Just four hours away from Paris, in northwest France, the delightfully preserved Dinan seems to be from another time. All things considered, little seems to have changed for centuries. The lovely medieval town center features beautiful cobbled streets, artist studios and especially memorable houses. Dinan is undeniably one of Brittany’s most charming towns. The 2 miles of protective stone ramparts formerly kept the town safe from pirates in the 13th century.
Walk through the English Garden to St. Catherine’s Tower for a stunning view of the old port. Continue on to the Place du Guesclin, the sprawling town square. Merchants have filled the square for over 700 years to sell their crafts and produce. Lastly, follow the steep rue du Jerzual back into town to enjoy some local favorites, including cider, traditional galettes or a deliciously fresh seafood lunch. Visit in the spring or summer to enjoy the coast, sandy beaches or even sail to the nearby islands.
INSIDR RECOMMENDATION HIGHLIGHTS ON OUR INTERACTIVE MAP
Plan your visit to Dinan
When to visit Dinan
Dinan is a charming town at any time but especially lovely during the spring and summer months. However, if you plan on visiting in winter, try and go on a clear day to fully enjoy the views over Dinan, the port and the coast.
How long is needed to visit Dinan
Dinan is an ideal day trip destination with its walkable cobblestone streets. Most of the main sights can be seen in just one day. Although, if you want to fully experience the town, the local cuisine and nature, we recommend spending the night for a relaxing weekend in what is often called Brittany’s prettiest town.
What should I wear to visit Dinan
Being a coastal town, Dinan features a relaxed and casual atmosphere. No need to dress up! Certainly do pack for the season and for any outdoor activities you plan on doing (hiking, sailing, etc.). If you want to get into the spirit of Brittany, you can even wear the classic marinière, or striped shirt.
What is there to see in Dinan
Dinan’s old town is full of narrow streets which will make it seem as if time has stood still. The quaintest part is Place des Merciers where you’ll find the best examples of the town’s half-timbered houses; just opposite is the pedestrianised Rue de la Cordonnerie, also known as ‘thirsty street’ as it has nine bars.
Château de Dinan
Château du Dinan, built from 1382, consists of a keep and is also known as Donjon de la duchesse Anne (Keep of the Duchess Anne). This was built by John IV of Montfort, Duke of Brittany and once served as a dungeon and jail but now house the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville de Dinan which chronicles the evolution of the city from prehistoric times to the early 20th century.. If you don’t suffer from vertigo, I recommend you go up to the Dungeon top platform as it boasts prime views of the city and its surrounding countryside.
- Address: Rue du Château, 22100 Dinan
- Open daily from June – September 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; October – May 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm
- Closed on December 25 and the whole month of January
- €4 for adults, €1.55 for children
Basilique Saint Sauveur
The Basilique Saint Sauveur is a huge cathedral built in the early Gothic style. The charming stained glass windows line the large interior, pocketed with cozy alcoves and small alters. It’s located right in the center of the city, at Place Saint Sauveur. Make sure to stop by and savor the 700 years of history preserved inside the cathedral walls.
Remember to stroll around the outside of the building: there is a nice garden behind the basilica that has views across the river and valley beyond, then a short distance east you can climb the 13th century Tour Sainte-Catherine for even better views.
La Tour Sainte-Catherine
After your visit to the basilica of Saint-Saveur, going to St. Catherine’s Tower is an essential step. The stone tower was constructed in the 13th century. The tower measures 16 meters high from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the old port and surrounding nature. Only certain sections of the city ramparts remain intact. Luckily, the tower is located in a relatively well preserved area and even offers a glimpse into the town’s medieval history.
Streets in Dinan
The rue du Jerzual is the most famous, as well as, the most photographed street in Dinan. It links the city to river Rance. The street has a slope of over 75 meters, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes if you plan on walking up it! It begins at the intersection of rue de la Lainerie and rue de la Poissonnerie and continues until the city gate.
How to get to Dinan from Paris
Paris to Dinan by car
Traveling from Paris by car is a great way to get to Dinan! This is especially a great option if you’re traveling in a group as you can split the car rental and gasoline costs and it’ll come out cheaper than going by train. You’ll also get to pass by some big towns like Le Mans and Rennes where you could perhaps make some pitstops for lunch or a little bit of sightseeing!
- Travel time: 4 hours (401 km)
- We have a complete guide to renting a car and driving in France.
Paris to Dinan by train
To get to Dinan from Paris by train, you’ll have to catch one from Gare Montparnasse and get off at the main station of Dinan. There are 9 trains that depart for Dinan daily with the first train from 7:40 am and the last train leaving at 5:57 pm. It’s quite practical and easy. Plus, it’s a good option if you’re traveling solo!
- Travel time: 4 hours with one train change at Gare de Dol de Bretagne
- Price of return tickets: from €140 during high season, from as low as €80 during low season
- Book your train tickets here.
Paris to Dinan by bus
There is also a bus option from Paris to Dinan, but as you might have already guessed, it will take a much longer time. The bus will depart from Paris Bercy Station but will only take you to Gare de Rennes from where you’ll have to take 2 trains to arrive to Dinan. The upside is, this is the cheapest option and a good option if you enjoy long trips on the road!
- Travel time: 7 hours with 2 changes at Gare de Rennes and Gare de Dol de Bretagne.
- Price for 1-way bus ticket: 10€ on average
- Click here to book your bus to Rennes.