From the Ashes

by James Conley


The story of Saint-Malo is a long story of resolute stubbornness. In the 4th Century, it served as as a promontory fort protecting the Roman Empire from raiders using the Race river. Later, in 1144, Saint-Malo itself became a place of asylum, which attracted ne'er do wells, with the port become a base for corsairs as well as pirates. In 1590, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic. 

During all these evolutions, the town remained a force unto itself, with walls that repeated armies found impossible to penetrate. During World War II, fewer than 100 Nazi troops were able to hold the city against the Allies. The result was a terrible cost—the town was nearly destroyed with shelling and napalm before the Nazi's surrendered. 

As it has always done, however, Saint-Malo rose from the ashes. Between 1948 and 1960, the town was rebuilt to its former glory. With a ferry port and and a high-speed rail station, it is once again a force to be reckoned with, and as independent as ever.