The perfect place for a day trip or a long weekend, we love our port town of St Malo and here's why...
1. St Malo's beautiful and numerous golden beaches
St Malo is awash with gorgeous and glorious golden beaches; in fact it has 10 to be exact. On a warm and sunny Breton day (yes, they do occur, and are more common than you might think) you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in one of the Spanish Costas.
My two favourites are Plage de Bon Secours and Plage du Sillon.
Plage de Bon Secours
One of the most centrally located beaches in St Malo, Plage de Bon Secours boasts a stunning view across the bay to the neighbouring town of Dinard. Overlooked by St Malo's historic ramparts, the beach is lined with sailing schools, café-bars and also boasts its very own outdoor seawater swimming pool - complete with diving board.
Plage du Sillon
Stretching for 3km, Plage du Sillon is made up of three beaches: La Grande Plage, La Hoguette and La Plage de Rochebonne. Due to its open exposure, it's a hotspot for sports such as windsurfing, kiting and sand yachting. You'll also notice the oak tree breakwaters which line the beach - during St Malo's famous high-tides, these prove an invaluable asset in protecting the beachfront buildings from the force of the crashing waves.
2. Delve into St Malo's privateering past
St Malo earnt its nickname, the 'Cité Corsaire' thanks to the privateers who made a name for themselves here in the 17th and 18th centuries (although this reputation dates back to the 13th century). Take a walk around Intra-Muros' captivating ramparts with panoramic seascape and city views - it's easy to see what an impenetrable fortress St Malo really was, and still is.
The 2km walk around the walls allows you to take in various pieces of Malouin history, such as the Fort National and the islands of Grand et Petit Bé, as well as the many small islands and rock formations that line Le Baie de St Malo. It pays to take a guided tour around the walls to explore the city's colourful history.
Did you know that St Malo declared itself as an independent state in 1590 and kept its independence for four years? Malouins are fiercely proud of their town, in fact, their motto is "neither French nor Breton, I am from St Malo" and the flag of St Malo flies higher here than the national tricolore, even today.
3. Never mind "let them eat cake", in St Malo it should be "let them eat crêpes"
A trip to St Malo without a mouth-watering Breton crêpe passing your lips should be against the law. Every corner you turn inside and outside the walled city, you'll be sure to stumble across a crêperie. And don't be fooled into thinking that crêpes are just for dessert, here you can eat crêpes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and as starter, main and dessert!
My personal recommendation would be the good ol' traditional 'complète'. A ham and cheese buckwheat pancake, topped with an egg - simple, but delicious. For dessert I'm equally as traditional, ordering a crêpe 'beurre sucre' - you can't go wrong with butter and sugar.
Of course, crêpes aren't the only thing you can eat in St Malo; you'll find Michelin starred restaurants and a varied cuisine all around the city. If you want to take home some of St Malo's culinary delights, stop by Jean-Yves Bordier's 'Maison du Beurre'... who'd have thought that butter could be so delicious?
4. Shop til' you drop
For all you shopaholics, St Malo doesn't hold back. As well as well-known brands such as Promod, Sephora and St James, you'll also find a plethora of independent boutiques, just waiting to be explored.
One of my favourites is called Entre Terre et Plage, a nautical haven of fantastical homeware products - from lighthouse styled lamps, to tableware and ornaments. Another must-visit is A l'Aise Breizh, your one-stop shop for all things fun and Breton; you will see their famous trademark, the breton bigoudène, all around the region.
5. A cruise on board our beautiful Bretagne
Your journey is just as much a part of your break away as your time in St Malo itself. And Bretagne is the icing on the cake. Restaurants, shops, bars, cinemas and live entertainment - we can guarantee you won't be bored.
Sailings to St Malo leave Portsmouth at 20:15 in the evening, giving you time to sit back and enjoy our award-winning French hospitality. A meal in Les Abers restaurant is the best way to start your evening.
After that, take in a show or some music in the bar where the barman will be happy to whip up a cocktail or two for you, browse Bretagne's five onboard shops or head back to your comfortable cabin for a good night's sleep. If you want a little more luxury, Bretagne also has Club Class and Commodore cabins available - there's nothing quite like breakfast in bed!
Arriving into St Malo at 08:15, you'll have time to get some breakfast on board (Continental or British, it's your choice!) and watch the sun rise over St Malo as the captain brings the ship into port.
What do you love about St Malo? Tell us in the comments below.