A short guide to beautiful Dinan town in Nortwestern France

For the past year, we’ve been working on our travel blog rewriting stories, deciding what’s going to stay and what’s got to go. After a  long period of silence, where we stayed up into the night and worked our butts off working on brand new design and reasoned over the font-size, we are back in the saddle.

So many emotions run through me when I flip through the photos and look back on all the trips we have been on.

Time and time again, we are reminded that Earth is a beautiful place worth seeing. And every once in a while when life gets super hectic and overwhelming, I step back and remember the best moments.

There was a time when we travelled together as a couple and later as a family. We had a few disasters, but we always found solutions together. We counted aeroplanes that crossed the sky and learned that good will always prevail. I am beyond grateful for every opportunity we had to hop on a plane, train, and the boat.

Abandoning rainy Ireland and taking the family on a week-long adventure around verdant regions and beautiful estuaries in France was definitely a trip to remember.

While being in nature provides the uttermost experience we seek when exploring different corners of the world, we also like to include traditional villages and vibrant cities.

This way we get to visit museums, climb church towers and enjoy people watching, in a process deepening our connection and giving ourselves a great reason to emerge from our hideout.

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Every year on July the Fête des Remparts medieval festival takes place in Dinan with markets, jousting tournaments and a grand parade on display.

 

Before departing for France, we did our homework thoroughly and left no stone unturned looking for the most beautiful villages in Brittany.  At first, I wasn’t sure how are we gonna narrow down the list but as soon as we saw pictures of Dinan, I knew we had to go.

Dinan town was the first place to steal a piece of my heart on our road trip through Bretagne.

Upon our arrival, we parked outside a two-story half-timbered house, freshly painted in calming green tones. We love these old surviving relics and a walking trough delightfully preserved town of Dinan, in northwestern France, we felt like stepping back in time.  Every facade was beautifully cared for, with fragrant flower baskets and carefully carved signs decorating every single house.

We arrived early in the morning, the streets were almost empty, except for an elderly couple walking hand in hand, so we had the place all to ourselves. The weather wasn’t ideal for walking around, it had been drizzling since early morning, making the steep cobbled street well polished and slippery. Usually, rainy days are our reset button, but this time, we made an exception.

So, we took our time and slowly snailed trough Rue du Jeruzal, which is the main high street lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, down to the peaceful River Rance, where the historic Port of Dinan can be found.

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Dinan town is home to many artists, glass blowers, engravers, and sculptors.

 

A short guide to beautiful Dinan town in Northwestern France

Sometimes it can be overwhelming and even hard to choose your next holiday destination, especially if your budget and time are tight. Instead of endlessly browsing online for that perfect place, and flipping the coin to help you decide between hiking in the Julian Alps or surfing in Madeira, a process that would tear my heart into pieces,  we invite you to visit France and its beautiful Dinan town.

Dinan is designated as Town and Land of Art and History, and its Centre Historique is richly filled with a maze of cobbled streets and buildings dating back to the 13th century that looks like straight out of storytelling books.

Because Dinan escaped the bombs of World War II, lots of the original buildings remain untouched. It’s a perfect town for a cultural break, and day-trippers will enjoy its food scene, museums, craft shops, living history, music stores and many art galleries.

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Brittany wasn’t even part of France until  500 years ago, and the Breton language is still widely used today.
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Dinan port is a beautiful and attractive part of the town, and this is where you’ll find fantastic waterside restaurants and lovely chandelier shops.

 

What not to miss in Dinan

Dinan is quite popular with those who want to travel back in time and get lost exploring one of the most beautiful medieval towns of France. There are many fantastic attractions in Dinan worth visiting.

The tourist office in this town provides lots of information about what to see and where to stay, make sure to stop by before you start exploring beautiful Dinan.

What we actually learned while visiting Dinan is that many beautiful places around us go unnoticed. That’s why we invite you to go for a stroll through small alleyways, visit a new cafe, read a book, go for a bike ride and bring some bliss into your life.

  • Les Remparts de Dinan – enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding countryside by going for a walk around Remparts, build in the 13th century where 10 out of the 14 guard towers are still standing strong.
  • St Malo church and Basilique St-Sauveur with many stained glass windows are well worth a stop too.
  • Dinan Castle – also known as Château de Dinan was built by John IV of Montfort with the usual medieval layout. It’s worth to pay EUR 4 to see the views from the top of the chateau.
  • Place des Merciers – this beautiful square is surrounded by one of a kind triangular-gable houses. In this place, you’ll find many artisans’ workshops worth visiting. I personally think that most of the time it’s not the impressive monuments that make the area feel special but rather little corner cafes decorated with colourful flowers, cute squares and friendly locals.
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The steep Rue du Petit-Fort can often be seen on postcards.

 

How to get to Dinan town

Dinan is located in the eastern part of Brittany. If you are staying in  Saint-Malo or Dinard which are only a short drive away, leave the dramatic coastline behind and head inland to visit walled Breton town of Dinan.

As we stayed in Rennes for a few nights, travelling to Dinan, located 50 kilometres away was a no-brainer. If you choose to travel by train from the capital city, keep in mind that there is no direct service and because of that the average journey time is 1 hour and 40 minutes. There are around 10 trains per day, with the first one departing at 05:45.

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Dinan is located in the Cotes-d’Armor and because of its close proximity to Rennes, only 50 kilometres, meant we had time for a little side trip.

 

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Now, over to you!

Have you been to Dinan? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Dinan and have travel-related questions!

 

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

14 thoughts on “A short guide to beautiful Dinan town in Nortwestern France

  1. Thank you for the stroll. I always get Dinan and Dinard confused, (which is embarassing being Breton…) My great-grandmother used to live in Dinard. Been there. But not to Dinan. Brittany is so beautiful (A tad biased here) every village is a piece of art and history.
    Cheers

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, we absolutely loved Brittany and were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of sights to see, would love to go back one day and see all the beautiful lighthouses scattered along the coast as well as northern part of it😀😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brittany has been high on my wish list of international travels for the past few years. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and recommendations of Dinan. What a charming historic waterside city. It will definitely be a stop when we make it to Brittany one day!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brittany was full of wonderful surprises and we loved absolutely everything about this reagion- the big sky, charming towns, colorful sunsets and most of all- lots of open spaces that allowed us to breathe, have a lovely evening and I hope you make it to Brittany one day 😀

      Like

    1. Thanks so much, what a lovely thing to say! Believe it or not but Ericeira was due to be born on St.Patrick’s Say, which is when I and my partner met but decided to arrive a few days earlier! Have a good day

      Liked by 1 person

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