As the title suggests, this week for Thursday Doors I’m back revisiting the old port city of Saint-Malo.
Off the beach of the old city is an archipelago of small rocky outcroppings. One of these islands – the Grand Bé – is home to Fort National built in 1689.
Originally called Fort Royal, it was built to protect the city of Saint-Malo, but has now been long abandoned … except by tourists. It was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during WWII but was subsequently restored according to its original plans.
It sits only a few hundred meters from the city wall and at low tide, one can easily walk to the Fort on the hard-packed sand.
The former barracks, now renovated, are still used occasionally by the Fort staff when the tide comes in and they are unable to leave.
Although there was no access to the barracks, the dungeon was open.
Inside the outer walls, the Fort is built into the rock of the Grand Bé and the only entrance is surrounded by a moat. While the door may not look impressive on the outside, the inside of the door hides its true strength.
Its heavy metal hardware, combined with multiple locking systems, tell only part of the story. On either side of the door are deep grooves within the wall. These grooves support a heavy metal grate that could be dropped down from above the doorway to secure the entrance in the event of an attack.
My biggest anticipation was to witness the high tide and I was über diligent to ensure we would be safely across in time.
… but I was underwhelmed.
Based on the book, All The Light You Cannot See, I expected a huge tide that would rise up the walls of the city. The thick poles lining the wall reenforced my expectation.
These poles are used to deflect the force of heavy waves from damaging the walls.
However I didn’t get to see any of that because the high tide came nowhere close to the city walls. Since I’ve never lived anywhere near the sea, I can now only assume that the height of tides widely vary and I was unfortunate to be there at a “low-high” tide.
Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton from Norm 2.0.