18. Dinan

 Dinan is located at marker 18 on the map of Brittany below.

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inan (pop. 11,200) is a charming, walled town with a well-preserved Medieval flavour. Sitting high up on the hills of the River Rance, the town presents visitors with sweeping views of the surrounding green landscape that embraces its timbre-framed buildings and stones residences.

The old walled town sits in the centre, with rue du Jerzual leading into the port at the northeast, while the bus and train stations are located in the northwest, at place 11-Novembre.




BRITTANY ILLE-ET-VILAINE DinanThe walled town of Dinan is a medieval ‘headquarters’. The heart of the town is denoted by the timbre-framed houses that line the streets of place des Cordelies and place des Merciers. This largely pedestrianised area, houses a number of monuments situated within close proximity of each other. South of this area lies a 15th century clock tower, named Tour de I’Horloge. This ancient structure chimes every quarter hour and has opened its balcony doors to visitors who wish to see the old gears in motion.

If you head east of the tower you will find the Basilique St Sauveur
  [19 Place Saint-Sauveur, +33 296853020 ] – an old church that has been built across the centuries, sporting various architectural styles, from its nine Gothic chapels to its Romanesque porch. The church’s centograph is said to house the heart of Bertrand du Guesclin, a Breton warrior who later became a Constable of France, reputed for fighting to expel the English (whom he harboured deep hatred for) from these lands.

Ironically enough, the pretty plot of land that lies beside this church, is named – Jardins Anglais (English Gardens). This small park was once a cemetery and it lies on the way to the 13th century Tour Ste Catherine, which offers great views of the port that lies at its north-eastern side. A pleasant stretch of antique shops on cobbled streets leads you in from the tower, into Vieux Pont -an old bridge that makes its way to the Dinan port.

Lying southwest of the town, is the ruins of the Château de Dinan [Rue du Château, +33 296394520 ]. This handsome 14th century castle, like the St-Sauveur Church, houses an eclectic mix of architectural styles as well. The castle is now the holding place of the Dinan History Museum [ad/ch €5.35/1.70] which showcases exhibits regarding the town’s history, dating back to the prehistoric period. 

While medieval sight-seeing is a ‘must-do’ in Dinan, many also opt for boat trip along the River Rance, which is held annually from May-September. This idle journey allows tourists to soak up the peaceful sight of the rolling hills which are crowned with stone buildings.

Every even numbered year, in July, Dinan is flooded with tourists from all over the world waiting to partake in the merriment that is the Fête de Ramparts [www.fete-remparts-dinan.com/] brings. This 2-day festival celebrates the medieval times in Dinan’s history, with grand costume parades.


DINAN MAP1.  Place des Merciers  2. place des Cordliers

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