Once in a while we encounter a new place that we immediately fall in love with, that we know is going to be a favorite. Dinan is one of those places. We were here three nights, could have stayed longer and know that we’ll be back.

Our Arrival

After a three hour drive from Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, we arrived in Dinan. Now, Dinan is an old city and our hotel was right in the middle of the City Historique, which means right in the middle of the old streets built for horses when horses were small, and it also means where the tourists are. But I had the hotel’s address in our trusty GPS and having become reasonably blasé about driving into places like this, charged into the city. We arrived at where the GPS located the hotel to find a.) we were, indeed, in the middle of a warren of small, mostly pedestrian, streets; and b.) there was no hotel in sight. Away we drove. We located a parking place, did some research, let the GPS find a new route and tried it again. The GPS promptly took us to a street with a big “Do Not Enter” sign on it and some words below, but as there were cars behind us, I didn’t take the time to figure out the words, so I turned away. We wandered around a bit and finally approached the hotel from the same street as we originally were on, but this time saw that the last short street was, indeed, the hotel’s street. This time we looked around more and, lo and behold, the hotel was right where we had stopped, both this time and on our first run through town. Now, I might mention that the hotel has a small sign above the second floor, which was not visible while we were in the car, so I have some excuse, but the GPS was right and I ignored it. Later, I realized that the “Do Not Enter” sign said, in small letters below it, “Except bikes, motorcycles and local service.” Well, as far as I was concerned, driving to the hotel was “local service” so I drove down that street every other time we returned to the hotel, often to the amazement and glaring looks of the pedestrians. Anyway, we arrived and checked in.

Now the fun started. Our room was large and comfortable, and its main attraction: this view out one of its three large windows:


View from our room, looking at the main pedestrian street of Dinan. We spent quite a bit of time sitting at the window, drinking wine or champagne and watching the activity. Another window looked out on another beautiful street.

The above picture was taken late in the day, when the tourist horde had subsided. Here’s a picture of the same street in mid-afternoon:


Even though Dinan had a lot of tourists, we enjoyed the activity. It wasn’t like Venice last year, where there were places a person could not even move because of the crowds, and here all the tourists are French – like La Rochelle: families of three generations walking together, couples, singles, folks just having fun.

Dinan was, like many larger medieval towns, a fortress town originally. Dinan has preserved almost all of its walls and they are amazing.

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And to say that Dinan is beautiful understates the charm. One morning I walked out early to take pictures in the morning light (the morning tourist-less light, I might add). Here is early-morning Dinan:

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The Port of Dinan, on the Rance river. We didn't discover this until about 30 minutes before we had to leave, so we never walked down to it. Next time...

The Port of Dinan, on the Rance river. We didn’t discover this until about 30 minutes before we had to leave, so we never walked down to it. Next time…

We love Dinan. The town and the area around it are beautiful. We took two day-trips, one to the Emerald Coast and one to St. Malo. More on them later. We are already looking forward to a return to Dinan.

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One Response to Dinan

  1. Mary Germain says:

    So glad you enjoyed Dinan. Now I would like to return there…and visit St Malo off season…ditto Mount St Michel…your photos are lovely!

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