Dinan is located in the northwest part of France and sits on the River Rance. The walled city is divided by a cliff with part of the town on the top and a long winding lane to the bottom where the rest of the town sits along the river. This is a medieval town with a walking path on top of much of the walls. The older section of town has beamed buildings, great little shops, and is lovingly preserved. About 10,000 people live here and most of the residents are in the more modern part of the city. The best view of the town is across the river on the opposite cliff where you can see the rocky outcrop, surrounded by ramparts and the upper town looks down on the peaceful harbor. The quayside has nice restaurants, a couple of bed and breakfast homes, a few shops and the marina. A walk across the bridge leads to the wharf to a twin city of Lanvallay. A ride down the River Rance will take you all the way north to the sea.
We spent several days in Dinan, walking around the city on the walls and down below in and out of the shops. Charming, half-timbered and cobbled homes line the old streets in the Apport district. Streets are named for old trades that made the city so prosperous. Rue de la Lainerie (wool workers) and Rue du Petit-Pain (bakers). The homes were built by craftsmen and traders. On the ground floors, the windows display wares for the shops while the owners sleep above. The Rue du Jersual is the main thoroughfare down to the wharf and is lined with shops and homes along the way. Do not be afraid to walk down here – a bus on the other side of the river will bring you back to the top! The long cobbled street is preserved from its hayday when merchants and travelers climbed up and down between the city and the wharf.
If you retire in Dinan, France, if only for a little while, you would find this to be a great home base while exploring Brittany. About 250 miles from Paris, Dinan is on a major train line. There is a hospital in Dinan and another one in St. Malo just a short drive away. You can rent a one bedroom flat in town for about $1,200 US a month. Dinan is rated as quite low in crime and the cost of living is average for rural France.
Dinan is both an old town and a new town. It has preserved traces of its history on every street and town square and along the quayside. A visit will have you admiring so many things about Dinan that give it architectural charm and history.