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Dinard

  • Although its nearest neighbour, Saint-Malo, is known worldwide for the turbulent history of its privateers and sea adventurers and even if from the middle of the 19th century a kind of ?madness' invaded the village, the history of Dinard is much less troubled.
Nobody could imagine, around 1820, that Dinard, a small fishermen's village attached to the town of Saint-Enogat, would within a few years ...
    © Natalia Bratslavsky / 123rf
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

Although its nearest neighbour, Saint-Malo, is known worldwide for the turbulent history of its privateers and sea adventurers and even if from the middle of the 19th century a kind of ?madness' invaded the village, the history of Dinard is much less troubled.

Nobody could imagine, around 1820, that Dinard, a small fishermen's village attached to the town of Saint-Enogat, would within a few years become the 'elegant' Dinard, a chic seaside resort which hosted the 'jet setters' of the Belle Epoque and became one of the pearls on France's Côte d'Émeraude.
Dinard owes this craze to an English lady, Mrs Faber, who, seduced by the scenery and the seaside climate, had a villa built for herself and persuaded some of her aristocratic compatriots to do the same.
The great period of the Dinard seaside resort had just begun. The resort became the world meeting place for jet-setters and grew rapidly, as evidenced by the hundreds of hotels that mushroomed during that period. Along with the boom in the hotel industry, the rich aristocrats rushed to build villas along the coast. (This development continued until the crisis in 1929, which diverted the interest of the bourgeoisie away from Dinard and towards the French Riviera, the new popular holiday resort). These are the same villas (407 of them are classified) that can be seen today, just after the customs checkpoints dotted along the coast and separating further along into three walkways.
You should take a stroll along the moonlit promenade until you reach the Bric-a-Brac district and its villas in particular, which each exhibit a very different style.
Its cosmopolitan architecture is the product of this great period when buildings were sprouting up like mushrooms. There is evidence of the blending of materials and different styles, where the villas give the walkways an eclectic air which creates a surprisingly beautiful and amusing effect.
Other examples of moonlit promenades include the Pointe du Moulinet and the Pointe de la Malouine. As for examples of buildings which have marked the history of the resort, you will find the villa de la Garde, the villa Saint Germain and its medieval style gate or the villa Roche-Pendante with its Neo-Gothic windows.
Even though, today, only magnificent villas remain of its glorious past, Dinard has not lost any of its elegance. In fact, it has become one of the trendiest seaside resorts where you can enjoy, besides its enchanting landscape, a host of activities for a fun filled summer, including water sports, beaches, disco bars and, of course, casinos.

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