This chic city on the Côte d’Émeraude is now a popular holiday destination: in earlier times it was the home to Saint-Malo's shipping merchants who built some of the magnificent villas you will see on the cliff tops. Around 1850 an American aristocrat named Coppinger really brought to city to life, building a mansion in the turreted style, which became Dinard's singular contribution to the French architecture. The British continued the development, building Imitation Tudor villas and baroque mini-palaces, which are still visible today, along the cliffs above the Rance and the Gulf of Saint Malo. Some have suggested that Dinard is a “French Brighton”, maybe a small Brighton, something along the lines of how Brighton must have looked in the second half of the 19th century.
Although the city is only 10 minutes by waterbus across the Rance from the “Corsair City” of St.Malo, until 1967 it was a lot further if you were driving!! Getting from one side of the river to the other meant driving south to La Ville és Nonais, crossing the river, and then driving along the other side, a distance of around 40 kilometres. Now you can drive along the RD 169 that crosses the Rance Barrage, an 800-metre long dam on the Rance, the world’s largest tidal barrage. The Malouins, when they are in a bad mood, complain bitterly that this road has unfortunately brought Dinard much closer to them. What more proof do you need of the independent spirit of St.Malo!
Four kilometres south is Dinard Pleurtuit Sant-Malo Airport with daily connections to the UK courtesy of Ryanair and Aurigny Air Services. This is a small airport that fulfils the basic needs of the traveller, considering the number of passengers using it daily, we would consider it to be rather Spartan, providing only the bear essentials. As there are NO bus or train services from the airport to either Dinard or St.Malo, we would recommend that you either arrange for friends to meet you or arrange car hire in advance. However taxis are plentiful with prices around 13€ to Dinard and 20€ to St.Malo, journeys taking around 20 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
Grande Plague or Plage de l'Ecluse - This is the main beach, bordered by luxurious hotels, the casino and the convention centre (Palais de Congrès), a strip of sand that extends to the end of the cove formed by Moulinet and Malouine Points. Very popular, especially for families with children and holidaymakers, unfortunately it gets very crowded on hot days.
Aquarium & Musée de la Mer - 24 pools filled with fish and crustaceans from Breton waters. Next-door is the museum where you will find an exhibition that depicts the exploits of the polar explorer Jean-Baptiste Étienne Auguste Charcot, and his boat the Porquoi Pas that was built locally.
Musee du Site Balneaire- This interesting museum housed in Villa Eugénie, built in honour of Napoleon III’s wife, traces the history of Dinard and Brittany region. The displays will give you an insight into 19th and early 20th century life in the area.
Plage de St Énogat - This smaller and slightly isolated beach lies in a picturesque setting beneath steep cliffs, a pleasant 20 minute walk from the town. This is the place to go if you are looking for peace and solitude in the sun.
Promenade du Clair de Lune & Plage du Prieure – A relaxing stroll along the sea wall, past the multi-coloured flowerbeds and lush Mediterranean vegetation, leads you to the beach, named after the priory founded here in 1324. The beach, surrounded by trees that provide shade on hot days, has magnificent views over the Rance estuary.
If shopping is your thing, then Rue du Marechal-Leclerc, Rue Levavasseur, and Boulevard du President-Wilson are the main shopping streets, great for taking a relaxing stroll while browsing through what is on offer.The shops along these streets sell a wide range of goods, including men's and ladies fashion; arts and sculptures; local arts and crafts; gifts; local food; and all sorts of other interesting items. If you are staying at one of the big hotels in the town, you may well be given discount vouchers for some shops!!!