This village, perched on the Rance river and sloping down to the sea, is one of the most beautiful in all of France: cobbled streets, colourful half-timbered houses, imposing ramparts and barges winking along the harbour quays await you.
It is a unique experience to stroll through the narrow alleys, savouring all its medieval beauty.
Surrounded by almost three kilometres of ramparts, the town of Dinan and its 14th century castle overlook the Rance river. The small marina is the starting point for beautiful walks along the estuary while high up, half-timbered houses make this medieval town charming.
With its picturesque cobbled streets, Dinan is a jewel of the Côtes d’Armor.
The port is one of the liveliest areas of the town during the summer: dotted with many cafés and restaurants, it offers charming terraces to admire the moored boats and old stone and half-timbered houses.
Its green banks can be discovered on foot, by bicycle or by boat on an organised trip, an original way to admire the city and take beautiful photos along the river.
Built at the end of the 14th century, this 45-metre high tower-palace is divided into several levels. On the lower floor are the service rooms, such as the kitchens, while on the upper levels are the flats.
During its existence, the castle underwent numerous changes: after having been the governor’s residence until the end of the 17th century, it underwent a period of neglect and was then converted into a prison until 1904.
Today the castle can be visited in its entirety, thanks to a lengthy restoration process that has made it accessible to tourists. The new tour combines two themes: the art of war and daily life in a princely residence.
The medieval town of Dinan has no fewer than 115 half-timbered houses dating back to the Middle Ages. Its unique and picturesque character has attracted many artists over the years, who have found a place here for their ateliers and galleries.
The medieval streets in the centre are an enchantment: they will leave you speechless, with the feeling that you have stepped back in time. Place Du-Guesclin is one of the liveliest, with its cafés and restaurants, while Place des Merciers and Place des Cordeliers are surrounded by some of the most beautiful half-timbered houses in the city. Sneak into the cloister of the former Cordeliers convent: a truly enchanting corner.
Next, walk along rue de la Cordonnerie, rue du Petit-Pain and rue de l’Horloge passing one of Dinan’s most famous houses: the Maison du Gisant. This 11th-century house was the subject of a surprising discovery during restoration work: a funerary sculpture representing Roland de Dinan, who died in the 13th century, was found.
The clock tower is certainly the most important monument in the medieval centre of Dinan. Built in the 15th century, this 47-metre high tower is the tallest building in the town. The tower’s special feature is its clock: one of the oldest mechanisms in Europe, dating back to 1502.
The tower can be visited and the effort of climbing its 158 steps is amply rewarded by the extraordinary view of Dinan and its surroundings. Pay attention to the bells: they ring every 15 minutes.
In the Middle Ages, Rue du Jerzual was the gateway to the city, as well as the most important commercial street, where the stalls of merchants, craftsmen and imposing bourgeois houses were located.
Rue du Jerzual, which connects the medieval city to the port, is today the most picturesque street in Dinan. Completely paved and steeply sloping, it is framed by the numerous workshops of artists and craftsmen, giving it a joyful and colourful charm. It is one of the most photographed views of the city.
The ramparts are part of Dinan’s charm: this ancient medieval city possessed the largest walls in the kingdom of Brittany, second only to Rennes and Nantes. The ramparts of Dinan extend for almost 3 km around the city.
Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, these ramparts offer visitors enchanting walks around the city: we recommend both the Promenade de la Duchesse-Anne, which runs right on top of the walls, up from Porte du Jerzual, and the Promenade des Petits-Fossés, which winds outside the ramparts.
Not far from the Clock Tower is the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur. This church was built between the 12th and 16th centuries.
In its composition, both Romanesque and flamboyant Gothic styles are skilfully blended. This change of style is particularly visible inside the basilica, where its components alternate markedly. The basilica houses a treasure: the heart of Bertrand du Guesclin, a famous Breton leader.
From the port, a causeway allows you to walk to the village of Léhon, an outlying suburb of Dinan.
With a majestic abbey, an ancient medieval castle and small cobbled streets, this tiny neighbourhood is charming and enchanting.
Every two years, since 1983, the Fête des remparts invades the pretty town of Dinan. The whole village goes back in time to medieval times. The town is invaded by noblewomen and valiant knights, who proudly show off their period costumes to offer visitors a plunge into history.
Knightly tournaments, a large medieval market, a costume parade and the chance to experience a unique atmosphere await you.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The picturesque town of Dinan is located only 32 km from Saint Malo. Those wishing to undertake an itinerary between Normandy and Brittany will use one of the French capital’s international airports: Paris Orly Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport or Paris Beauvais Airport.
Dinan is 400 km from Paris: you will have to allow approximately 4 hours to drive on the A11.
Those arriving from Rennes, on the other hand, will have to follow the D137 for only 40 minutes while those leaving from Brest, 2 hours and 15 minutes on the N12.
The fastest connection from Paris is the Paris-Brest TGV line, stopping at Lamballe station, or use the Paris-Saint-Malo TGVline. In both cases, you must then make a change on the TER Dinan – Dol-de-Bretagne line.
The freshness and liveliness of this picturesque town invite you to stay, especially in summer, when the village comes alive with festivals and events. Being a small village, the amount of accommodation is limited and reservations should be made well in advance, especially on summer weekends.
The interior of the fortified citadel is the best area to stay in Dinan: this is where most of the hotels, activities, bars and restaurants are located. Alternatively, the harbour area is also highly recommended: a lively neighbourhood full of bistros and terraces.
What's the weather at Dinan? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Dinan for the next few days.
Dinan is located in the Côtes-d'Armor department, not far from Saint Malo.