During my visit to Brittany and while in Saint-Malo, I took the opportunity to discover the lovely seaside town of Dinard.
How to get there
Situated less than half an hour by bus or 10 minutes by sea bus from Saint-Malo lies the “pearl” of the Emerald Coast. If you want to see a picture perfect/postcard English seaside town minus the busyness of Brighton, this is your destination.
You can get there by:
- Plane – Ryanair flight to Dinard-Pleurtuit and then with a quick taxi ride.
- Boat – Condor Ferries from Poole, Jersey and Guernsey to Saint-Malo or Companie Corsair from Saint-Malo to Dinard
- Train – SNCF-Voyages to Dinard via Saint-Malo then bus Illenoo (line 7 – price is from €2.70 to €6 depending on the destination)
- Bus – Illenoo line 7 from Saint-Malo/Rennes or Tibus line 14 from Saint-Malo
Getting around the seaside town of Dinard is very easy as everything is within walking distance. When you get to the town centre and after parking your car (if driving) you can easily wander around. After discovering Dinard, you can also venture a little further and continue your exploration in the nearby towns of Saint-Briac-sur-Mer and Saint-Lunaire.
History of the seaside resort of Dinard
Dinard used to be a small charming village situated on the estuary of the Rance and opposite the walled town of Saint-Malo. However around the 19th century, the English aristocracy fell in love with the the quiet town of the Emerald Coast. With their arrival and later those of the Americans, Dinard became France’s top seaside resort. They made Dinard an upmarket and fashionable seaside town and built grandiose villas by the edge of the sea. About 407 of these villas still remain, they are now listed.
Sadly Dinard lost its fame to the French Riviera but it is still a popular resort for families who enjoy sandy beaches and coastal walks.
Exploring seaside town of Dinard
You can see the villas of former British aristocrats looking over the seafront, venture inside the town and browse the many shops and craft boutiques. The town’s main landmark is the stripy beach tents that decorate the Plage de l’Ecluse during the summer season. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of that since I visited in October however it’s a sight to be seen.
There is lot to see in Dinard and to help people plan your visit, Dinard Tourist Office has come up with maps “Circuits Decouverte” and guided tours. After recharging my iPhone (with the amount of photos I take, my battery life never seems to last more than a few hours) I decided to start with the discovery of la Pointe de la Malouine. It offers an outstanding panorama and an interesting sight of Saint-Malo. If you stand on the cliff, you will see the avenues lined up with the massive villas. Each section of the walk takes about 40 minutes.
Another sight to see is the Yacht Harbour and Promenade au Clair de Lune (Moonlight walk)
Walking further down into the tow and away from the coastline, you see some interesting architecture that are completely different from the villas. I came across the below wall full of different aromatic herbs and plants. Also, there is the book bank in the shape of a little beach hut which I found very cute. People are encouraged to exchange books. What these two things have in common is the fact that people can easily help themselves with either books or herbs. It shows that Dinard has a big sense of community.
Dinard was for a long time the favourite vacation location for rich British, American celebrities and French families. A location where they could dip in the water, lounge on the beach, enjoy the sunshine or spend a day on a boat tour. Now is no different, Dinard continues to be an upmarket resort town thus you can still enjoy some prestigious activities like golf, tennis, kayak or enjoy a few lanes in the swimming pool with heated sea water. I would recommend to leave that last activity to the warmer season. Having said that some die hard people were swimming in the sea!
Dinard is also known as the “Cannes of the North” due to the British Film Festival (every October) has several other events taking place all year round: the International Festival of Young Fashion Designers, Romantic Music Festival, International Boat Show and much more. The red English phone booth and the statue of Alfred Hitchcock show the British influence still remains in Dinard.
Where to eat
As a seaside town, there is an abundance of seafood restaurants in Dinard. However for a taste of the region’s famous galette, you have to stop by Creperie du Roy. Lots of restaurants by the Plage de l’Ecluse were offering Moules-Frites deals.
Where to sleep
Since I was in Dinard only for a day, I didn’t stay overnight. With Dinard’s history, there are lots of hotels where you can have a nice stay. If I ever visit the town in the summer, I would want to book one of these hotels: Le Grand Hotel Barriére above the Yacht Club, Hotel Castelbrac or the Royal Emeraude.
Planning to visit the seaside town of Dinard or perhaps you have already visited? Let me know your thoughts.
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