A weekend adventure to St Malo in France to get in the festive mood before Christmas 🇫🇷🛳️🎄

Smooth sailing from Portsmouth

Sailing with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to St Malo, we boarded with ease at Portsmouth international port on to cruise ship ‘Bretagne’. Passports checked, UK sticker on the back of the car, safety triangle and high vis, ready to go! 

We were on the 20:15 sailing and boarding normally starts around two hours before, with the last boarding 45 minutes before. After parking up on the lower deck, we were greeted by friendly staff and plenty of festive decorations including a nice big tree in the front lobby. 

The kids were excited to see our cabin, which had 4 single beds in, bunk bed style, with an en-suite, a kettle for drinks, and a tv. After settling in with the bags we explored the ship a bit more, with lots of different seating areas. We headed outside as we passed the illuminated Spinnaker Tower and views of old Portsmouth ⚓️

The crossing time is around nine hours and they sail most days with daytime and some overnight sailings. Next up we headed for some dinner, they have a few options, from self-serve to fine dining and we had the dining option where you choose a main served to your table and then a starter and dessert buffet…which included an epic cheeseboard, of course, 🧀 Bellies full we then caught a movie in one of their cinemas which we really enjoyed with the new trolls movie. Bedtime ready for the morning arrival.

From St Malo to Rennes

After an overnight sailing from Portsmouth to St Malo we arrived around 7 am this morning and had an action-packed day! Here’s what we got up to…

A brekkie onboard the ‘Bretagne’ before we headed out, the restaurant had a good selection of cooked and continental and we had a mix of full English for girls and crepes for dad. We struck it lucky with the weather as the golden light over the walled city of St Malo greeted us.

Once off, we headed south to Rennes, which is under an hour and was the perfect introduction to the day, easy driving with a sunrise cruise along a quiet highway all the way there! After a bit of research on car parks and asking a friendly local, we even managed to bag a free parking spot at 10 Canal Saint-Martin. Just a short walk into the centre. There are other car parks nearby too though don’t worry! 

We headed into the city and came across a collection of crepe vendors, five to be exact, one seemed more popular than others with locals so we joined the queue to see what the buzz was about. We had planned to try the local delicacy of a garlic sausage wrapped in a buckwheat savoury crepe and that’s exactly what we did for 2.5 euros, alongside the bargain price of 1.40 for a Nutella and also jam crepe. Must say always prefer the sweet but good to try new things 😂

Xmas market next, this was a bit smaller than we had imagined, but they do add additions around the city come December, we did thoroughly enjoy the big wheel to get great panoramic views across the cityscape to plan our next move though! 

Strolling the city, it’s one of these cities where you don’t need a plan to have a good time and we did just that, enjoyed walking the historic streets with their interesting exteriors, and alleyways amongst more high-end shopping. We popped into a marvelous cathedral and finished our time in the city with what was possibly our biggest highlight their lovely parc. This huge public park had bridges, streams, landscaped gardens, an aviary, and plenty of history to read up on and we didn’t even see half of it! Very relaxing area away from the business of the city streets.

A popular activity for many Brits is visiting a huge Hypermarket before heading back to the UK for various items that are cheaper, mainly beer and wine these days, most other items are similar if not more expensive.

We went to Carrefour St Malo, Av. de la Flaudaie, 35400 Saint-Malo which is also in a shopping mall full of other shops. 

Heading back

Car packed with goodies, we ended our day near the boarding point for the ferry, in old town St Malo, parking was a little trickier here with an in-out system at many of the car parks surrounding the walled city but once parked it was good timing as the Bretagne came into view with the same golden light that greeted us in the morning. Glorious sunset to end the day before exploring the atmospheric old town and its busy Main Street contrasted with its silent side streets and beaches. 

Now time for our final cruise back to Portsmouth!

Of course, Portsmouth has loads more to offer, check it out for yourself.  

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