Mon Dinan History Page Banner

Dinan City CenterThe old town is most atmospheric, crammed full of half timbered buildings dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, with cobbled rambling streets all carefully restored and preserved.

Interspersed throughout the old town are numerous individually owned cafes, bars, restaurants and the colourful shops of butchers, bakers and today scented candle-makers. The shops of florists, artisans, craftsmen and weavers mingle with the ubiquitous gift and post card shops that thrive in any town that is a magnet to tourists.

Dinan’s population is now around 11,000. Its history revolves around its feuds with England. Notably, the Duke of Lancaster’s invasion of 1357 when the local hero was Bertrand Du Guesclin whose brother Oliver, having been kidnapped, was held to ransom, by his captor an English Knight, one Cambridge. Bernard challenged Cambridge in a one to one combat and won. He continued campaigning for the King of France until he died some 23 years later. His bronze statue commemorates him on that very battleground, the Place du Champs, now less importantly used as a car park, which faces both the Hotel D'Avaugour and the Cantorbury restaurant in the old town.
Dinan Townscape
The 1907 fire in Cordeliers’ Street apparently caused citizens to become aware of the importance of the preservation of medieval half timbered buildings to Dinan’s heritage. The first listing of a medieval house in the harbour district took place in 1928 and it was indeed great foresight to see such early attempts of conservation that deserve congratulation today. Dinan Viaduct

Rue du Petite Fort is a truly impressive example of conservation and preservation. This lane descends steeply, dropping some 75 metres (300 feet) in its 750 metre length, from the old town to the picturesque River Rance and the old port of Dinan. The walk up and down is invigorating, scenic and very interesting and even more enjoyable when you envisage a cooling or warming drink waiting to be ordered at one of the many picturesque cafés at the bottom of the valley along the riverside and old port.                                        

attractions