Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Brittany's best: Dinan by day and then by night

Well, I may be home from Brittany now, but I've still got a lot more beauty to share with you. On the first day of our little Breton break, the Hosie fam (and I mean the entire Hosie fam, older brother included for once!) headed off to the beautiful medieval town, Dinan. 

Perched on top of a hill and full of cobbled streets and lovely old buildings (some from as far back as the 13th century!), Dinan really is beautiful. It's one of those really charming towns. To be fair, all I need is cobbled streets and I'm happy.

We wandered round, past the boutiques, brasseries and biscuiteries (naturally, I made everyone stop at all the regional foodie shops.)

I really love boulangeries.

Dinan is full of very pretty buildings - I thought it was all almost Stratford-Upon-Avon-esque. I also love that every house I saw in Brittany seemed to be dripping with flowers, particularly pinky, purpley, bluey hydrangeas, which I love.

Some people are really stuffy about looking in the touristy shops, but I for one love browsing what may initially appear to be naff and tacky. You never know what you might find.

I love these vintage plaques, especially having studied Banania branding in relation to French colonisation at uni last year. Yup, this French student knows a bit of stuff. Supposedly, anyway. 

See, they really do wear Breton stripes. I've found it genuinely surprising how many French people have been wearing them. Evidently Brittany is where I belong. 

This amused me. Crêpe me, baby. 

There are so many interesting things to look at when exploring a new place, but when you're in a foreign country it's even better. I find it amazing how much you can learn about a culture just by strolling round. I love it. 

Looking for a loo (classic me), I stumbled upon a lovely covered market, Les Halles, into which we went. Don'tcha just love a good market, particularly abroad?


Of course, we sampled all the tasters, including some amazing crème de caramel au beurre salé. It's basically a dulce de leche sort of spread, but with a salted caramel flavour. Another regional speciality, and a real winner in my books. Luckily, mama agreed with me, and we bought a jar to take home YAY! I'll have mine spread on toast with sliced banana, drizzled warm over vanilla ice cream, or, knowing me, straight out of the jar with a teaspoon. Don't judge. 

We also found an absolutely stunning gothic church, l'église Saint Malo, and had a little lookie inside. With such incredible stained glass windows and ornate architecture, it's amazing that such an impressive church was built so long ago, purely for worship, in what apparently isn't even a city. (Dinan is technically a town, I believe.)

Beautiful, huh? And such a wonderful place to stop and reflect for a moment or two. 

Back outside, the hustle and bustle of a Saturday afternoon in August continued, as did we. The sun was trying so very hard to come out, but sadly it wasn't quite 'sit outside at a restaurant' weather. Quelle dommage, eh?

Soon, it was time for lunch, and oh, what a traditionally Breton lunch it was!

The boys went for moules frites, while we three ladies opted for galettes (wholemeal savoury pancakes, in case you didn't know) - I adore the taste and texture of galettes. All washed down with a traditional bowl/cup of Breton cider. Deeeeelish. 

Mmmm cider
Moules frites
My galette
To be fair, my curried chicken galette wasn't the most authentic of fillings, but when it's that yummy, who cares? We were totally planning on having a sweet crêpe for pudding, but I tell ya what, the galettes finished us off. A digestive stroll was very much in order...

So beaut, non?
So off we went, happy and full, to explore some more of the old town. We walked down cobbled streets filled with artists' workshops and beautiful leather shops, chocolateries and brasseries. Before we knew it, we were at the old town walls at the edge of Dinan. It's fantastic, you can climb right up and stroll along the top of the ramparts, feeling somewhat like a medieval princess (just me?)

Très jolie, n'est-ce pas?

A couple of days later, we returned to Dinan le soir for our final dinner in Brittany. We parked by the river, next to the impressive viaduct, and strolled up a cobbled street until we found a slightly hidden little gem of a restaurant, Crêperie Fontaine du Jerzual.

Doesn't everything just sound better in French?
We sat outside and enjoyed our dinner as the sun went down on a beautifully peaceful evening. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I once again went for a galette (mozzarella, smoked ham, roasted courgette, homemade pesto and salad)...

Only this time I found room for a pudding crêpe too - I couldn't not go for the local speciality, so devoured a huge crêpe smothered in caramel au beurre salé.

Holly opted for chocolate and coconut - another fine choice in my opinion.

Despite being so full of yumminess, I couldn't stop myself dancing down the street back to the car. I adore the way cobbled streets look in the night-time light, and it was all so beautiful I felt like I was in the ballet, Coppélia. 

Much to the amusement embarrassment of my family, I pas de basqued my way all the way home. Well, to the car anyway.

Bonne nuit!


  1. Wow, you have great taste in holiday destinations! My mum was born in Dinan and my Grandma lives there so we go quite often. Also, my family went to Lagos in Portugal for our summer holiday this year too, what a coincidence! I really love reading your blog, especially all your student stuff (I'm thinking of applying to Bristol uni this autumn). Keep up the good work and glad you liked Dinan!
    Sophie xx

    1. Wow that's so funny, Sophie. Lucky you to have family in Dinan - I'm jealous!
      Thank you for your kind words and I would definitely recommend applying to Bristol. Good luck with it! X

  2. Oh, gorgeous pictures as usual. I learn so much from reading your posts. xx

    1. That's so nice to hear, thank you :) x


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