The 120 kilometer long Emerald Coast is located between Cap Fréhel to the west and Mont-Saint-Michel in the East. The name is derived from the color of the emerald green sea, which breaks against the weathered cliffs. In between are small sandy coves, which at low tide turn into wide, golden beaches. During the 5th and 6th century Irish monks landed on this varied and beautiful coast. They were running from the Anglo-Saxons and at the same spread Christianity in Brittany. Countless place names that start with Saint remind of those days. Almost every village here has its own saint whose bones are often kept in the church.
The unusual Benedictine Abbey jutting out of the waters of the English Channel is considered the most important monastic structure of the European Middle Ages. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, it occupies most of a one-kilometer-diameter clump of rocks which was originally connected to the mainland by a thin natural bridge. According to legend, it was the Archangel Michael himself who ordered the Bishop of Avranches to found the monastery in 708. The building is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and guided tours are offered. Visitors should be prepared for large crowds of tourists. This is also where the greatest tides in Europe occur. The ocean recedes by around 14 km at low tide, then rushes back at a speed of 15 km per hour at high tide.
Old seafaring town and seaside resort
The old seafaring town was originally on an island that was connected to the mainland by two dams. It is named after the Welsh hermit monk who lived on the headland in the 6th century. Because of the Norman raids in the 9th century, a fortress was built with strong walls, in which today is the old town. St-Malo has been a popular seaside resort since the 19th century, many beautiful summer residences are still left. Especially recommended is a walk over the “remparts”. From the preserved city wall you have a fantastic view over the old town and the sea, which looks completely different depending on the tide. The difference between low tide and high tide is particularly high – between 8 and 12 meters!