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Exploring Dinan and its environs in Brittany

Exploring Dinan and its environs in Brittany

Old Jan 15th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Exploring Dinan and its environs in Brittany

I just spent 5 days in Brittany in the area near Dinan and I've written a little (OK, long) report about exploring that area. I've written the report in a manner that is meant to provide useful information to anyone who is interested in exploring this region and it's full of reference and research material that you can use to plan a vacation in that area and let you know the multitude of places you can visit and things you can do in that area. In addition to Dinan from my home base in the coastal town of Erquy I explored Dinard, Cap Fréhel and Fort-la-Latte, the Cap d'Erquy, Tréguier and several unknown towns and villages that have the official designation of Petite Cité de Caractère, Ville d'Art et d'Histoire and Commune du Patrimoine Rural. Of course you'll see the usual multitude of anonymous tiny country villages and hamlets I love to explore plus lots of scenic coastal and country drives. I'll also recount various myths, legends, anecdotes and local customs and traditions that make Breton culture so rich and interesting. Click on the link to begin your exploration.

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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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Nicely done. I like Brittany alot.
Bruce, I noticed on your site that you are also from Boston.
Thank you.
cigalechanta is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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FMT: Just plain marvelous! Thank you for taking us on your trip to Brittany. I have never been there, and of course, now I must add it to the lengthening list of place to visit in France!
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Oh, thank you so very much. You brought back such lovely memories, FMT. We biked from Dinan all the way to Cancale--and I loved every single second of it. Well, there was that one two-mile hill, but other than that...

I have intense food memories too. In Dinan I started eating mussels in butter and cream and I continued almost all the way up to Mont St. Michelle where I switched to agneau de pré-salé.

Also in Dinan, we had our first Ker-y-Pom. How simple and yet how divine. When we came on another stand in St. Malo, we went back twice.

Thank you for your wonderful photos. Such joy you've brought.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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FMT, thank you so much for bringing back so many beautiful memories. I love Brittany and I fell in love (okay I am in love with France) with Dinan. I love the Cottage, my husband and I had so many great meals there and I love the walk back to our hotel. Thank you FMT
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 06:19 PM
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Beautiful pictures! I've never been to Brittany, but now I would love to go.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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As usual a wonderful report, and you are very generous with all the links and information.
We will be near Dinan for a week in May and hope to drive along some of those roads and visit lots of those places.Our first visit to France was four days spent in Dinan with our son and his new wife [we were in the UK for their wedding]just before we flew back to Australia.It was the start of a love of visiting France and we are looking forward to revisiting Dinan and seeing more of the area as we only visited St Malo that time. We enjoy just wandering around and have been known to head down a lane or two following a faded sign to ruins or'la tour'. Looks like lots of opportunities for that!
You must have a great photo library.
Thank you FMT and Mrs FMT!
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 05:33 AM
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cigalechanta - Yes, I'm from Boston. And aren't you living in Cambridge?

taconic - You now I can help you plan a trip to Brittany.

AlessandaZoe - Two mile hill aside you must have enjoyed that bike ride. I had my own new romance with a certain traditional Breton food, kouign-amman, which is a Breton bread/pastry that essentially consists of sugar and butter with a bit of flour to hold the dense concoction together. Not for the diet conscious. BTW, do you have a blog site where you keep info about your bike journeys? I answer a lot of biking questions on other forums and I always want to refer people to your posts or blogs about biking but I never know how to find them. They are full of such useful info for people seeking bike tours in France.

cafegoddess - I think it's obvious I share your passion for Brittany. That walk down to the port in Dinan is beautiful beyond words, is it not?

scatcat - You've got all your research material for Brittany now so all you have to do is get your plane ticket. What are you waiting for?!

rhon - How lucky for you. I hope I was able to point out a few (or maybe more than few) places you can visit this May. There were still many places I couldn't get to with only 5 days but I'll mention a few other places you might also include. Just outside Dinan you check out Léhon. South of there check out "a village of books" called Bécherel, also a petite cité de caractère. Near Bécherel are a few commune du patrimoine rural, Saint-Juviat, Tréfumel and Guenroc. To the west is Moncontour, another petite cité de caractère. To the east is Combourg, a Ville Historique and just east of there is another petite cité de caractère, Bazouges-la-Pérouse. Just north of Dinan is Saint-Suliac, a commune du patrimoine rural. And west of Dinard is a little artists town I missed called Saint-Briac-sur-Mer. Use my tips about google searching and you'll find the websites for these places.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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FMT: Your report comprises a complete trip plan to Brittany, it seems to me!

All I need to do is get my husband to agree to another trip to France soon! Or maybe to find another traveling companion!
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Brittany looked gorgeous in your photos, even in December with most greenery gone. I had wondered how the villes/villages fleuris look in winter, and now I know--the color is gone, but now the stones take prominence. One of the real treats for me in France is noticing how the use of local stone for building gives a different character to the villages in different areas.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Gorgeous, as always! Thanks very much!
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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FMT..thank you so much for reminding me why we loved Brittany so much in our long ago travels. Your pics are story-tellers. I still do remember the harborside Hotel l'Plage, a lunch of scallops, and the best bowl of mussels..in Erquy, about 30 years ago...and again on a repeat visit about ten years ago!

Stu (also once a Bostonian..Quincy...way back in last century)
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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taconic - Good luck with DH.

Coquelicot - The first few days when we had sun was when the color of the stone really came out, especially since much of the stone in that area is a pinkish sandstone. It really has a warm glow. You know I love my rocks.

joannyc - And thank you for reading!

Stu - I remember where you're from. The only guy on the forums who is from Quincy (where some of my good friends still live). We ate at the Hôtel de la Plage too one night. I can't remember exactly what we had but it was some sort of seafood plate for two with a fondue and it was quite good. Erquy is a nice little place that not many people know about. Lucky you for having found it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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Another wonderful report, FMT. Your photos are marvelous, and to those you add so much interesting and practical information. Now, in addition to numerous Ile de France spots you have featured, I have to think about adding Brittany to my future travel plans.

I love the picture of the gargoyle with the cat atop.
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Old Jan 16th, 2012, 04:09 PM
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I just want to thank you again for taking the time to write this trip report. It is so informative and the pictures are just beautiful. You are always so sweet.

Do you provide tours in Paris?

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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 05:35 AM
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MaineGG- I'm not done giving you places you'll need to put on your itinerary. You better have a lot of time on your hands on your next trip to France.

cafegoddess - That's really nice of you to say so thank you. I do bike tours as day trips in the countryside outside of Paris.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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How kind of you to compliment me, FMT. I chuckled because I've been referring people to YOUR posts for information.

I don't write a blog.

Am noting that so many of us have intense food memories from Brittany, right? As a sidenote, it was only in 2011 that I was able to find ker-y-pom recipes online.

I've been doing Google searches for almost a decade, and any inquiries to foodies resulted with recipes for chaussons aux pommes, which is not the same because chaussons aux pommes uses puff pastry. A key-y-pom is more like an old school apple dumpling. And note the difference in the spelling for the apple part--"pom" versus "pomme". That alone tells you it's from Bretagne!

Here is a picture of one from someone's adventure blog:

Here is a picture of a Ker-Y-Pom stand from some OTHER person's adventure blog:
I'm assuming this was taken in St. Malo because our Dinan stand was on such a tiny street one could not have gotten this picture.

And here are links to two recipes:

The ones we ate looked more like the picture in the first recipe. We did not have chocolate on ours. I just remember BUTTER.

Another thank you, FMT, for making me drool.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Alessandra - It seems butter, sugar and flaky pastry or biscuit must comprise a lot of the deserts in Brittany because that's about all there is in the kouign-amman. The first one I had was just a cheap one I got at the supermarket. Though not much larger than a hamburger I picked it up and I swear it weighed about 1 kilo. About half way into my first bite my teeth almost got stuck and I couldn't even bite all the way through it. Didn't stop me from finishing the whole thing though. The next day I got a good quality one from a bakery and it was much different. Still deliciously rich and dense though. Have a look at this recipe for kouign-amman and tell me if you think it would make a good diet food (50% flour and 50% sugar and butter):


I'm able to answer a lot of general questions about biking but your posts are really good at describing bike tours and you've had a lot of different experiences with the tour operators as well as having done tours in different regions of France. I think yours are some of the most helpful posts anyone looking to do a bike tour in France could read. Look me up if you come to Paris and we'll go for a ride.
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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I lived on Newbury Street Back Bay,Boston for 40+
years, now in Cambridge
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Wow, that's a long time on Newbury Street. I bet you saw quite a few changes over the years. I'm sure you must be happy in Cambridge too.
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