Beautiful Brittany: Dinan

I had a few days off of work last month, and I thought it was worth taking a road trip to Brittany (in English), also known as Bretagne (in French) and Breizh (in Breton, the local language of Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh).  I’ve heard wonderful stories of the beauty of the region, as well as the unique food and culture.  The next question was: Where to go in Brittany?  Brittany is a large region, and a few days wouldn’t allow us to do it all.  So I decided to do my first trip exploring Dinan, Dinard, Saint Malo in Brittany and Mont Saint Michel in Normandy.  If I had the time and energy, I also wanted to try to make my way to the Pink Granite Coast, which was a little further out.

We left the Paris area around 9:30am and one pit stop and 5 hours later, we found ourself in the little town of Dinan.  After 5 hours on the road, our first priority was… food.  Unfortunately, Dinan is like most French towns and their restaurants strictly close at 2pm.    Wandering the quaint little streets and finding restaurant after restaurant closed, we were almost resigned to eating a sad little baguette sandwich.  Thankfully, we found a little tea shop opened and they were actually still serving lunch!  I decided to order an omelette with lardons, potatoes and cheese.  It honestly was the best omelette I’ve ever had.  I don’t know what they did to the potatoes, but they were the perfect texture, temperature and had amazing flavor.

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Best. Omelette. Ever.

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The dessert table

After an amazing lunch like that, I really didn’t have room for dessert, but… how can you NOT think of dessert when a table like this is staring at you?!?  Even better, we could do 2 half portions so that we could try TWO different desserts!  I decided to go for one scone and a half piece of a molten dark chocolate cake (moelleux au chocolat).  With all that great food in me, I think I almost literally had to be rolled out of the restaurant.  I heard great things about the food of Brittany, and we were definitely getting this gastronomical trip off to a great start.

After all of this, we definitely needed to walk all that food off!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect in Dinan, but what we found surprised us.  It was like taking a step back into time, with its narrow winding streets and beautiful antique homes.  It truly was like something out of a Disney movie.  I may or may not have started singing songs from Beauty and the Beast…

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The clock tower

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Place des Merciers

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Place des Merciers

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Looking down at the city ramparts

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Walking down Rue du Petit Fort towards the river

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Like a Disney movie…

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By the port of Dinan

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On the Rance, the river that runs through Dinan

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Even the street signs are interesting here

At the bottom of Rue du Petit Fort, right near the river, I was immediately attracted by a cute little patisserie.  In the window, I saw the famous Breton “Kouign Amann” (pronounced “queen amaan”).  They were beautiful, glistening, and begging me to take them home.  After buying them, I asked the woman in the patisserie what the ingredients were.  She said (in French):  “flour, butter, sugar, more butter, and more sugar”.  It’s true – the traditional recipe of the Kouign Amann is 40% dough, 30% butter and 30% sugar, making it 100% delicious.

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The inviting Kouign Amanns

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I loved the box from this patisserie, almost as much as the Kouign Amanns inside. Almost.

There was one last thing to see in this quaint little town: the Chateau of Dinan.  The Chateau of Dinan is a fortified tower that sits on top of the ramparts.  Unfortunately, it was closed by the time we got there, but we were able to get a view of the exterior in the setting sun.

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The Chateau of Dinan

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I think that of all the towns we visited in our brief time in Brittany, Dinan was our favorite architecturally.  We liked it so much that we had to make a lunch stop on our last day, trying the famous Breton crêpes at La Cour Saint Saveur.

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I decided to be adventurous for my last Breton meal and get this galette with the local Andouille de Guémené, a sausage made with tripe. It was actually quite good (once you got past the odd smell).

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I went traditional for my dessert crêpe, with pear, chocolate, almonds and salted caramel.

Our Next Stop:  Mont Saint Michel…


À Savoir:

  • Au Thé Gourmand, 19 rue de l’apport, Dinan, 22100.  Open Tuesday – Sunday 12pm – 7pm.  Tel: 02.96.87.48.45.  https://www.facebook.com/AuTheGourmandDinan/
  • La Cour Saint Saveur, 18 rue de l’Horloge, Dinan, 22100.  Tel: 02.96.39.03.64.
  • La Maison de Tatie Jeanne, 82 rue du Petit Fort, Dinan, 22100.  Tel: 02.96.87.03.20.  http://www.maison-tatiejeanne.fr

 

4 responses to “Beautiful Brittany: Dinan

  1. Pingback: Exploring the Port Town of Honfleur | Je Parle Franglais·

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