by Eric DuhanOnce you touch ground in Saint-Malo you are entering a place steeped in history from the very first time when man set foot in Western Europe. In the earlier centuries the visitors first view of the city was from out to sea as the city was surrounded by salt marches. It must have seemed a magical place floating between the sea and the sky, full of mystery for the first-time visitor. It is not a ‘normal’ seaside resort even though these days you can find chips, candy floss, and tacky souvenirs a plenty. What you see now in front of you is a walled medieval city, surrounded by towers and bastions. Its people held off attacks from the Vikings, the French, as well as the Dutch and Spanish and of course the ‘auld enemy’, the English, over the centuries. In 1378 an English fleet with 4000 Soldiers and 8000 archers besieged the city. They had to wait for low tide each day to attack. The attempt like the four later ones failed. On the other hand it is a city which always welcomed trade and immigration from many countries including Ireland and Scotland. The peoples of those two kingdoms were undoubtedly having disagreements with their mutual neighbour, the English. These days even if you're English you are welcome here in the spirit of that openness which has existed for centuries and I hope that you profit from what we have to offer you in the way of comfort, arts and crafts as well as our local cuisine. Saint-Malo has been a centre of tourist interest since the phenomenon became popular in the middle of the 19th Century. Much ink has been spilled and much oil-paints and watercolours deposited on paper and canvas over that time to fill a book shop and gallery entirely. The curiously unique city/island/state has changed inevitably over the centuries having been destroyed by fire and sword on many occasions. Phoenix like it has emerged from its ashes, its veritable soul surviving all that has been sent its way to destroy it. I hope you can feel the special-ness that I sense when I ramble around its ramparts and stroll around its streets in all seasons.