Dinan was the surprise of my last trip to Brittany, I didn’t expect to see such a beauty (after being in Mont Saint Michel). With its almost three kilometers of ramparts, Dinan and its 14th century castle stand proudly on the Rance River.
From the marina, located in the lower part of the city, beautiful walks lead to the estuary. On the other hand, in the upper part, the cantilevered medieval houses complete the visit to this town with a marked medieval character.
The steep street of Jerzual plunges us into the Middle Ages. The medieval wooden houses finished in the shape of a pointed triangle are a witness to the wealth of this city. Between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries the street was full of weavers, tanners … Today it is an essential visit that allows you to travel back in time to the workshops-shops of artisans glassmakers and woodworkers.
If you continue your visit on the Place des Cordeliers and Place des Merceres, you will see how the styles of the wooden houses typical of Dinan from the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries blend together. And just a stone’s throw away stands the 12th century basilica of Saint-Sauveur, with Byzantine, Persian and Roman influences, whose particularity is its asymmetry and the fact that it was never completed.
During the Hundred Years’ War, Du Guesclin dedicated his life to liberating first Normandy and then Brittany. His heart rests in the basilica of Saint-Sauveur. But if there was a character who made this city famous was Queen Anne of Brittany, who in the fifteenth century decided to retire to it after the death of her husband, King Charles VIII.
From the port of Dinan, the banks of the river Rance are an extraordinary place for a stroll that will lead you to the estuary in the direction of Taden. This village preserves beautiful residences and a manor house from the 16th century. The walk follows the old towpath.
WHAT TO DO
- The 13th century ramparts with its fourteen towers and four monumental gates.
- The half-timbered houses of the XVth and XVIIth century
- The 14th century Dinan Castle
- The Clock Tower (15th century bell tower)
- The Saint-Sauveur basilica from the 12th, 15th and 18th centuries, with different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Classical and Baroque.
- The Saint-Malo church, 15th and 19th centuries.
- The convent des Cordeliers from the 13th century.
- The famous Jerzual street that connects the port with the town
HOW TO GET THERE
From Rennes, Dinan is 1h by car same from Mont Saint Michel, there are a lot of parking lots around the city and Sundays are free of charge. When visiting areas like this in France I’d recommend hiring a car as it’s so much quicker and easier than any other option.
I’d take the train from France to Rennes and then pick up a hire car from Rennes train station. The Eurostar takes 2 hours 46 and then the TGV takes 2 hours 20 so it’s an easy journey. For my trip, I book a room at the Hotel Vert. The hotel is located 2.4 km from the center of Le Mont Saint Michel.