Museum of the History of the Town and the Pays Malouin

Peinture de Garneray, Abordage du kent (vers 1850). Source :

The museum of the history of the town of Saint Malo, located inside the chateau, traces five hundred years of French maritime history.

The current Museum of the History of the Town of Saint Malo was created after the Second World War as part of the reconstruction of the historic site of Saint Malo, 80% of which was destroyed in 1944, inside the chateau's Grand-Donjon (Great Dungeon), an imposing horse-shoe shaped tower which was started in 1424 under the orders of Duke Jean V de Bretagne.


This museum's initial purpose was to commemorate the rich maritime past of the famous Breton corsair port, whilst not forgetting to mention the great intellectual figures born there, such as Chateaubriand, Lamennais and Maupertuis. 


In addition, sections specialising in ethnographic matters such as cod-fishing in Newfoundland and the memories of Captains of the Cape Horn long distance race have also been set up, the former being displayed in the tour Générale (General Tower), next to the Grand-Donjon and the latter in the Solidor Tower at Saint-Servan under the name of the International Museum of the Cape Horn long distance race.

The collections relating to cod fishing in Newfoundland are displayed on the ground floor of the tour Générale around a full-size dory with all its equipment. On the next floor, as well as some interesting models of "terre-neuvier" boats, there is a portrayal of life in the Saint-Malo area at the time of the terre-neuvas with a few pieces of furniture (a buffet, chest of drawers and a closet bed) and traditional hairstyles. On the second floor, which is curiously vaulted into a dome, there are, alongside a few older works, some paintings from the first third of the 20th century by Nozal, Signac's "Le Pardon des Terre-Neuvas", Guillaumin's "Saint-Servan" and "la tour Solidor", and works by Friesz and Frank-Will etc. Visitors must not miss the summons of Commandant Charcot (1867-1936), depicted in a portrait by R.-Y. Creston, a large canvas by E. Blandin and the gangway that helped to save the master helmsman of the famous exploration ship, the "Pourquoi-Pas?", when it was shipwrecked.


Amongst the most remarkable exhibits, we must draw attention to an impressive figurehead from the first third of the 19th century representing an unidentified 17th-18th century sailor and a tapestry on a water theme by Gromaire on the first floor. From the former chapel, recognisable from the outside by its small bell tower, the only thing to survive is the painting that adorned its alter-piece before the Revolution: The Lamentation of Christ by Jean-Baptiste Santerre (1651-1717), considered by specialists to be a major example of the artist's religious painting. Articles linked to the religious history of Saint-Malo have also been brought together in this former chapel, including the torchlight procession of the Saint-Malo gunners, said to be by Sainte-Barbe, a portrait of Monsignor Duchesne (1843-1922) by L. Lambert, a bell from 1645, and a sculpted 17th century wooden chandelier. Of note in the display cases are a sketch by the local painter Doutreleau for the large painting - destroyed in 1944 - of the funeral of Chateaubriand in 1848 on the islet of le Grand-Bé, as well as a votive offering from a corsair gunner.


The portrait of Chateaubriand by Girodet, saved in 1944, is displayed on the second floor with another portrait of the young Chateaubriand, wearing a wig, which was painted in the last quarter of the 18th century. But most of this room is devoted to coverage of the commercial war and its most famous local representative, Robert Surcouf (1773-1827) including the painting of the Capturing of the Kent by the Confiance by Garneray (1850). Also of note, a statuette of the P. Santemier, whose juicy story goes that " Surcouf in his role of a chaplain, had his own way of administering the Last Rites"... and a marble bust of Lemennais by Cougny. On the third floor the star of the show is the portrait of Duguay-Trouin (1673-1736) and a large canvas depicting the taking of Rio de Janeiro in 1711 under the orders of this great seafarer, a work by Gudin (1802-1880). We must also point out a globe by Desnos (1768) and two old scale models, one of which is a third rate ship by a Naval petty officer, a very fine polychrome megaphone, an armillary sphere by Delamarche and a portrait of Maupertuis (1698-1759) etc. This section is due to be expanded thanks to the addition of the finds from the underwater excavations. The fourth floor of the donjon, dedicated to Saint-Malo at the time of Duchess Anne and to Jacques Cartier and his voyages of discovery to North America, is currently being refurbished.


Museum of the History of the Town and the Pays Malouin

Château - 35400 Saint-Malo

Tel. +33 (0) 2 99 40 71 57




Open :


(from the 1st April to 30th September) Every day except the 1st May 10 am - 12.30 pm / 2 pm - 6 pm Low season. Every day except Monday and Bank Holidays 10 am - 12 pm / 2 pm - 6 pm



Rates Single ticket


Adults: 5.40 € Groups of more than 10 adults: 4.50 € Groups holding a "passeport vacances": 4.50 € Groups of more than 100 people (from 15/09 to 30/04): 2.70 € Schoolchildren and students: 2.70 € School groups from the Saint-Malo district: Free Military personnel: Free Group leaders, those registered with the ANPE, or receiving the RMI: Free



Combined ticket


(3 museums - Museums of the Chateau, the Solidor and the 39/45 Memorial) Adults: 12.70 € Groups of more than 10 adults: 9.50 € Groups holding a "passeport vacances": 9,50 € Groups of more than 100 people (from 15/09 to 30/04): 6,30 € Schoolchildren and students: 6,30 € School groups from the Saint-Malo district: Free Military personnel: Free Group leaders, those registered with the ANPE, or receiving the RMI: Free

  • Vue extérieure du musée. Source :

  • Plan du château. Source :

  • Entrée du musée. Source :

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    Practical information


    Château 35400
    02 99 40 71 57


    Plein tarif : 5,40 € Groupes de plus de 10 adultes et groupes titulaires 'passeport vacances' : 4,50 € Groupes de plus de 100 personnes (du 15/09 au 30/04), Scolaires, étudiants : 2,70 € Groupes scolaires de l'arrondissement de Saint-Malo, militaires, accompagnateurs de groupe, personnes inscrites à Pôle Emploie, bénéficiaires du RMI : Gratuit

    Weekly opening hours

    Du 1er avril au 30 septembre: 10h-12h30/14h-18h Hors saison: 10h-12h/14h-18h

    Fermetures annuelles

    Fermé le 1er mai, les lundi et jours fériés entre le 1er Octobre et le 31 mars