Dinan Things to Do Tips by hquittner Top 5 Page for this destination
Dinan Things to Do: 33 reviews and 95 photos
The Rance and the Small Port in the Lower Town
Behind the apse of the Church of St.-Sauveur is a garden called the English Garden (which may have once been the church cemetery). In the garden is an access to the Ramparts with excellent views down into the Rance Valley and back into the Garden.(There are other Tips on this).
View of Nave and Apse
AS predicted by the West Front, the interor is an architectural mixture. The South wall of the nave is Romanesque with a blind arcade below and half of the clerestory bays occluded of windows. There are lots of colonnettes all with simply carved capitals. The North side has an aisle. It , the chapels, chancel and transepts are 15-16C Flamboyant Gothic. An elaborate altar, baldachin and crucifix are 18C additions. Some interesting contents are a 12C font, some 15C and modern glass of qualty and importantly a cenotaph of the great local hero Bertrand du Guesclin (shown in a General Tip on him). The carving is worth lingering over, both for its quantity and its rarity (again a separate General Tip).
Lower Part of West Front
The Basilica is an interesting example of the mixture of Romansque and Gothic styles. The lower West Front is early 12C and above the central door is a Flamboyant Gothic 15C gable. A chapel at the right is also 15C. (The inside is also a stdy in contrasts-another Tip). The central door is a set of recessed arches and the lateral bays are sealed and have statuary niches but with colonettes like the center. All of the colonettes have simple figured carved capitals. The voussoirs of the central arches and winged lions and grotesque faces above the arches are finer. The statues are worn and stand on lions. There is a tympanum of a Welcoming Christ with Censing Angels (undoubtedly retouched). There are few examples like this in this part of France.
The Port from the Bridge
From the old bridge we saw the Rance river and the once active port now only a place for excursion boats and yachts and the like but it is certainly nicely situated (if you do not mind the climb to the center of town). Some take excursions down the river and bus back (not us).
The Gothic Bridge & Viaduct in Distance
After exiting the gate we continued down r. du Petit-Fort among more old houses to reach the Gothic Bridge with marvelous views of the rampart bastion and modern viaduct above.
The Ramparts & Jerzual Gate
We are getting old and we have traversed many other Ramparts like these in previous times at other places, but if you have the energy a walk around the town walls is in order (do at least part of them). We noticed the typical Madonna and Child in a niche on the inner side of the gate (inner protection) as well as the heavy protective bastion on the outer side and what remains of the moat (fosse). (Some other aspects were seen in the back garden of the fine hotel at which we stayed and dined).
Clock-Tower; r. de l'Horloge
Our walk through the upper part of Dinan began by walking from our hotel east between the Places Champ Clos an du Guesclin with the latter charging at us with sword at the ready on horseback (a statue in his honor). We turned north on the r. de l’Horloge with the clock tower and belfry in view. On its right we saw the tourist office. Just opposite that structure was a half-timbered building called the “House of the Gisant” which had beneath its overhang such a funeral figure (found during restorations long ago). At this point a street to the right led to the Basilica of St. Saviour (which we did not visit) with attractive shops. (See Shopping). We instead continued on to the Pl. des Cordeliers where we went right on r. de la Lainerie which became the r. du Jerzual. The plateau of the town center began to fall off steeply her toward the enclosing ramparts and the Jerzual Gate. Most of the houses we passed were of stone,(15C and later) but a few were older 1/2 timbered, some with carved beams or freestanding wooden figures.
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