Dinan

Brittany’s prettiest town?

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Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best preserved small towns in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile (3km)-long ramparts, half-timbered houses, attractive port and cobbled streets filled with art galleries and craft shops, it’s worth a day of anyone’s time.

Waterside restaurants

The most attractive part of Dinan is arguably its port, which is where you’ll arrive if you take a boat from Dinard or St Malo. The quay is lined with old stone houses, many of which are now waterside restaurants and chandlers’ shops. Take a walk along the old towpath or cross the 15th-century stone bridge to Lanvallay to find out about life on the river in the Maison de la Rance discovery centre. Wherever you are, you won’t miss the 131ft (40m)-high viaduct.

Arts and crafts

From the port, make your way up the steep Rue du Petit-Fort, which was Dinan’s main point of access until the 18th century. This cobbled hill with its half-timbered houses appears on many a postcard; have a browse in the arts and crafts shops. Dinan has been designated a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Town of Art and History) and the town is filled with artists, sculptors, engravers, bookbinders, glassblowers and more.

The old town

Dinan’s old town is a warren of narrow streets where it appears that time has stood still. The quaintest part is Place des Merciers where you’ll find the best examples of the town’s half-timbered houses; just opposite is the pedestrianised Rue de la Cordonnerie, also known as ‘thirsty street’ as it has nine bars.

Great views

To get your bearings, climb the 158 steps to the top of the 40m (132ft)-high Tour de l’Horloge for wonderful views over Dinan and the surrounding area – you can see as far as Mont St Michel on a clear day. Nearby Place du Guesclin is the site of the Thursday-morning market.

Living history

The 13th-century castle now houses the town’s museum and this is the best place to start a tour of the magnificent ramparts, 8804ft (2684m) long, which are the oldest and most impressive in Brittany. Dinan holds the Fête des Remparts medieval festival each July.

Did you know?

Celebrated French actor John Rochefort was born in Dinan in 1930.

Guided audio tour

Useful links

Dinan tourist office

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