Once a feared base of corsairs, French privateers and even pirates, heavily fortified against Norman (or English) attack, Saint-Malo, located at the mouth of the Rance River, and controlling not only the estuary, but the open sea beyond, is today one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. The star of the show is the atmospheric walled city (intramuros), largely destroyed in the WWII but painstakingly reconstructed.
The promontory fort of Aleth, placed in what is now the Saint-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan early in the 6th century. Its name is derived from a Welsh monk, probably a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo or Maclou. The corsairs of Saint-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who is thus credited as the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands.
Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1490-1493, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto "not French, not Breton, but Malouins". Saint-Malo is the setting of Marie de France's poem Laustic, an 11th-century love story, but also the birthplace of Chateaubriand (1768-1848), the founder of Romanticism in French literature. In the postcard is the levee from Sillon, long of 1671m and surrounded by many villas built in the late 19th century, a nice place to walk, but not during the storm.
About the stamp
The stamp is one of the two issued by La Poste on May 21, 2013 on Europe Stamps 2013, which have as theme The postman van, for celebrating PostEurop's 20th anniversary (1993-2013):
• an engraving of the new mail coach (sedan version) of 1837 (based on the lithograph inspired by Victor Adam 1801-1866) - it's on this postcard
• electric car Kengoo ZE, which are to be deployed by 2015 for the collection and distribution of mail throughout the country.
Saint-Malo - Wikipedia
Saint-Malo - Office de Tourisme de Saint-Malo
sender: Marius Vasiliu (direct swap)
sent from Saint-Malo (Brittany / France), on 12.08.2013
photo: V. Hach