Once pegged as the hot-spot for luxury sea-side holidays in Northern France, time has taken nothing away from the extravagant architecture and attractions on offer in Dinard. And there is certainly no shortage of attractions, with a selection of fine restaurants and lively beachside bars, not to mention a thriving community of boutique retailers.
While the St Malo merchants who built the magnificent town houses that dot Dinard are long gone, their magnificent mansions remain – many of which are now hotels. Among them is the palatial Villa Reine Hortense (19 rue de la Malouine), which has its own private beach, lush gardens and rooms that overlook the navy waters off the Côte d'Émeraude. Equally grand is Le Manoir de La Vicomté (6 avenue Georges Pian), a 16th-century manor 3km from the town centre but in close proximity to Prieuré Beach. For something more intimate, try Hôtel-Restaurant Printania (5 avenue George V), which offers comfortable rooms and lovely sea views.
La Place du Marché Halles and the Place de la République should be your starting points for a spot of retail therapy Dinard-style, particularly if you’re in the market for fashion. Most of what’s on offer is upmarket and includes plenty of classic Breton stripes. La Palette Bretonne in nearby St Malo (4 rue de Dinan, 20-minute drive’ away) is a one-stop-shop for classy souvenirs – think retro postcards, prettily boxed local sweets, Breton sea salt and Quimper pottery. Prices are high though, so if you’d rather not splash the cash, try the indoor market at Halles de la Concorde, which is open every day from 7am to 1.30pm.
There’s no shortage of good places to eat in Dinard and you’re in luck if fish tickles your taste buds – seafood is both plentiful and cheap. Start with a Kir Breton (a surprisingly tasty combination of cassis and cider) at Café Davy's (2 rue Yves-Verney), a lively beachside bar, before tucking into the excellent fish at L'Escale à Corto (12 avenue Georges V). Le Balafon (31 rue de la Vallée) is cosy and offers a hearty menu that makes a meal of even the most of unsavoury-sounding animal parts: the parmesan tart served with crispy trotters is a case in point.
Festival Tennis Dinard
Dinard’s tennis festival brings together young players from all over Europe for a tournament as well as the chance to find out more about the sport via exhibitions and talks.
International Festival of the Young Fashion Designers of Dinard
Headed up by leather specialist, Jean-Claude Jitrois, the annual event is great for getting to know the local fashion talent as well as a good spot for picking up a stand-out – and unique – addition to your wardrobe.
Dinard Comedy Festival
You’ll have to brush up on your French to get the joke but if Gallic comedy is your cup of tea, then Dinard’s comedy festival is a treat and includes performances from top names including Gaspard Proust and Nicole Ferroni.
Fête de la Pêche
A must for fish fanatics, the annual Fête de la Pêche includes exhibitions celebrating Dinard’s seafaring heritage, plenty of food and the chance to meet some of the local seadogs.
Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard
A more unlikely setting for a celebration of all things British film would be hard to imagine but Dinard’s British film festival has been running for over two decades and remains as popular as ever. Highlights include preview screenings and the odd celebrity appearance.