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Pastries found! And coffee too! We should do this more often - it was very calming sitting outside watching the pigeons swirl above the cathedral and the clouds fly across the sky.
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Graham FinchYou just needed the day's paper.
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2 months ago

The old city is practically an island, with the channel on the west side, the east bordering a ring of bays and the port.  Our hotel and the spot we’ve just had breakfast are only two or three  blocks from the bayside, so we head there first.  We aren’t really oriented at all yet, but just have the general knowledge that it’s about an hour’s walk to circle the core and that walls are involved.  It’s pretty simple-minded tourism, but it’s enough for the day.  

We find the walls and our way up them as soon as we come to the perimeter, and for the next two hours enjoy an extraordinary morning.  It begins when we climb to the top and look across the bay and down the long line of the walls.  This early in the day we’re almost alone, our only company the gulls and a few early morning joggers.  

We’re startled to look down in the harbor and see a pair of what look like well-preserved sailing ships from a different era, maybe placed here as museum pieces.  As we get closer though we’re startled to see that there’s a crowd on deck, so maybe there’s an early morning tour assembled already; but then there are folks high up the masks furling the scales, so it’s obvious something else is underway - it’s the cast and crew for a photo shoot.

Back at the hotel we mention this to our hotelier, who confirms for us that it is a filming.  Michael Douglas is in town he says, like it’s no big deal.  Saint-Malo must see a lot of this sort of thing.  Later we’ll research this and see that this is a scene from a mini-series reenacting the time when Benjamin Franklin (played by Douglas) came to France to solicit aid from the French during the Revolutionary War.

On the walls, looking across the port side. It’s the ideal time to be here - we have the place to ourselves and the city is just coming to life.
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On the left is Franklin’s ship, the Étoile du Roy. To its right is the Shtandart, a Russian ship built a few decades ago as a historical replica of an 18th century frigate. The Shtandart is in town just for the shoot, a stop on its circuit from port to port as a tourism draw.
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The Betsy Ross flag.
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Instructions for the day.
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Keith AdamsQuite a load of ruffians there!
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2 months ago
Rich FrasierTo Keith AdamsThey probably hired a bunch of bicycle tourists.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Rich FrasierLikely alright. Check out how trim they all look!
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2 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Rich FrasierA grubbier, sketchier-looking crowd would be hard to assemble, for sure.
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2 months ago
The Shtandart is a replica of the original Shtandart, a Russian frigate launched in 1703 as the flagship of the first Russian naval fleet under Peter the Great.
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It’s interesting that the crew of the Shtandart consists of a mix of Russians and Ukrainians.
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It took awhile to tear ourselves away from the film set, but we have a train to catch and want to see the rest of the walls.  It’s a wonderful loop, spectacular and interesting all the way around.  By the time we’ve made it back to our hotel it’s sunny, quite windy, the streets are starting to fill again, and it’s time to pack for the train.  Such an exceptional way to have spent the morning, leaving us with yet one more reason we’d like to return to Brittany someday.

And, FYI, I’m getting behind and will leave further captioning for a rainy day.  Time to move on.

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Keith AdamsFabulous contrast between the sunlit buildings and gray rainy sky.
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2 months ago
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Keith AdamsOne-off rolling artwork. Quite a conversation starter, from the looks of it.
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2 months ago
Rich FrasierI've never seen a pedal-forward derny before.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Rich FrasierYou’re one up on me - I’d never heard of a derby before. Look at that clearance!
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2 months ago
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