Situated on the pretty Côte d’Émeraude, this Brittany seaside resort has plenty to offer visitors, as Peter Stewart discovers
I’ve heard the name, but where is it exactly?
The town of Dinard is on Brittany’s Côte d’Émeraude, across the mouth of the Rance estuary from the ferry port of Saint-Malo. With its sandy beaches and coastal walks, Dinard has become a popular resort with families.
Does the town have much of a history?
Why yes! Dinard was a small fishing village before being settled by shipping merchants from Saint-Malo. Then, in the late 19th century, wealthy American and British visitors made it a fashionable summer resort and built many stunning belle-époque villas along the coast. However, the resort declined a little between the two world wars when the rich and famous discovered the Côte d’Azur.
Has it been a celebrity haunt over the years?
Yes. Once deemed the ‘Cannes of the North’, Dinard has welcomed a number of famous figures. Picasso painted here in the 1920s, Sir Winston Churchill enjoyed a number of holidays in the area and, more recently, actress Joan Collins is said to have become a regular visitor.
It sounds great. So what is there for visitors?
One of the town’s main attractions is its swish belle-époque casino (tel: (Fr) 2 99 16 30 38, www.lucienbarriere.com/fr). It looks over the Plage de l’Écluse, Dinard’s main beach, which is filled with rows of striped tents during the summer. Look out for a sculpture of film director Alfred Hitchcock, who is claimed to have based the house in Psycho on a villa in Dinard. Another of the town’s beaches is Plage de Saint-Énogat, a haven for water-sports enthusiasts, and the village of Saint-Lunaire, popular with Parisians and French film stars, is easily accessible on foot. Continuing with the screen theme, a British Film Festival is held every autumn (30 September to 4 October in 2015) and often has previews of new releases.
Where should I stay?
Splash out on a room at the majestic Grand Hôtel Barrière de Dinard (tel: (Fr) 2 99 88 26 26, www.dinardgrandhotel.com), which has overlooked the Bay of Saint-Malo since 1859. The sumptuous interiors, gourmet restaurant and spa are a triple treat. Doubles from €180.
How do I get there?
Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint-Malo Airport is just six kilometres south-west of the centre of Dinard and is served by Ryanair from London Stansted. Return flights from £49.99.
For more information visit www.dinardtourisme.com