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.
Dinan is medieval walled city and its walls or ramparts are some of the best preserved in France.
The ramparts extend for almost 2 miles around the compact old town, including 14 watch-towers and 4 decorative gateways. You can take a walk around much of the walls, which offer fabulous views of the surrounding countryside.
The tourist office has a brochure (given to us by our hotel) which outlines a walking tour of the ramparts, taking approximately two hours. I do love a good rampart, but unfortunately we did not have time this trip to have more than a brief wander along part of the wall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is an impressive looking church with a lovely Romanesque Porch. The Guide book description is intriguing and describes an extraordinarily asymmetrical interior with a Romanesque south side , with flamboyant Gothic in the north side , transept and chancel.
We have often used the small car park in the little square front of the church at lunchtime - when it has been closed.
On one occasion seeing the door wide open my grandson, then aged about 6 ran ahead to investigate but quickly came out - to tell us that there was "one of those boxes for dead people with lots of men near it". On another occasion a wedding was about to begin.
Behind the Church is the Jardin Anglais with spendid oak trees and border and good views from the ramparts over the river.
In the square there is an ordinary French cafe where we have ejoyed good salads at lunchtime.
Dinan attracts tourists - why wouldn't it with such a wealth of preserved buildings, the river and all its history. - there are tourist shops - lots of postcards and souvenirs alongside butchers and bakers - but it never strikes me as "tacky tourism".
This is still a real working little town with a life of its own - shared with lots of visitors.
Respect the little houses you walk past - real people live there!
Dinan is a medieval town, so it is no wonder that it has a Chateau. The Dinan Chateau, also known as the Tower of Duchesse Anne, was built in the 14th Century, between 1382-1387.
Dinan, city and castle, were the property of the family of Dinan until XIII century
In the chapel on the ground floor of the castle keep, there is a collection of holy objects, furniture, and gold and silver ware. Located in the basement ( once the castle kitchen)there is a collection of prehistoric tools. A series of illustrated information boards tell the story of the castle buildings and life in the Middle Ages. These are all in the Chateau museum.
I loved the stunning views across the walled city of Dinan from the chateau terrace!
IT IS OPEN ALL DAYS
Mainly from 10am - 6pm.
In the winter months, please check with the Tourist Office.
ADMISSION IS 4.20 euros
The old town of Dinan is really lovely. I think what makes it more so, is the River Rance.
Water, lots of Boats, Old Medieval homes, shops, cafes, this is a lovely area to spend some time. There are boat tours available, they leave from Porte de Dinan quayside and take 2¾ hours.............we didn't do one, not enough time.
As we were leaving Dinan, heading up a hill in our car, I noticed the beautiful views of the "old town" and had to stop for photo's.
I think it was the road to Lanvallay.
Dinan is Brittany's one of the most beautiful all-round medieval town. You can see houses and buildings built by heavy stones. They can stand against the strong wind of Brittany. Its relatively small town and the architect is typically Brittany.
One really enjoys walking around and visiting medieval streets.
The river-side is a "must to see" area. Its beautiful and calm area with medieval houses are built along the river. Its used also as a small harbor. There are nice cafes and restaurants. People were enjoying sun and conversation. The life goes slowly here.
From the old bridge we saw the Rance river and the once active port now only a place for excursion boats and yachts and the like but it is certainly nicely situated (if you do not mind the climb to the center of town). Some take excursions down the river and bus back (not us).