France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Dinan, Bretagne, France
This charming medieval town on the River Rance in Brittany is well worth a visit.


 

   

 

A delightful medieval Breton walled town on a hill overlooking the River Rance, Dinan is surrounded by a modern town of about 10,000 people.

The medieval city (Vieux Dinan) is excellently preserved, with its narrow winding streets and half-timbered houses and shops. Special attention is given to supporting artisans crafting and selling traditional arts, food and drink products.

The center is largely a pedestrian zone, and when you see the streets you'll understand why. Large parking lots ring the city, both inside and outside of the walls.

The best known street is Rue du Jerzual, a winding, narrow street that goes from the center of town down to the port of the River Rance. Wandering along this street gives you plenty of views of the architecture and shows the medieval character of the town.

Sections of the walls remain, and the towers afford lovely views of the town and the river valley. Ste Catherine's Tower provides a particularly beautiful view of the valley. Different promenades allow you to explore sections of the walls, while the Fossé Walks are outside the walls; walking there gives you a sense of the structure.

In the old town there are several notable churches, including the Basilique St-Sauveur, a Romanesque and Gothic structure with beautiful gardens around it. This church contains the heart of Bertrand Du Guesclin, a 14th century knight (the rest of him is buried at St-Denis, near Paris).

The Tour de l'Horloge (Clock Tower) in the center of town, provides beautiful panoramic views of Dinan and the Rance valley, but you have to be willing to climb the 157 steps. There's also a sign that warns that the bells will ring on the hour and the quarter hour, so be prepared!

Take a cruise on the Rance, either by hiring a motorboat and piloting it yourself, or going by river launch to St-Malo, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the north.

Dinan is only 53 kilometers (33 miles) north of Rennes, the regional capital of Brittany, and about 58 kilometers (36 miles) southeast of Mont St-Michel, in nearby Normandy.

After a day or two in Dinan, you'll feel that you've traveled back in time. It's a great place to stroll, immerse yourself in history, eat (crêpes and cider abound), and enjoy lovely views.


Dinan Tourist Information

Saint-Malo

Mont St-Michel

Brittany

Normandy

France

 

 

 

View of River Rance, Dinan, France

Above, View of the port and the Rance River from the ramparts, Dinan, France.

Below, Basilique St-Sauveur, Dinan.

St-Sauveur, Dinan, France

Statue of Bertrand Du Guesclin, Dinan, France

Above, Statue of Bertrand Du Guesclin, Dinan, France.

 
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