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February 12, 2019

France: Dinan

Filed under: Architecture, Canal boating, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 6:50 pm

Viaduct de Lanvallay crosses over the Rance.

Dinan is a walled town in the northeastern corner of Brittany France. The commune sits on the banks of the Rance River. Roughly 15 miles to the north near St. Malo is the river’s mouth.

For many years Dinan was the location of the first bridge over the Rance upstream from its ocean terminus. Historically the river crossing was vital for traffic between Normandy and the north coast of Brittany. Dinan’s imposing walls and impressive castle reflect the strategic importance of this trade route.

The medieval section of Dinan with its fine old buildings dating from the 13th Century sits on a hilltop protected by high walls and a fort. Below the walls the commune’s buildings thin as steep roads link the upper town to the commune’s riverside port where the old bridge crosses the Rance. In days past Dinan’s port was commercially important. Today the port is lined with bars and restaurants that serve tourists, tour boat patrons, and the crews of the pleasure craft that have moored their boats in the harbor.

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There a many historical attractions in Dinan including the Jacobins Theatre dating from 1224, the flamboyant Gothic St Malo’s Church, the Romanesque St Saviour’s Basilica, Duchess Anne’s Tower, and the Château de Dinan. But really it is the geography that makes this place special. There’s nothing quite like looking out over the river while strolling across the high Viaduct de Lanvallay or dangling your feet over the side of Dinan’s impressive walls and enjoying the view.

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