Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) was the first French Explorer to explore the New World. He explored what is now Canada and set the stage for the great explorer and navigator Samuel de Champlain to begin colonization of Canada. Cartier was the first European to discover and create a map for the St. Lawrence River. In 1838, the painter François Riss received an order by the city of St Malo to produce a portrait of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557). It was reproduced in 1846 by the painter Louis-Félix Amiel in Quebec City. The original painting of the imagined Cartier by Riss was destroyed in a fire at the old town hall in 1944. This version is one of many replicas of the lost work. It was executed in 1895 by the librarian of the city of Saint-Malo, Auguste Lemoine (1850-1908) for the the city of Paramé and now hangs in the St Malo civic history museum. There are no known contemporary portraits of Cartier.
Once the feared base of pirates (corsairs), heavily fortified against Norman (or English) attack, today's Saint-Malo is one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. The citadel, also known as the Old Town or intramuros (“within the walls”), was originally built on a rocky island at the mouth of the Rance estuary. This strategic position allowed control of both the sea and any trade heading into the interior of Brittany, helping to shape the stormy and often dark history of the city.
The star of the show is the walled city (intramuros), largely destroyed in the second world war it has been painstakingly reconstructed. The modern towns of Parame and Saint-Servan lie outside the walls. During the day everyone hits the beaches and at night they come to the intramuros to eat and party until late in the night. They have free concerts every night just to the right of the picture, artists doing sketches and lots of little stores, restaurants and bars.