We are getting old and we have traversed many other Ramparts like these in previous times at other places, but if you have the energy a walk around the town walls is in order (do at least part of them). We noticed the typical Madonna and Child in a niche on the inner side of the gate (inner protection) as well as the heavy protective bastion on the outer side and what remains of the moat (fosse). (Some other aspects were seen in the back garden of the fine hotel at which we stayed and dined).
Our walk through the upper part of Dinan began by walking from our hotel east between the Places Champ Clos an du Guesclin with the latter charging at us with sword at the ready on horseback (a statue in his honor). We turned north on the r. de l’Horloge with the clock tower and belfry in view. On its right we saw the tourist office. Just opposite that structure was a half-timbered building called the “House of the Gisant” which had beneath its overhang such a funeral figure (found during restorations long ago). At this point a street to the right led to the Basilica of St. Saviour (which we did not visit) with attractive shops. (See Shopping). We instead continued on to the Pl. des Cordeliers where we went right on r. de la Lainerie which became the r. du Jerzual. The plateau of the town center began to fall off steeply her toward the enclosing ramparts and the Jerzual Gate. Most of the houses we passed were of stone,(15C and later) but a few were older 1/2 timbered, some with carved beams or freestanding wooden figures.
There isn't any reason to spend a dime in Dinan visiting museums or sites. You can keep yourself happily occupied by just walking around this lovely city and taking in the spectacular views. Be sure to walk along the ramparts and snap photos of the river below. If you are in good shape consider a walk down to the charming restaurants along the river. Just be sure to remember that after that second glass of wine you have to walk back up the hill again!
The Donjon de la duchesse Anne (Keep of the Duchess Anne), stands 174ft high near the Saint Louis gate and is part of the medieval ramparts which still surround the old town. The keep was built in 1384. It is a high tower with an oval section; a moat divides the keep from the outside of the ramparts as well as from the inside of the city.
...well, actually I wouldn't recommend running as there are few drops and yuo might hurt yourself... but they are great to have a walk around... especially if you are small boys...
and there's a park just here also - which you can run around in.
Dinan is best soaked in... just wander around the streets and let Dinan be absorbed. Dinan has a nice atmosphere about it, the people are friendly and it was surprisingly quiet with few tuorists (but possibly we were just lucky).
Other than the port everything you wish to see is in the old city huddled around Place des Cordeliers and Place des Merciers... quirky, little cobbled streets with creaky, old half-timbered buildings...
If you find yourself on the port down by the Rance river, in Dinan, then there is nothing better than a stroll after an evening meal along the peaceful banks. Beware of over-priced bars here though, compared to the medieval centre of town itself.
The port of Dinan is located in the Rance Valley and was the birthplace of Dinan hundreds of years ago.
Way back, it was an export and fishing port, with the River Rance connecting it to the sea, 15 miles away. The river has since been canalized, and has locks and a towpath.
Take a walk down to the port, via rue du Jerzual and rue du Petit Fort. It is a lovely place for a stroll, boat ride or perhaps just an ice cream.
For those less agile, you can catch the small tourist train down there for a look around…..or perhaps walk down and catch the train back to avoid that steep climb.
Located behind the Basilique St-Sauveur is the pretty Jardin Anglais (English Garden).
This garden was originally a cemetery but is now a pretty park. I particularly liked it as there was an adorable puppy there when we visited!
The park has city walls (ramparts) running along two sides of it. You can walk to the lovely little Tour Ste-Catherine at the corner of the gardens. This tower offers excellent views down over the port and the viaduct across the Rance Valley.
Located on cobbled place St-Sauveur is the attractive Basilique St-Sauveur.
This church is made up of a range of architectural styles, with its Renaissance chapels, Gothic features and beautiful Romanesque triple-arched doorway.
It is said that the church is home to the heart of Bertrand du Guesclin, which supposedly rests in a grave slab in the north transept. Bertrand was a knight who defended Dinan against an English siege back in 1357
We snuck into the church for a look and were the only ones about. It was quiet and peaceful, a perfect place for reflection.
Visit the quiet (at least in October) and picturesque Dinan Port or Quay where the town started centuries ago. Here is a contrast of the old and the new. The lower old bridge has what appear to me to be both a Roman and a Gothic arch and a filled in former arch of another shape. The upper bridge is the new one which takes a lot of vehiclular traffic.
This church is the result of a vow by a local Crusader, Rivallon le Roux, who vowed that if he survived to return to Dinan, he would pay for the building of a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity, to be named Saint-Saveur. The whole building is remarkable. The entrance is three arches separated by 5 intricately carved colonnettes with a lion and bull above and four statues in the side arches. Inside are about 20 lovely chapels and a 62 foot high chancel flanked by 12 huge pillars supporting a balustraded gallery with about 20 windows overhead. The church was built in 1120 but amended and added to over the centuries climaxing with the completion in the 17th C of the huge belltower. During the French Revolution it became a Temple of the Supreme Being, then a hayloft and finally a church again in 1800. The stained glass inside is colorful but not ancient. It dates from the 1940s.
The quay or port of Dinan is just down the hill from the old city and is actually the birthplace of Dinan. It is the site of ancient settlements by the ford which has been there since the struggles of the standing stone erectors with Rome and then by Bretons who settled here after the Saxon invasion. In fact they established a priory just upstream from here. It is a quiet and lovely spot on the river, graced by an ancient bridge and a more modern tall one with the boats of locals moored along the shore. This has been a busy port for centuries and saw the export of leather, canvas, wax and honey, timber, and grains to St. Malo and the import of sald, cod, cider, tea, porcelain and spices. What a busy place it must have been.
About 20 miles from St. Malo is the lovely medieval citadel of Dinan. The old city is surrounded by 13th C ramparts and the 14th C castle is surrounded by what was once a moat, protecting it not only from the surrounding coountryside but also the town itself. The old town is the usual maze of narrow streets lined with half-timered houses, many dating from the 15th C. Within the old city what is now a parking lot becomes an open market on Thursdays and these are always fun to stop in. The castle (shown in the photo) is now a city museum. Unfortunately we were there on a Monday, its closing day.
Built in the 15th Century and served as a central place of worship for centuries. It is known for its beautiful stain glass and wooden carvings.