Dinan in Brittany is the kind of town that makes those who visit fall in love.
It’s not a big town but it has a big presence – medieval good looks, beautifully preserved houses, castle ramparts and a historic port. It’s quaint, friendly and it has a great vibe. You’ll find it in the department known as Côtes-d’Armor, formerly named Côtes-du-Nord.
Dinan Old Town
Pretty and precious, here you’ll find wiggly narrow cobble stone streets that make you feel you’ve been transported back in time. Surrounded by ramparts dating back to the 13th and 15th centuries, guarded by a castle set 75 metres above the river Rance and its lovely port.
Head to the Place des Merciers to admire the gorgeous ancient buildings and to rue de la Cordonnerie which the locals call “Thirsty Street” on account of the high number of bars! This is the perfect place to hang out with a glass of local cider (served in traditional bowls).
There’s a boat service here which goes to and from Dinard and St Malo, and that’s a great way to arrive in Dinan’s little port. The quayside is lined with shops and restaurants and it’s a thriving, vibrant place with enough photo opps to keep your cameras busy full time.
The views are wonderful but, tear yourself away and make the chest thumping climb up rue du Petit-Fort. You’ll thank me when you fall in love with this the chocolate box pretty street.
Artists galleries and craft shops galore make for some fabulous and quirky souvenir shopping. After this take a wander round the 3km long ramparts. Once you’ve built up an appetite there are loads of choices of great restaurants and of course mussels or the famous local Breton crepes (pancakes) are on the menu at most.
Afterwards, climb the 15th century Tour de l’Horloge with its clock given to the town by Anne Queen of France, Duchess of Brittany (1477-1514). It’s not for the faint hearted with 158 steps but the views from the top are fabulous. Some claim they can spot mesmerising Mont st Michel on a clear day! If you’re lucky enough to be in town on a Thursday morning, don’t miss the vibrant street market (Place du Guesclin).
More on Brittany
If you fancy a fabulous French crepe – here’s how to make one!
What do see and do in Vannes, Morbihan
The beautiful little town of Auray, where Benjamin Franklin landed in 1776 for secret meetings with the King of France
Discover Josselin, a hidden gem of Brittany