A town built by water: from a bend in the river Oust to the Nantes-Brest Canal
Set in a loop of the River Oust, Malestroit was founded in the 11th century, overlooked by a feudal motte and later a fortress, built on an island between the two arms of the river, controlling the passage along the waterway. In the 16th century, the construction of two chamber locks, among the first in France, linked Malestroit to Redon; trade flourished and this led to the town’s expansion. Four suburbs grew up around the historic centre and its ruined ramparts. Narrow streets open out towards the Nantes-Brest Canal, the lock and the tow path.
Comical carved decorations
In the 15th century, the town became one of Brittany’s nine baronies and was closed off with fortifications, some of which remain. In the Place du Bouffay, as you sit comfortably on a café terrace, you only have to look up to see relics of a history marked by the Crusades and a flourishing trade. Alongside majestic, carved granite mansions, amazing half-timbered houses are decorated with odd figures from Medieval folklore: ‘The Spinning Sow’, the Hare playing the bagpipes, the pelican. On the other side of the square, the remarkable Church of Saint-Gilles (11th-16th century) is well worth a visit. Some exceptional paintings were recently discovered in its vaults.