The great and the good
Made popular by British and American visitors in the 19th century, Dinard was France’s top summer resort until the French Riviera took over in the 1930s. The former fishing village attracted wealthy celebrities and businessmen as well as European royalty, some of whom built fabulous villas; there are now more than 400 listed buildings in the town. The tourist office runs guided tours on several themes including ‘the English touch’ and there’s a British film festival in October.
Dinard has several beaches, which range from small coves to long expanses of sand. The jewel in the crown of this Emerald Coast resort is Plage de l’Écluse, which is instantly recognisable in season by its rows of stripy tents; from June to September the beach organises gym classes and kids’ clubs and many other activities. The Plage de Saint-Enogat is the place to go for water sports.
Dinard continues to be an upmarket resort and many well-heeled tourists choose to spend their evenings at the swish casino after spending the day in the thalassotherapy spa. However, the Promenade Clair de Lune, a lovely waterside walk illuminated in July and August, whose palms and lush tropical plants recall the Mediterranean, shows that the best things in life are often free.
The GR34 old customs officer’s path passes through Dinard and a trip on foot to Saint-Lunaire, a favourite resort of rich Parisians and French film stars, makes an interesting day out. The village has some nice sandy beaches, an 11th-century Romanesque church and the area of Le Décollé offers sweeping views over the coast as far as Cap Fréhel. Keen golfers should head further west again to Saint-Briac-sur-Mer for its waterside 18-hole course, which is said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful.