Dinan is simply a step back in time. With 14th century half timbered homes and castle ramparts nothing comes close to the authenticity of the town. With numerous restaurants and bars Dinan is a great place to visit any time of the year. If possible you should try to stay up in the old medieval part of town. Although the port and the very popular Jerzual are great places to visit, the majority of restaurants and activities happen in the old town. Also, the steepness of the Jerzual leading down to the port make this a great place to spend a few hours shopping but you wouln't want to be walking up and down it everyday (unless you are very fit).
Fondest memory: Dinan is a place you can visit any time of year and my fondest memories is the abundance of restaurants and the quaint shops.
Bertrand du Guesclin was 5th of 10 children (born 1320) in a minor nobility family living near Dinan. He was essentially self-trained and emerged at 17 as a leading expert in jousting and then successful in battle becoming a knight in 1354. His tactical military prowess also quickly became evident and he garnered various noble titles (mostly in battles against the English in the 100 Years War). He became Constable of France and was particularly successful in employing guerilla tactics to wear the English down. He died in the field of dysentery in 1380, asking to be buired in Dinan. The embalming was inadequate and enroute his flesh was boiled and removed and buried at Monferrand (in a church destroyed in 1793). His skeleton continued on but was stopped at Le Mans and transferred by order of the King to St. Denis for burial there. Only his heart made it to Dinan where it was kept by the Jacobins who eventually transferred it to the Cenotaph in St.-Sauveur. His statue is in his Place. (Please forgive my backlight and front light difficulties)
Fondest memory: Its preservation of tradition
Favorite thing: The esthetics of the Romanesque period like most others illustrates the "horror vacua" tendency. Nothing should be left plain, especially to hide structural necessities. So the end brackets that support roof cornices are decorated with stone carvings - modillions. All columns shound have capitals with figuration, statues should be painted, walls should have murals, etc. The idea that plain or smooth is beautiful is a 19 & 20C esthetic for the most part. The cost of such "filling-in" often became prohibitive and so was often delayed or if the style already in place became objectional, obliterated by new designs and whitewash. So in St.-Sauveur there remain numerous unobtrusive carvings that you can relish. The best are on the outside of the church. Look carefully and use binoculars if you have them. First is the West Front, look at every column and pilaster. The South side is also Romanesque and they are there too under the cornice at the roof-line.
Dinan's old town is the main reason to visit. Its old cobbled streets are so picturesque and are home to some magnificent 15th century half-timbered houses, which lean this way and that, looking like they may collapse if you lean on them.
In the heart of the old town you have place des Merciers and place des Cordeliers. These small, pretty squares are lined with shops and restaurants. Surrounding them are several small streets with some interesting shops and the odd wine bar.
You can check out the Tour de l'Horloge, which is a 15th century clock tower crammed in amongst the timber buildings. You can climb up to its small balcony for views of the old town.
Fondest memory: Just take a wander around the streets, browsing in shops, photographing half-timber buildings and perhaps enjoying an ice cream.