Surrounded by almost 3km of ramparts, the charming medieval town of Dinan and its 14th century castle proudly dominate the River Rance. The town has no less than 71 listed buildings ! Among them figure the 47m high Tour de l’Horloge which overlooks the whole town, the Basilica of St Sauveur, Couvent des Cordeliers and not least, the 600 year old castle also known as the Tour Palais des Ducs de Bretagne. In addition, the marina at Dinan has 12 restaurants ! The famous Rue du Jerzual hill leads down to the lower town and delightful, bustling harbour and marina where you can board a boat for a lovely river cruise along the winding Rance estuary, the ancient transport route from Normandy to Brest. Another great way to discover the town is at the huge Thursday morning market which is held on the Place Duguesclin and the Place du Champs Clos or at the daily indoor market in the town centre. The town has something for everyone, so come with your partner, family or friends. You can even immerse yourself totally in the Middle Ages for a weekend as every 2 years in the middle of July, the town returns to its medieval roots with shows, displays, taverns, tournaments, stalls and entertainment. And admission is free if you come in period costume !
Dinan, a life-size history book
Go right back to medieval times as you walk along the steep Rue du Jerzual whose half-timbered houses with pointed gables would have been teeming with weavers, tanners, etc. from 14th to 18th century. Today the street has craft workshops where you can watch glass-blowers and gilders at work. Carry on to the Place des Cordeliers and Place des Merciers which have half-timbered houses typical of Dinan in a mix of styles from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Not far from there, the 12th century Basilica of Saint-Sauveur combines Byzantine, Persian and Romanesque influences and is characterised by the fact that it is asymmetrical and unfinished. The heart of illustrious local knight Bertrand Du Guesclin, who freed Normandy and then Brittany during the hundred Years’ War, is buried in the basilica. But another person made the town really famous – Anne de Bretagne withdrew there in the 15th century after the death of her husband, King Charles VIII. Dinan – seat of stars!