Arrondissement de Dinan

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31 travelers at this place:

  • Day94

    In Which the Tables are (Over)turned

    September 17, 2017 in France

    Day 27 of 2017 European ride turned out to be one of the best days we have had so far. The rain has abated and we were all able to ride out of St Malo in fine and sunny conditions. This area is famous for its huge tidal surges and impressive waves. The entire waterfront of St Malo is protected by a massive stone wall which extends far out along the coast. This wall provided the perfect path to begin our ride.

    We then proceeded past the massive Citadel of the "old city", made famous in the novel "All the Light we Cannot See". After the cold and wet of the past few days it was delightful to be able to savour the sunshine and ride to the accompaniment of hundreds of Atlantic seagulls. It did not take long for the spirits of our riders to soar and the recent challenges were already starting to fade into vague memories. (Actually at our age, memories of most recent occurrences quickly fade into oblivion).

    Although St Malo is an apparently very old city, it was actually almost completely destroyed by allied bombing and shelling in WW2. What you see now is mostly a reconstruction of the original buildings.

    The ride followed the Rance Estuary for most of the day and we were able to see the rapid flow of water as the tide turned. There is actually a large tidal power station built here that harnesses the power of these supertides. This was built back in 1966 and at that time it was the world's first tidal power station.

    A short distance further up we stopped to examine an old building and discovered that it was a flour mill that had been powered for hundreds of years by the rides and only stopped working in the 1980s. We happened to arrive just in time for a local historian to give us a complete tour of the 4 story structure and its workings.

    The ride itself was flatter than some of our recent days but still had a fair collection of climbs that served to get the heart beating heavily. For the four ladies of the "electric peloton", this gave them repeated excuses to roar past the rest of us who were still battling our way to the top of each climb. Sometimes the thought of an ebike does seem very tempting.

    The final 10 km or so followed the bank of the Rance and was one of the most beautiful bike paths I have ever had the privilege to cycle along. This took us all the way to the amazing historical city of Dinan. This spectacularly well preserved city is packed with beautiful half timbered buildings, some dating back to the 15th century. The biggest challenge was wheeling our bikes up the rough and steep cobble stoned streets to our hotel, which turned out to be situated in the highest part of the town. Maybe what they say about pain might actually be true. And in case you don't know what they say, it goes something like this "Pain is weakness leaving the body".

    It was only much later in the day that things really started to heat up and I experienced something I had never seen before. Our restaurant for the evening was the "Fleur du Sel", only a short walk from our hotel. Our group of 13 was welcomed at the door by the tall owner with the incredibly deep voice and we were ushered to our seats in the rear room.

    Although the Ghostriders were obviously the guest of honor and had been allocated the largest table, there were also a couple of smaller groups of French speakers in the same room. Over the next hour or so the noise level and merriment in the room grew steadily, along with the temperature. The thoughtful host/owner then obliged by opening a high window to let the evening breeze in.

    This was a kind gesture but it sent the temperature of the room plummeting. One of the Frenchmen at the next table decided it was time to show his ingenuity and bravery by closing the window. Since it was too high to reach by hand he started poking at it with an iron rod. His antics were greatly egged on and cheered by us. He started to get bolder, reaching higher and higher in an attempt to close the window. The cheering grew louder. Maybe we should have realised then that this might not end well, but we didn't.

    The Frenchmen's friends upped the ante by lifting him high above the table to poke the window from a better angle. He almost succeeded, but just as we all started to clap loudly, disaster struck. The large fellow toppled over and fell right into the middle of their table. The table collapsed and the guy fell right into the middle of a confusion of broken glasses, wine, food and cutlery. The whole place immediately fell silent. The floor was strewn with broken plates and the remains of the owners finest glassware and cuisine. The broken table lay in pieces. The owner came back in, looked at the carnage and he might have said "Sacre Bleu", but I think it was more like a string of French oaths. Everyone was embarrassed. It certainly was memorable. The food was a little delayed but our desserts were excellent and the owner's fury did seem to abate a little as the night wore on. We certainly won't forget it in a hurry.
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  • Day40

    France, Mont St Michel

    July 17, 2017 in France

    Well, we certainly weren't disappointed. The advice had been to get there early as it is apparently the 2nd most visited tourist attraction in France, and so looking at 50k drive we left about 9am. The forecast had been for a fine day of 27 degrees but when we left it was a very foggy 19. It is quite well organised - you arrive at a large car park with visitors centre and can walk the 2.5k's to the Mont or take a bus type thing or horse and cart. We walked. All the better to take some absolutely stunning photos. We arrived at low tide so got the full vista of the Mont surrounded by sand. And it really is everything I expected it to be. Once you get there it is quite small, all narrow winding cobbled streets leading to a very steep straight up hill walk to the abbey which has had pride of place at the top of the rock since about the 12th century. There is some outstanding art work in quirky places throughout the abbey - I particularly liked the big gold dragons foot gripping the top of one of the battlements, and the large eagle trapped in a stone cloister. There is not much village to speak of, what was there is now a conglomerate of very touristy shops and some food places. Roge spied a lovely looking restaurant on our way in and very fortuitously booked us a table for later. Who would have thought it would get so crazy busy?? It was a good thing we were ready to leave when the crowds were at there worst. The fog had cleared and it had got quite hot by the time we had to walk back to the car - we got a whole different set of pic's on the return trip.Read more

  • Day39

    France, Dinan

    July 16, 2017 in France

    We left Amiens in plenty of time to have a nicely paced drive to Dinan to meet the host at our cottage between 2.30 and 3.30. What we got was an absolutely bloody nightmare of a drive, not realising that with Bastille Day on Friday everyone, and I mean everyone, in France had decided to hit the road for a long weekend and they all heading in the same direction as us. Every other autobahn and autostrada we have driven on have a very modern and efficient approach to collecting tolls - you either buy a toll pass and stick it on your windscreen and get zapped as you through under a camera or, as in Germany they're free. Not so in France. Apparently, and i don't know how true this is, the different departments in France couldn't agree on a national system as they were all fearful of loosing money so there are tolls booths at the beginning and end of small stretches of autostrada. You have to pay, or get a ticket for the next stretch at each of these points. An extra two hours was added to our trip. We finally arrived in Dinan and after a bit of confusion (sometimes the GPS is really bloody unreliable) we found the cottage and it is delightful. Right by the edge of the river and close to the Port of Dinan. There is quite a bit of history to this town and we made the decision to sleep in and just explore Dinan on our first full day. Dinan was originally a trade village and an important strategic and defensive post back in the 1500's. It is known for its half timbered houses, well preserved castle wall and castle and keep, abbey and medieval town. It is quite steep (very) leading up from the port through narrow little cobbled streets. It is also very heavily tourist -y here, most from over the water in England. Man they can whinge, but enough of that, I could go for ages on conversations I've overheard and then I'd start to sound whingey. We walked up to the castle, walked the wall, went into the castle, and were lucky enough to be here for the annual Harp Festival. I can see why it never really took off as an instrument. I'm pretty sure there wouldn't have been much heading banging or mosh pits going on back in the day. Had a great lunch at a restaurant serving sea food given we're only about 10k's from the coast just about everyone serves moules (mussels) at the least. Tomorrow we are off to the second most visited attraction in France - the Mont St Michel. We have been advised to get there early to avoid the hordes. Can't wait - this is on my bucket list.Read more

  • Day41

    France, St Malo

    July 18, 2017 in France

    St Malo is a very large fortified town about 30k's down the coast from where we are at Dinan. Dinan is on the river Rance and this used to be a major thoroughfare for transporting fresh goods to St Malo. At our end it is quite small, at the St Malo end, the exact opposite. St Malo is a modern day thriving commercial port, and this sits quite comfortably with the historic part of town. The fortified wall is impressive, dates from the 14thC and is largely still intact, particularly on the seaward side. We had a lazy start to the day, leaving Dinan about 9.30am. It was already quite hot and 31 degrees by the time we arrived in St Malo. This is the hottest day we've had since leaving Lake Como. And, as was the case there, it seems every hot day has to finish in a thunderstorm. It arrived a whole lot earlier though. We were watching it build most of the day and just got tickets for a water taxi to take us across the inlet to another town, Dinard. It was starting to look pretty serious so we made the decision to skip the ride and go onto a Chateau that we had planned to see. Half way there we revised again and went straight home, driving most of the way through it. Luckily for us we managed to see a fair bit of old St Malo - a town now high on my list of great towns. Roge hasn't seemed to mind the early return home - he gets a whole afternoon to watch Le Tour!Read more

  • Day42

    France: river, village, chateau

    July 19, 2017 in France

    Started the day with a nice little trip to the station to book our tickets from Nantes to Paris for Friday. Seemed like it'd be much easier this way and we'd be guaranteed a seat. We have to drive to Nantes, about 2 hours away to leave the car. Hoping it all goes like clock work....buying the tickets did, Roge is a bloody expert at this kind of thing. Back down to the Port of Dinan for a boat ride up the river Rance. An hour and half later we had been through a lock, had seen a really nice little village called Lehon that we plan on visiting and learned some interesting history about the river and this area. Roger had found an interesting looking village only a short way from us (the one we wanted to visited the day of the storm) and so we decided to go there, and then onto a chateau in a nearby town. The village, Dol de Bretagne, is known for its massive and very old Cathedral. I have to say I've seen a lot, inside and out, and this one has to be one of my favourites. I'm not much interested in the activities that go on inside, but the architecture. This one was something else. Originally from Roman times, burnt down in 1203, and rebuilt 3 centuries ago in gothic style, it has two impressive towers. Well, one is impressive. The other tower was never completed as the story goes that the devil dismantled overnight whatever construction work had been done during the day. Interestingly, this Cathedral was also part of the towns defences and has crenelated canon walls. We walked around the town, the usual very old medieval houses, some half timbered. Just lovely.
    Onto the Chateau. I have to say, I was surprised. Didn't find out until we leaving that the Chateau is the Arthurian legendary castle of Lancelot, it rests in Merlin the Wizard's magical forest of Broceliande and guards the mystical lake of the sorceress and fairy Queen Viviane the lady of the lake. And what a Chateau it was. It was built in the 11th and 12th century and had a connection with the Cathedral we had just been too. The Chateau is also famous for being the childhood home of Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand. It was completely trashed during the revolution and left unattended for one hundred years. It remains under private ownership of descendants of the original family and is only open by escorted tour. I had forgotten how boring those tours are when they're all in French. Nonetheless, a very interesting and remarkable Chateau, with a few interesting stories. Apparently back in the day it was the "thing" to include a black cat in the walls of any new section of construction (a living one) to chase out bad spirits. When undertaking some recent reno's they uncovered the mummified body of one poor kitty. The believed some weird shit back in medieval days. The Chateau is in 62 acres of parkland with a magnificent tree lined driveway- I imagine it was heavily forested back then. Would have looked fantastic.
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  • Day43

    France, Bretagne, coast

    July 20, 2017 in France

    Since it's our last day here we decided to explore some more of the coast since we're so close to it, and it's so beautiful. We both love a French market and hadn't caught one yet. Dinan's was today so we headed up there early. And I mean up there. We are located right down by the river port and Dinan proper is right at the top of a very steep hill. As expected, the market didn't disappoint, but I have some questions...why can't we get garlic like that in Australia, why do roasting chickens smell so damn good at French market? The market is held in the old town square, surrounded by beautiful old buildings, selling lots of yummy fresh food. I just love it that you can go to a market and get your fruit and veg, meat and fish, cheese. There are no shops selling this produce in towns. Everyone waits for, and shops at the weekly market. From the market we headed west to Cap Frehel. There is an old lighthouse on a very rugged piece of coast. It was quite a walk in and very windy. It was/is a key navigational point for St Malo - the coast is very rocky around here. There is an old lighthouse here from the 1700's next to one built in the 1946 as the one previously had been blown up by the Germans. From there around the coast a few k's to Fort Latte which has been a fortified headland since about the 12th century. For the life of me I just don't get this one. The coast is really rocky here with big cliffs and a beach just around the corner. No invaders would attempt to come ashore at this rocky cliff face, until of course you build a fort and then they all want in. There was nothing to protect. Makes no sense to me. The fort itself was quite interesting, draw bridge, dungeons, privately owned (how does that even happen?), beautifully maintained, great views. Couldn't get a latte!

    We missed visiting Dinard when we were at St Malo so decided to head there today - same bit of coast, just on a bit further. Drove around and around and around, couldn't find a park and didn't see anything that would encourage us to stop so decided to press on to Cancale which we had heard great things about. It didn't disappoint. A beautiful side town with a fabulous selection of seafood restaurants along the shoreline. For those of you who have missed the food photos check out today's lunch photo- I think you'll be impressed. We were. We both liked this place soooo much, could easily come back here for an extended visit. After lunch, straight into a bar with a telly so Roge could watch the last of today's Le Tour. Tomorrow....Paris. Yipeee!!'m
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  • Day38

    Nächster Abschnitt

    September 13 in France

    Heute in der Bretagne angekommen, steh an einem Campingplatz, alles aufladen und Wäsche waschen... 😆 Hier ist schon mediterranes Klima 👌😎

  • Day41

    Bin immer noch da...

    September 16 in France

    Auf diesem netten Platz, haben in diversen Wanderungen den Ort und das Meer erkundet. F1 WE genossen und Wäsche gemacht... 😆 👋👌🙂

  • Day42

    Fahrrad Tour

    September 17 in France

    Bei der 18km Tour (für mich ganz cool 😎) hab ich noch ein paar Bilder gemacht... 👌🙂Ich find sie schön 😜

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Arrondissement de Dinan

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