Built on a granite rock in the Channel, Saint Malo was a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance River, during the Middle Ages controlling the estuary and the sea beyond. The peninsula curves around a natural harbor that comprises several smaller basins. Tall granite walls surround the old town, which was once a stronghold for privateers (pirates approved by the king). The Saint-Malo Cathedral, in the center of the old town, is built in Romanesque and Gothic styles and features stained-glass windows depicting city history. Nearby is La Demeure de Corsaire, an 18th-century privateer’s house and museum. Jacques Cartier, an explorer who discovered Canada, while trying to find a route to China was born and spend most of his life in this city.
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