A walled port city with splendid views of Brittany's northern coast. Its buildings have been largely reconstructed after heavy World War II damage. A walk around the top of the ramparts takes about an hour, including frequent breaks to take in the panoramic views of the Rance River estuary and the English Channel. Boats leave from here to Jersey and Guernsey, Britain's Channel Islands. Below the walls is a sandy beach, and at low tide it is possible to walk to Grand Be island, where Chateaubriand is entombed. Saint-Malo and nearby coastal villages such as Cancale have some of Brittany's best shellfish restaurants.
CARNAC--Most of Brittany's thousands of prehistoric megaliths--the giant stone monuments described by Matthew Arnold as "bearded with lichen, scarr'd and grey"--are in the vicinity of Carnac. These include the famous Carnac Alignments, nearly 3,000 towering menhirs arranged in rows and patterns by an unknown race thousands of years B.C. The megaliths include menhirs--upright, irregular slabs of stone--and dolmens, stone-covered funeral chambers. Entrance to the sites is free.
PARDONS--Pardons are the Breton religious festivals commemorating the church's ancient tradition of granting plenary indulgences to repentant churchgoers on major holy days. Dozens of towns hold the annual festivals, which can range from pure religious ceremony to pagentry and spectacle with, in some cases, a heavy dose of commercialism. Lists of the dates and locations are available from the French Government Tourist Office, 610 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10020, or from local tourist offices (called Syndicat d'Initiative) in Brittany.