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Walled with the same grey granite stone as Mont St-Michel, the elegant, ancient, and beautifully positioned city of St-Malo was originally a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance, controlling not only the estuary but also the open sea beyond. Now inseparably attached to the mainland, it’s the most visited place in Brittany, thanks partly to its superb old citadelle and partly to its ferry service to England, and the lively streets that lie within the walls – the area known as intra-muros – are packed with restaurants, bars and shops. Yes, the summer crowds can be oppressive, but even then a stroll atop the walls should restore your equilibrium, while the vast, clean beaches beyond are a huge bonus, especially if you’re travelling with kids.

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