Autumn                       2018
VOL. 22                      NO.  3


FRANCE On Your Own banner
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter


Moments in Saint-Malo
  ~ Brittany


          Twisted Tongues
                ~  Challenging French phrases  

Ici et Là

A Hidden Gem in the French Countryside
~  Third in a series

François-René de Chateaubriand
   ~  Father of Romaticism in French Literature

Traveling in France
   ~  Planes, Trains  and Automobiles

  ~  Enter your France holiday photo to win


St Malo High Tide January 2018 courtesy Hôtel Nouveau Monde

Tidal Surge January 2018, Saint-Malo at Hôtel Nouveau Monde

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  " The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."

                                                                  -   Jacques Yves Cousteau

Moments in Saint-Malo

Brittany is one of our favorite regions of France ~ from the peaceful countryside and fairytale villages to the 1780 miles of rugged shoreline that represents one third of France's coast.

Map of Brittany showing St MaloLocated on the shores of the English Channel on Brittany's northeast coast, Saint-Malo is an extraordinary town and a perfect vacation spot.  We had briefly visited many years ago, but during our September trip we decided to stay in Saint-Malo to really see what it is all about.

Fortunately, we had a room in the Hôtel le Nouveau Monde with a balcony overlooking the beach; unfortunately, it was such a great location with amazing views that we didn't want to venture too far away.  Nor did we have to.  The hotel restaurant and others just a short distance away offered excellent fare and were so convenient.  Strolling along the Chaussée de Sillon to enjoy the sun and sea air was equally as pleasing, and we walked all the way to Intra Muros, the old walled city of Saint-Malo.

From our balcony we could watch brave people venture out into the cold water, some with wet suits but most with shorts and T-shirts and a few in bathing suits.  None seemed eager to get out of the water and come back to dry land.  We could also see many people walking out on a sand bar during low tide to the Fort National, a few hundred meters from shore.  Warnings are posted to pay attention to the tidal schedule because when high tide arrives, adventurers could be trapped on the island or, if in the water at the time, worse.

Speaking of the tides, we are accustomed to the ebbing and flowing of ocean tides, but we naïvely thought that La Manche was more calm and quiet than it is ~ what a surprise we had in store for ourselves!  Our hotel is five stories high, if you include the ground floor, and our room was on the second floor ~ three floors above the ground.  The first evening we saw a photo on the wall in the bar [left] taken in January of this year. and the tide was up to the third floor on the face of the hotel.  Thinking back to all we've read and heard about Operation Overlord in World War II and the Channel storms that delayed invasion plans by more than a day, we perhaps should have expected the tides we saw.  But, there were no storms the first week of September of which we were aware ~ just incredibly high tides.  It was only later that we learned that Saint-Malo has the highest tides in Europe ~ another claim to fame for France which already boasts the highest sand dune, the highest mountain, the largest forest and more. 


Saint-Malo is famous as the home base for corsairs, also known as pirates and privateers, authorized by the French crown beginning in the Middle Ages to raid the ships of their enemies in time of war. The ships and contents were then sold at auction, and the corsair captains received a share of the profits.  The corsairs were licensed combatants and were to be treated as prisoners of war if they were ever captured.  Bishop Jean Châtillon gave the town of Saint-Malo the status of 'rights of asylum' in 1144. This encouraged thieves and rogues to move to Saint-Malo. "Neither Breton nor French, but from Saint-Malo am I" became their motto.

There were notable heroes of Saint-Malo due to corsair activities: one was René Duguay-Trouin, born in the city in 1673, and the son of a wealthy shipbuilder.  He had a fleet of 64 ships and subsequently captured more than 300 merchant ships and 20 warships.  His privateering and naval career were both brilliant, and he became the equivalent of admiral and a Commander in the Order of Saint-Louis.  He died in 1736. 

Also born in Saint-Malo, Robert Surcouf was the son of a ship owner and the last and best-known of the corsairs.  A corsair at the age of 22, he attacked ships belonging to the French East India Company.  Later, during the French Revolution, he continued to operate without government approval against British shipping to India.  His popularity in France increased, he eventually became a ship owner but died in Saint-Malo in 1827 at the age of only 54.  A statue and a small museum pay tribute to him there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          continued on page 2



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region of continued on page three


. . .
  with a click  

>  and perhaps find an event or activity that interests you in the US or France in our Ici et Là column ~ and be sure to see our newest Ici et Là feature:  Did You Know? 


to meet  François-René de Chateaubriand, a fascinating and accomplished aristocrat and diplomat whose work in literary circles flourished in the first half of nineteenth century France.


>  and come along with us to our Hidden Gem in the French Countryside, third in our series of places in France you may want to see for yourself on your next visit.


>  for an overview of transportation in France, from getting from point A to point B the most efficient way (by train), to the experience of renting a car (and all the mysteries and revelatons that may involve) to flying within Europe via the newest of the low-cost carriers: Planes, Trains and Automobiles


>  and don't forget to participate in our new PHOTO CONTEST by sending us your best photo from your last visit to France.  The winner will win something very useful (and time-saving) for their next stopover in Paris! 

Preview of our next issue:
  • Normandy events for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings
  • Celebrating 500 years of the French Renaissance in the Loire Valley
  • 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

FRANCE On Your Own invites articles
  from our readers about their time in France.
We can't guarantee when we will publish all
 those we receive, but we will do our best to
include them for our other readers to enjoy.
[No payments are made for submissions used,  but
 we will promote your France-related book or project.]

                                                                                                                                                             contributed by Arthur Gillette

Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play.  Can you come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question?  You'll be surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.

Answer from our Summer issue:   "Chanter en yaourt"  does not mean "to sing in the yogurt".  The slang meaning is that you are speaking in another language, but not very well.  It also refers to something that seems to be an imitation or someone fudging their way though a tune without really knowing the words.

Phrase:     "Profiter"  Does it mean simply to enjoy or is there another meaning?

Look for the correct translation in our March 2019 newsletter.  Have fun!

 We will continue to include Arthur Gillette's "Twisted Tongues" in our newsletter
until we exhaust the selection he kindly provided.  We hope you enjoy them as much as he
enjoyed the French language.  We are sure he would want us to continue the game . . .

                                                                                                               SPONSORING THIS ISSUE                                                                                                                      

Château de Bournand in the Loire Valley

Château de Bournand in the Loire Valley

  Château de Bournand, located near Saumur in the lovely Loire Valley, is a the perfect bed and breakfast
for your stay in France ~ and the self-catering Chestnuts Cottage is available o rent by the week.  Or, if you want
to spend more time
in the Valley of the Kings to explore the region in depth, you can rent the entire
château for a month.  There is so much to do and see in this part of France that one or two nights is really never
a long enough stay.  Visit this fine property on our site, and contact us soon for your reservation or with questions
before 2019 is completely booked!  Your warm and helpful hostess is looking forward to welcoming you.

Click here or  on the photo for more information and reservations.

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