Dinan France: An Historic Medieval Village in Brittany

Whether you are taking a day trip from Paris, spending a weekend in Brittany (Bretagne), or looking for more beautiful medieval architecture after seeing the magnificent Mont Saint Michel, the village of Dinan France should be on the top of your list of places to visit.

Mr. Misadventures and I spent a week in Brittany and spent 2 days exploring this adorable cobblestoned town with parts seemingly frozen in the Middle Ages! We had only planned on 1 day, so the fact that we went back for more tells you how much we absolutely loved it.

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Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France.jpg
Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France. [Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 12-24mm; Aperture: F16]

Our home base for the week was in Cancale, which is 40 minutes from Dinan, but the village is accessible from Paris (4 hours); Mont Saint Michel (1 hour); and 40 minutes from Saint-Malo (St. Malo) by car (more transportation options are at the bottom of this post). The first time we visited Dinan, it was part of an all-day road trip from Cancale to Dinan on to Saint-Malo and back “home” to Cancale again.

On our second visit, we spent sunrise at Mont Saint Michel and then headed to Dinan mid-morning to experience a little more of medieval France.

Cancale Dinan St Malo Day Trip
We drove from Cancale to Dinan to Saint-Malo and back to Cancale. More detailed itineraries coming!

However you get to Dinan, from wherever you come, I assure you, you will love this quaint medieval village. One of the things I most enjoyed was how walkable Dinan was. Sure, we all know that most cities, towns, and villages and Europe, France included, are “walkable” but it is always something I always remark on.

I don't take it for granted that I can visit a place, park my car (or get off the train or bus), and spend the whole day on foot while seeing so much. I truly appreciate that. In doing research, Mr. Misadventures put together a walking route for us to catch most of the historic center's highlights.

Dinan Centre Ville Walking Route
Our Dinan Centre Ville walking route.

The Visitor's Center in Dinan has done a really good job creating itineraries (we love this one, even though we didn't follow it 100%) and they sell walking maps in the center (0.20 Euros), but we always run into the same problem. The absolute best time to visit any place in France so that you have the streets (and historic sites) to yourself is in the morning before 10.

As soon as 10 hits, the stores open, and out come the locals and tourists. I always recommend and will continue to recommend that you wake up early and hit your most coveted spots before 10! We did eventually stop into the visitor's center after it opened (they open “early” at 9:30), but I recommend being prepared by using our map or getting information ahead of time.

The visitor's center (called Dinan-Cap Fréhel Tourisme) is located very close to the Dinan Chateau at 9 Rue du Château. And like I said they have a great website.

The main historic or medieval part of Dinan sits in 3 pieces: the hilltop, the hill, and the river port. Dinan sits on the Rance River and the regional area is called Rance Valley or Vallée de la Rance. Our walk took us through all 3 parts. If you do take my advice and arrive early, there is plenty of parking near the chateau which is the perfect place to start on foot.

You have to pay to park, so have coins or a credit card. It isn't too expensive, a few Euros for a few hours. That is exactly what we did and then we walked into town for the first time ready for our Dinan adventures.

What to Do and See in Dinan France

We focused our time in Dinan in the historic medieval area (and not in the more modern parts of town). Throughout the village, you can find beautiful buildings, some dating from the 13th century, the city has done an amazing job of restoring them and keeping them protected.

There are still large portions of the protective walls and ramparts. The most impressive buildings are the half-timbered houses. There are 130 of them throughout Dinan with their frames, studs, and beams on the outside. The ones in Dinan were built between the 15th and 18th centuries and they are quite impressive to see!

The Hilltop

Medieval Half-Timbered Houses in Dinan France
Medieval half-timbered houses near the Clock Tower. [Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 12-24mm; Aperture: F16]

The Clock Tower/Tour de l’Horloge

The Clock Tower is the highest point in Dinan and in typical French fashion was built in 1498 as an “F-you” from the bourgeoisie (middle-class townspeople) to the church and the elite. If you can make it up the 100 steps you'll get a gorgeous panoramic view of the valley and the Rance River.

It costs 4 Euros to go to the top and is open from 2:00 – 6:30 pm (April 1 – May 15) and 1:00 am – 6:30 pm (June 1 – September 30), the rest of the year you are out of luck! Location: 23 Rue de l'Horloge.

Place des Merciers et des Cordeliers and Halles de Dinan

Place des Merciers et des Cordeliers Dinan Brittany FrancePlace des Merciers et des Cordeliers Dinan Brittany FranceMedieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets in Dinan France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 12-24mm; Apertures: (left and center) F16 (right) F9.0]

Although there is shopping to be found just about everywhere in Dinan, the boutiques and restaurants in the Place des Merciers et des Cordeliers area have a lot of character due to the fact that they are in such beautiful old buildings.

We walked and shopped through these streets picking up some clothing (have to go with the mariner stripes when you are in Brittany) and sardines, we cannot resist the products from La Belle-Iloise!

Front Entrance to the Les Halles de Dinan - Dinan Food Hall in Dinan Brittany FranceLes Halles de Dinan - Dinan Food Hall in Dinan Brittany FranceBack entrance to the Les Halles de Dinan - Dinan Food Hall in Dinan Brittany France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 12-24mm; Apertures: (left and right) F11 (center) F8.0]

We also stumbled into the beautiful food hall, Les Halles de Dinan where we admired the gorgeous glass hall and picked up some cheese – bien sûr! The front entrance to the food hall (first photo above) is located on Rue de la Ferronnerie and the back entrance (last photo above) is located off the Rue du Petit Pain a little pedestrian street with shopping off of Place des Merciers. It is open every day but Monday.

Saint-Sauveur Basilica/Basilique Saint-Sauveur de Dinan and the Sainte-Catherine Tower/Tour Sainte-Catherine

Looking down on the Rance River from the Tour Sainte-Catherine in Dinan Brittany France
Looking down on the Rance River from the Tour Sainte-Catherine in Dinan. [Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Aperture: F16]

This stop hadn't been on our initial walking tour, but the second time we visited Dinan, we parked behind the Saint-Sauveur Basilica (for free, the early bird gets the free parking!) and walked through the beautiful English Gardens (Jardin Anglais) to get to Sainte-Catherine Tower where we had a good view of the river and port from above.

You can walk along the ramparts here for quite a ways and you can quickly understand why the city is in such good shape, the defenses were incredible! In total there are nearly 2 miles of walls with 10 towers and 4 gates. Address for the Saint-Sauveur Basilica: 14 Place Saint-Sauveur.

Saint-Malo Church/L’église de Saint-Malo

The Saint-Malo Church sits just outside the historic area of Dinan, but its famous magnolia tree and Gothic architecture make it a nice spot to visit. It has quite a history of ups and downs when it comes to construction, reconstruction, and restoration. 500 years later they are still “working” on it. It's worth a peek inside to see some gorgeous stained-glass windows.

But the pièce de résistance is what is considered to be THE masterpiece of English organ builder Alfred Oldknow. The organ inside the Saint-Malo church is the only surviving Oldknow organ in Brittany and is a cherished historical landmark. It sits on a raised platform and if you get an opportunity to hear someone play it or practice on it, stop and definitely listen!

Dinan Chateau

We parked by this baby, an imposing castle near the Visitor Center. It was built in 1384 as a residence for a duke and has terrific views of the neighboring village of Léhon. There are several parts to the chateau including a town museum and medieval tomb.

There is also the keep or donjon of Duchess Anne (from the 14th century), but I think the best parts are on the exterior: the Tower or Donjon Ducal/la tour ducale; the Gate of the Wicket/la porte Guichet and the Artillery Tower Coëtquen/la Tour Coëtquen all built in different centuries – the 13th, 14th, and 15th and brought together as a unit in the 16th century.

We didn't spend a ton of time here, but it is worth a quick stop, and as I mentioned we easily found cheap parking here in the morning, it was the perfect spot to start and finish our day in Dinan.

The Hill

Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France
Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets on Rue du Jerzual. [Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Aperture: F14]

Rue du Jerzual

When I refer to the hill in Dinan, I'm mainly talking about my favorite part of the city, the Rue du Jerzual, the delightfully-pretty-completely-photographable street that leads from the port to the top of the hill. It has been used for 10 centuries to transport goods (and now locals and tourists) up and down the hill and it is famous all over Brittany.

We spent a lot of time walking up and down and up again because everywhere you turn there is something to take a photo of (remember, go early before the shops open and the French wake up!).

Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets in Dinan FranceMedieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceMedieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France
Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France 5Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceMedieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France

[TOP: Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 12-24mm; Apertures: (left) F10, (center) F8.0; (right) Lens: FE 35mm; Aperture: F14]
[BOTTOM: Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (left and right) F14, (center) F8.0]

The half-timbered homes in a rainbow of colors, the ancient gardens, the friendly shopkeepers, I love this street! Dare I say my favorite medieval town in France! There is a lot of regional pride in Brittany and in particular the area around St-Malo.

The production of local/artisanal goods is highlighted everywhere, but I felt it even more so on Rue du Jerzual where nearly every storefront boasted a “made in Dinan” or “Dinan entrepreneur” sticker. It was encouraging to see!

Made in Dinan StickerMaison Bleu Lin on rue du Petit Fort - Jerzual in Dinan FranceMaison Bleu Lin on rue du Petit Fort - Jerzual in Dinan FranceMaison Bleu Lin on rue du Petit Fort - Jerzual in Dinan France

The shopkeepers are extraordinarily friendly and we chatted with a few of them about the Rue du Jerzual, Dinan, and about France. They really were quite lovely. In particular, we had a nice conversation with Claude, the owner of Maison Bleu Lin, a textile store with quite a bit of history.

The shop itself is beautiful, Claude is quite gifted at displays, she is also passionate about photography and does amazing color-themed flat-lays that she turns into postal cards and journals. She is dedicated to sustainable products and staying local and has even been noted in a book on French artisans called Made in France (I've already picked up a copy for myself). Oh! I could have talked to her all day!

The reason why we went up and down the Rue du Jerzual so many times is that there is so much to photograph, so many details, I never got tired of discovering something new each step I took (plus you know, I was burning Kouign-Amann, see below!).

Street details on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceHalf-timbered home Shell wall detail on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceBike on Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceGarden Plaque Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France


Medieval Houses taken from the Ramparts in Dinan Brittany France
Medieval houses taken from the Ramparts in Dinan. (Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Aperture: F16)

I've already mentioned that there are nearly 2 miles of ancient medieval walls in Dinan. With the walls comes the ramparts (remparts in French) the top part of the wall that you can walk on. There are the ones on top of the hill by Sainte-Catherine Tower, but there are also those in the middle that runs through the Rue du Jerzual.

Halfway down the Rue du Jerzual, you will run into the Porte du Jerzual and there will be signs on both the left and right sides guiding you to access the ramparts.

Entrance to the Ramparts in Dinan FranceMedieval Houses taken from the Ramparts in Dinan Brittany FranceMedieval Houses taken from the Ramparts in Dinan Brittany France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (all) F16]

The ramparts are surrounded by beautiful stone homes and offer great views of the hills above and the river below. Everything about Dinan is picturesque!

Le Bignon Guy

Depending on where you entered the ramparts at the Porte du Jerzual if you walk away from Rue du Jerzual you will exit the ramparts on a lovely little street called Le Bignon Guy. We could not get enough of the house below which entrance was surrounded by a blooming wisteria that was so fragrant you could smell it from very far away. That little bench was also very inviting!

Beautiful home on Le Bignon Guy in Dinan FranceBeautiful home on Le Bignon Guy in Dinan FranceWisteria Close-up Dinan France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (left and center) F16]

We walked a few down the hill and struck up a conversation with an elderly madame. She quickly told us she was 85 years old and that she had moved to the house she stood in front of with her husband when she was 20. She had a crackpot English terrier that observed us from a distance and would not allow us to take a photo.

I took a photo of the garden gate, taking a peek into her backyard, I would have loved to have spent an afternoon in there soaking up the sun. After conversing with her for a few minutes, we headed back up the hill to the Rue de l'École which intersects with Rue de l'École to hunt down lunch!

But not without first admiring a little courtyard with a flowering red tree. I tell you, everywhere you turn in Dinan, there's a photo!

Stone home on Le Bignon Guy in Dinan FranceBeautiful courtyard at the top of Le Bignon Guy in Dinan France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (left and right); (center) F16 Lens: FE 12-24mm Aperture: F11]

The Port

Bridge over the River Rance in Dinan France Brittany
Bridge over the River Rance at the port of Dinan. [Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Aperture: F16]

Rue du Jerzual turns into Rue du Petit Fort and at the bottom of the street is the port of Dinan which sits along the Rance River. We crossed over the river and turned right following a well-worn path along the backside of more medieval homes and found ourselves lost in time for a bit.

With some of the remaining stone structures, you can easily imagine townspeople dating back to the Middle Ages doing laundry in the river, transporting goods, and enjoying the security of their walls. But back to the port. It is the base for lots of water-focused activities.

During the boating season from April to October, there are a large number of cruises and boat trips on the Rance River. Along the banks, there are trails for walking and cycling and you can partake in water sports such as kayaking and canoeing. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and terraces to enjoy in good weather as well.

Best Views in Dinan

View from Sainte-Catherine Tower in Dinan FranceThe Clock Tower in Dinan FranceView from the Ramparts in the middle of Rue du Jerzual, the Porte du Jerzual in Dinan France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (left and right) F16; (center) Lens: FE 12-24mm; Aperture: F11 ]

Based on our time in this pretty village, there are 3 places that offer the best views of Dinan.

  • Sainte-Catherine Tower
  • From the top of the Clock Tower
  • The Ramparts in the middle of Rue du Jerzual, the Porte du Jerzual

Special Events: Dinan's Fête des Remparts

During the 3rd weekend in July, every even-numbered year, the town has a Ramparts Festival (ête des Remparts) where locals get dressed up in medieval clothing and have a party. There is medieval music and other merriment to be had!

Where to Eat in Dinan

Dinan is in the region of Brittany France, therefore, the vast majority of restaurants are focused on seafood, crepes, and meat (pork from Brittany and beef from nearby Normandy). Like any town of a certain size, you can also find plenty of pizza joints (the French love pizza) and franchise or chain restaurants. I always recommend trying to stay local to get the freshest ingredients and to get to know the place you are visiting.

Creperies in Dinan

French Crepe
Photo credit: Gigi Griffis

The best crepes in France are from Brittany so you can [almost] never go wrong by eating in a creperie in this region. And as you travel through Brittany you will see that there are quite a few of them. Dinan is no different. They say the best creperie in Dinan is Crêperie Ahna (7 Rue de la Poissonnerie) [P.S. there are several restaurants to choose from on Rue de la Poissonnerie.] but when we went to go eat there, it was packed so we headed to another creperie near Place des Merciers that had caught our eye, Créperie Le Connétable (1 Rue de l'Apport) which we found to be delicious.

First of all, they served my “complete” (ham, cheese, and egg crepe) with a gorgeous pat of salted Brittany butter on top, something I've never had before and now never wants to eat a crepe without again! And secondly, I was introduced to their “house” cider (Cidre Bouché De Bretagne from Ferme des Landes) which was delicious and very inexpensive. Turns out we would drink this brand at least 3 more times during our trip, no complaints from me!

More than Creperies

I offer 3 other suggestions for restaurants in Dinan that aren't creperies.

  • You cannot beat the 29 Euros for 3-courses at Le Restaurant Les 3 Lunes (22 Rue de la Lainerie), a wonderful little restaurant just beyond the top of Rue du Jerzual.
  • While the Le Bistrot du Viaduc (22 Rue du Lion d'Or) is located across the river from Dinan in Lanvallay, it does offer great views of Dinan and chef Dominique has a great reputation for simple and generous meals using fresh regional ingredients.
  • Lastly, there is Le Cantorbery which is outside of the center village (6 Rue Sainte-Claire) but is well known for its intimate (aka romantic) 17th-century setting and a fantastic menu focused on local seafood and beef.

Pastries in Dinan

Kouign-amann from La Maison De Tatie Jeanne in Dinan Brittany France
Kouign-amann from La Maison De Tatie Jeanne.

I have one word for you. Kouign-Amann. And one place. La Maison de Tatie Jeanne. If pushed, I might even confess that our second trip to Dinan happened because I needed to have another raspberry Kouign-Amann from this bakery. We ate many Kouign-Amann during our 10 days in Britanny, but none were as good as the ones from La Maison de Tatie Jeanne.

A Kouign-Amann is a Breton specialty the words translating to “butter” and “cake” and is laminated croissant dough that’s 50 percent butter and 50 percent yeasted dough. It is considered one of the “fattiest” pastries in Europe – but I say when you are climbing up and down the ramparts and Rue du Jerzual, who cares! La Maison de Tatie Jeanne is at the bottom of Rue du Petit Fort on the righthand side just before the bridge, at 82 Rue du Petit Fort. The good news is they open at 8:00 and don't close until 7:00 pm every day except Wednesday when they are closed.

Where to Stay

We were staying in Cancale and visiting Dinan as part of a day trip and a road trip. But there is enough to do in Dinan to make it worth staying for a couple of days or for a weekend. This beautiful fortified settlement is the home of over 10,000 residents and has plenty to offer in the way of accommodation, but much like our explorations, I would want to stick to the historic center, otherwise, I feel like I could be in any other town, not the medieval village that is core to Dinan's attractiveness.

Medieval Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets at the top of Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceBeautiful passageway on the Rue du Jerzual in Dinan FranceBeautiful blue door on the Rue du Jerzual in Dinan France

[Sony A7RIII; Lens: FE 35mm; Apertures: (left and right) F6.3 (center) F11]

Hotels in Dinan

  • Le Logis du Jerzual Dinan Bed and Breakfast Côtes d'Armor (25 Rue du Petit Fort) I do not love B&B's but I passed by this one several times on our trips up and down Rue du Jerzual and Rue du Petit Fort and the location is absolutely phenomenal plus they have great reviews.
  • Hotel Le Davaugour (1 place du Champ Clos) is a beautiful stone building that overlooks the ramparts.
  • La Maison Pavie (10 Place St Sauveur) the owner, Jérôme is well known to be a fantastic host, and its location right smack dab in the historic district makes it a bonus!

Airbnb Recommendations in Dinan

The next time I visit Dinan, and we will be back, I'll probably stay in an Airbnb. I did some research to find 3 spots to stay in the historic district. All the owners have really good reviews and I would stay in any one of these!

The Village of Lehon

Lehon village of Dinan France
Lehon, a village of Dinan.

If you are spending a day in Dinan, take some time out to visit Lehon, a neighboring village incorporated into Dinan in 2018. You can drive there in 5 minutes from Chateau Dinan or you can walk or bike there along a beautiful path along the river. Once you get to Léhon, visit the Abbaye Saint Magloire de Léhon begun by 6 monks in the 6th century.

Over time additions have been added, but I think the best part is the garden. I was so impressed with the gardens here and on the Rue du Jerzual. Someone has taken great care to educate visitors on the original medieval plants and flowers and what their purpose of medicinal value was. I learned so much!

Medieval plants in the village of Lehon Dinan France
Medieval plants in the village of Lehon.

How to Get to Dinan

Dinan France Train Station
The train station in Dinan.

Dinan is a 4-hour drive from Paris on major Autoroutes – A10 to A11 to A81 which will cost you about 35-40 Euros in tolls before you eventually find yourself on national and departmental roads (which I love looking at the scenery on!). We rented our car from Sixt at Charles de Gaulle airport and have done so for years.

They have great customer service – they even bailed us out on Easter Sunday when we locked the keys in the car! As I mentioned we were on a 10-day trip to Brittany so we drove to Dinan from Cancale, an easy 40-minute trip. If you are visiting Mont Saint Michel it is also only 40-minutes by car or you can continue on your Brittany adventures with a stop in St.-Malo which is one hour by car.

The train from Paris on TGV to Rennes is about 80 Euros and then take a bus or regional train to Dinan. More info is available on the OuiSNCF.com site (in English) or check out Rome2Rio.

Camera Equipment used in our Dinan photos

Photos that were taken by me were done so on an iPhone and Sony Cybershot RX100. I love this camera, so small and easy to travel with! I use 3 accessories: a Sony VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip; and 2 straps: the Peak Design SLL-AS-3 Slide Lite Camera Strap, and the Peak Design CL-2 Clutch Camera Hand Strap.

I used my ancient Osprey 18 backpack (the closest thing to it) to carry it all. However, for Mr. Misadventures (anything with a Sel & Poivre Photography watermark), the real pro in the household, he used his Sony A7RIII and the following lenses: Sony FE 12-24mm, and Sony FE 35mm. Under each photo, we have provided the lens and aperture information. His camera equipment was carried around in a MindShift Gear BackLight 18L backpack.

Places to Visit Around Dinan

  • Check out the medieval port town of Saint-Malo, 40-minutes from Dinan.
  • Mont Saint-Michel, the UNESCO World Heritage Middle-Aged monastery 1 hour from Dinan.
  • Fougères is another medieval fortress-of-a-town with a chateau and half-timbered homes just over a 1-hour from Dinan.
  • Fort La Latte, is a historic 14th-century fort/chateau on the coast just under a 1-hour drive from Dinan.
  • Cap Frehel – peninsula in Côtes-d'Armor with 2 well-known lighthouses, just under a 1-hour drive from Dinan.
  • And of course our home base of Cancale, a beautiful fishing port and the oyster capital of France.

Because of Dinan, I have a newfound love for French medieval villages and have my eye on Sarlat in the south and Bastides in the southwestern regions of France.

Our time in Dinan was part of a 10-day trip to Brittany so I have much more to share, but I wanted to write about Dinan first because we fell head over heels in love with this village!

How about you? Have you been to Dinan? Or other parts of Brittany in France? Do share! If not, have I inspired you to visit? Do tell!

Like it? PIN it!

Dinan France: An Historic Mediaval Village in BrittanyDinan France: An Historic Mediaval Village in BrittanyDinan France: An Historic Mediaval Village in Brittany
  • Flights
    • Look for fares using sites like Skyscanner or Expedia.com
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    • For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. When traveling in Europe, I use AutoEurope to make reservations. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. I typically book with Sixt.
    • For transportation from the CDG airport to anywhere within Paris, consider pre-booking with Get Transfer. It is one way to be stress-free and you can request an English-speaking driver.
  • Tours + Atractions
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    • If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City.
    • Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities.
    • If you are looking to buy tickets to attractions, check out Tiquet.
  • Don't Forget Travel Photos
    • One of my favorite things to do is to get photos taken of me while on vacation. Flytographer is a great option with photographers all over the world.
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    • It’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. I always travel with insurance and would recommend SafetyWingSquareMouth or Travelex Insurance are good options.
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  • Planning

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  1. Beautiful! Dinan looks like a must visit when visiting France. I’ll put it on my list.

  2. This place looks straight out of a story book! I want to go!

  3. This is amazing how you outlined the best parts of the area! AH, I’d love to visit there. Your photos are amazing by the way.

  4. We did a couple days in France during our Europe honeymoon & I wish we explored more of the countryside like these places mentioned here! So beautiful & more scenic than Paris (at least I think so!). Thanks for sharing! May keep in mind for another trip in the future!

  5. Helen Little says:

    What a trip! And so well documented – now I really want to visit! You show it so well.

  6. Julie Hoag says:

    These photos are just gorgeous, to die for! I’d love to visit here some day, just unbelievably beautiful, charming, unmatched.

  7. Crystal // Dreams, etc. says:

    I love the architecture! That looks like such a beautiful place to go!

  8. Mommy Peach says:

    Your photos are amazing! It’s like I am touring the place myself.

  9. This is incredible! I’ve long wanted to visit a medieval village! The walkability is a huge plus, but omg that architecture is just enough to take my breath away.

  10. That is gorgeous. I would love to visit Brittany.

  11. So beautiful!! I didn’t even know these idyllic little villages existed in real life until we “discovered” Kaysersberg in Alsace. It felt like we stepped right into the opening scenes of the animated version of Beauty and the Beast. Now you’ve gone and added more to my list! 🙂

  12. I’m sold, Andi! Between the Medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and delicious-looking crepes and pastries, I’d happily spend a day trip or weekend in Dinan. Also, I really appreciated all the advice on how to get there. Your post provided a lot of context for how Dinan could fit into a larger trip through France, and, of course, why it should be a stop on the itinerary.

  13. Melody Pittman says:

    Oh girl, I know you were in your element here! I’m pretty sure I was in this area on an Iberian Interlude cruise about 10 years ago. I know we went to 2 places in the Brittany region and this one looks very familiar. I remember eating a crepe and pizza here that were to absolutely die for! Then we trolled around a farmer’s market that had the most beautiful vegetables I’d ever seen. 😉 Beautiful spot.

  14. cindy ladage says:

    What a lovely place! I want to go! The half timbered houses are so lovely. I have been to France, but not this area. Thanks for sharing the history of this Medieval town. The architecture is stunning and so are your pictures. You should do a Guide to Dinan!

  15. What an amazing town. Truly a step back in time. Your photos are stunning and you have definitely inspired me to visit if I ever make it back to France.

  16. Gorgeous photos!! Just the kind of place I love to explore!

  17. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) says:

    As if you didn’t have us with Medieval and French, you had to set the hook with Kouign-amann! We’ve spent most of our time in France on the Mediterranean side. Don’t get us wrong; we love it there, and will be going back for more, but we’ve been thinking that we’re missing a lot by not going the other direction! You’ve pretty much convinced us now. 😉 Thanks for sharing, and thanks to you and Mr. Misadventure for the stunning photos!

  18. Linda (LD Holland) says:

    We did love to visit Mont Saint Michel. But are sorry we missed Dinan. Certainly a return visit suggests that you did love this spot. And I can understand why! Great to hear that this is truly a walkable city. Thanks for sharing your walking path. Luckily we are early risers so we can get out before the crowds show up. The view from the Tour Sainte-Catherine does indeed reinforce how magical this town looks. The colourful houses up the hill on Rue du Jerzual would certainly draw us up. And a great suggestion to bike to the neighbouring village of Lehon.

  19. Doreen Pendgracs says:

    What a beautiful post! Your photos are incredible and truly make me want to hop on a plane and make my way to Dinan, France. I really love Medieval villages and am sure I’d love those Kouign-amann pastries as much as you did.

  20. Nicole LaBarge says:

    I haven’t heard of Dinan before but Dinan looks like a must visit when visiting France! Such a cool little city. I need to explore more of Brittany.

  21. Vaisakhi Mishra says:

    Such a pretty and quaint town! Dinan looks straight out of a story book. There are so many cute historic towns in France and they are all world famous, but surprisingly we rarely hear of Dinan. Gorgeous pictures btw! 😀

  22. Hi Andi, I love this blog. super nice!

  23. Holy Cow! Your photos are stunning. What a beautiful village. I think I would love to visit Dinan. I especially love that your got there early enough to have photos without people all over them. I would have to do this as well. I lived in Martinique for a year, which is part of France, but in the Caribbean. (in case you didn’t know) I fell in love with some of the authentic French foods, pastries and crepes being the winner for sure. I need to show this to my husband. Maybe he will take the hint and take me there. Thanks for the introduction.

  24. Wow, talk about a storybook city. That place is amazing…and your photos are just perfect. How many days would you recommend there assuming you were splitting this on say a 10 day trip to France (with Paris as your other destination)

  25. I love medieval villages! And, it’s awesome that Dinan is so easily toured by foot. The cobblestone streets, historic architecture and dedication to past traditions are calling to me now. Time to book a trip to Brittany.

  26. I am in love with these pictures! What a beautiful place!
    I like how well they have preserved the medieval ambience in Dinan. Definitely a place worth visiting.

  27. vanessa Workman says:

    Those houses and shops are so cute!! Love the ruggedness of brick and stone against splashes of colorful flowers. Dinan is definitely on my itinerary now. But how on earth did you manage to not have any people in your photos when there are 10,ooo residents there? Where did everyone go? 😀

  28. Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets are two of my favorite things! I love everything about this village and the view from Tour Sainte-Catherine is spectacular. I already added it my must see map of France! says:

    Half-Timbered Houses and Cobblestoned streets are two of my favorite things! I love everything about this village and the view from Tour Sainte-Catherine is spectacular. I already added it my must see map of France!

  29. Jenn and Ed Coleman says:

    I can see why Dinan is your favorite. It looks like Mr. Adventure was enjoying his time behind the camera too. When I see towns like Dinan, I can’t help but to imagine ourselves riding through the French countryside. Hopefully, we could burn enough calories to eat all the crepes and be able to wake before 10:00 or our pictures.

  30. Okay, well first I needed to go eat a snack because the crepes made me so hungry! Second, created in an F-you…wow, I had never heard that before! Third, the clock tower is a definite for me and The Hill’s half-timbered houses are SO SO precious! This WILL be on my next France trip! I love medieval towns. It reminds me of Stein am Rhein in Switzerland. Have you been there? Also, I love that you put your camera settings on your photos. Helpful!

  31. Francesca Murray says:

    Ohh exciting! Thanks for introducing me to a town in France that I haven’t heard of yet. I’ve been to many regions but haven’t visited Brittany yet. It’s high on my list though! And I’ve got to get my hands on a Kouign-Amann when I do – I don’t care how fatty it is! lol!

  32. Danial (Dan On The Road) says:

    Dinan is such a charming town. It really feels like you have stepped back in time!

  33. Juliann Jones says:

    If I hadn’t read your descriptions, I would have guessed Dinan was in Germany! The pictures and half-timbered houses remind me so much of the walled city I saw there. I love the architecture and the views from the clock tower. I have been to Paris several times and was just talking to a Portuguese friend today about what other city I’d rather explore in France. I think Dinan may be it!

  34. The Hill looks like it would be my favorite part of Duran as well, although it all looks right up my alley. I love the architecture!

  35. I love Dinan! It’s such a quaint little town! All the little streets had their own unique character. My favourite part was walking along the port and eating yummy crepes and galettes.

  36. Brenna - The Great Wide Somewhere says:

    Oh wow. Everything about Dinan looks amazing! The food, the architecture. Stunning! I would LOVE to visit here.

  37. Dinan looks exactly like a fairy-tale village right off of the movie screen. We had the opportunity to visit Paris a few years ago, but did not get to explore much more of France. I would love love to go back and see some of these charming little towns!

  38. What a pretty place, those cobblestone streets are just gorgeous. I feel like you could take all those pretty pictures you took and make a really fun coffee table book. I’ve made it to Paris a few times now but would love the chance to explore more of the country. It’s charming little towns like these that make me want to book that flight right now!

  39. Your photos are beautiful and those cobblestone streets are right out of a fairy tale. This is a place I definitely want to visit.

  40. Pubali (Paradise Catchers) says:

    Medieval architecture and cobblestone streets – what’s not there to like! 🙂 It’s amazing how different countries hole various gems. We only knew Paris (yet to visit), but now that I’ve read about this I think I’m going to include Dinan in the itinerary whenever we visit that part of the world. 🙂

  41. Such a beautiful town! I love medieval villages, no matter where they are. Thanks for sharing, love your photos!

  42. Vanessa Shields says:

    Dinan looks lovely! I can see why you love it so much. There is something so wonderful about walking in a medieval Old Town. I could wander those cobblestone streets for days! I had never heard of Dinan but I am adding it to my list!

  43. Dinan looks so charming! I’m all about exploring small towns and would love a road trip through this part of France.

  44. Andrea Peacock says:

    It looks like there is so much to do and see in this town! And only 4 hours from Paris isn’t too bad! Good tip about getting out before the shops open at 10. I love exploring places early in the morning!

  45. I’m hoping to visit France for the first time soon and I definitely want to see more than just Paris! Dinan looks so lovely – I’ll definitely have to add it to my list of places to visit!

  46. Sarah - Travel for a Living says:

    Beautiful photos. I love Brittany and I have to agree, Dinah is one of the prettiest villages I’ve ever been to. Well worth a visit whenever in the area.

  47. I love this! So far my favorite place in France has been Bordeaux, but Brittnay looks amazing!!

  48. Christine says:

    Looks like such a charming town! I’d love to explore more of France and the not-so-popular towns and cities. Visiting Dinan just went on my list!

  49. Your photos are so beautiful! And I think I would spend all day in the creperies. Yum!!

  50. Brianna Simmons says:

    I can see why you love Dinan, it’s looks utterly charming! I would love to peruse the shops at Place des Merciers et des Cordeliers and stroll down the Rue de Jurzuel.

  51. Paroma Chakravarty says:

    I will go anywhere for crepes and Kouign Amanns-thank you for showcasing lesser known parts of France to foodies like me:-)

  52. Your pictures are gorgeous! What a picturesque place and so many interesting things. Need to make sure to add to my growing list of places to visit

  53. Such picturesque little towns, straight out of a fairy tale! ❤️ I was already daydreaming while reading when I saw the photo of the crepes… now I’m just dying of envy! It’s great to see how much you enjoyed yourself. Thanks for sharing such a detailed itinerary

  54. Katy Liang says:

    I love how well-preserved the architecture is! It really feels like being transformed back to the medieval times doesn’t it? 🙂

  55. I’ve always wanted to visit France! This sounds like such a great trip too!
    <3 Taylor | teansea.org

  56. We just returned from Normandy/Bretagne and spent a night in Dinan at a little BnB on Rue du Jerzual. Lovely, I’d go back in a heartbeat!

  57. Carrie Ann says:

    Such a gorgeous medieval town! I’m glad that you got up early to take those beautiful photos without crowds of people in the streets 😀 Dinan looks like a place I’d definitely like to explore.

  58. Love places like this! Medieval towns have a special place on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing these amazing shots.

  59. Oh wow, in what fairytale did you find this cute city? I just love the architechture 😀

  60. Jay Artale says:

    Wow, Wow, Wow! We’re traveling from Toulouse up to Paris next year, volunteering in Chateaus through Workaway for three months, and Dinan is the kind of town we’re looking to discover and immerse ourselves in. We weren’t planning on heading this far west, but your post has inspired me to try a way to travel there. It looks like a fabulous place to wander around the shops and then find a little cafe to drink coffee and people watch.

  61. Cathy Grafton says:

    Nice summary of Dinan and all it has to offer. I visit almost every year for 3-4 days. Love the feeling of history there.

    1. @Cathy, thank you for the compliment. I am looking forward to returning this fall, I can taste that raspberry kouing amann! Do you have additional recommendations since you have been there more often? Have you been recently? Have they rebuilt since the fire took out a few buildings near the sardine shop?

  62. I visited Dinan many years ago as a part of a trip from Paris through Normandy and Brittany, and it remains one of my favorite places in France. You described it beautifully.