Friday, July 18, 2014

Le Tour de France: Dinan

Friday, June 20
After leaving Mont Saint-Michel, we drove along the coast toward Brittany. It was a very pretty drive, past farms dotted with hay rolls and more French cows. We were planning to have oysters for lunch in Cancale, but saw a roadside oyster stand in Le Vivier-sur-Mer, so we stopped there. Seafood soup, two kinds of oysters, and a half-bottle of Muscadet, yum! There was even butter with the bread! (During our entire trip, butter was provided with bread at lunch and dinner only in Brittany.) After lunch, Dan checked out the oyster farm and I walked along the beach for a bit before we continued the drive.

Dan ready for oysters

Roadside oyster stop

Carol on the beach

We didn't make it to Cancale, but stopped at a viewpoint for a photo. We also stopped at several other scenic spots, it was such a pretty drive.

Cancale

Island and beach

Then we arrived in Saint-Malo and parked the car. It was a gorgeous day. We got ice cream and walked along the city wall, looking down at the people on the beach. There is an enclosed area of the ocean for swimming and diving, it looked so fun!

Saint-Malo

Saint-Malo

Saint-Malo

Saint-Malo

Diving pool on the beach

Then we drove to Dinan, a medieval walled city. We found le Clos de Mai, and our host Claudine showed us our room, which was huge. We relaxed, did some laundry, then headed out to dinner at la Courtine. It was a charming place, with just one person doing everything -- host, waiter, busboy, all of it -- and he was so nice too. Dan had the foie gras starter, which was very good. Then he had the lamb shank (lamb again!), and I had the duck leg. We shared a poached pear with crumble and ice cream for dessert. I think it was the best dinner we had so far. We walked around town after dinner, lots of people were out watching the World Cup soccer match because France was playing. Dan stopped at a tabac to check the score, then we walked back to the B&B. (France won.)

Saturday, June 21
At breakfast we met the other guests at the B&B who were visiting from Spain. I attempted to speak Spanish with them, but not very well. We met Yves, Claudine's husband, who told us that they met in Arromanches when they were camp counselors! I asked about renting bikes to ride along the Rance River, and he said bike rentals were no longer available in Dinan, but we could borrow their bikes. After breakfast we picked up a map from the tourism office and walked around town, which is filled with half-timbered houses. We saw a leather shop and took a photo with the Cuir sign (Dan's name). Then walked along the city wall, peeking into people's gardens down below. Dan loves looking at the vegetable gardens. I spotted a well in one of them. We also went inside a couple of churches, the organ was being played in one of them. I always enjoy hearing music in churches.

Charming half-timbered buildings

Cuir

Dan and the city wall

A well in someone's garden

Dinan

City wall

Rance River

We walked down to the port and had lunch on the terrace at l'Atelier Gourmand. Dan had three kinds of fish on sauerkraut with a creamy sauce, and I had salad Landaise, with lardons and a poached egg. We saw other people having tarte Tatin for dessert, so we decided to order one for dessert. It was so yummy, served with creme fraiche and salted caramel sauce. (Brittany is known for butter and salted caramel.)

Lunch in Dinan

Tarte Tatin

After lunch we walked back to the B&B to get the bikes, and rode through town down to the river. We saw some kayakers playing a version of water polo where they used the kayak paddles to hit the ball. Crazy! We rode through Léhon, a cute village where there was a wedding at the church, also saw people swimming, fishing, and boating along the river, enjoying the afternoon. And we passed several lock houses, they all had such nice gardens. And two burros! On the way back, one of the pedals on Dan's bike fell off! We passed a couple of gentleman playing petanque, and Dan used the Point It book to ask if they had a wrench. They discussed it for awhile, and said maybe somewhere in town. He also asked a a group of young people who were also biking on the path, but they didn't know either. Luckily we were not too far from town. I rode slowly, and Dan walked the bike the rest of the way. Our hosts were super apologetic, but of course it wasn't their fault.

Viaduct on the Rance

Burros!

French burros!

Dan checking out the locks

We had another delicious dinner at le Fleur de Sel. I started with oysters, and Dan had a salmon tartare entree that was scrumptious. Then he had beef cheeks, and I got another perfectly cooked fish. I had profiteroles with chocolate sauce and Dan had apple tart for dessert. The food in Dinan was so good! It was Fête de la Musique, the summer solstice is celebrated with singing and dancing all over France. Bands and singers were performing all over town; it was quite a scene, tons of people everywhere. We walked around and stopped to listen to a few performances, including a choral group doing a rendition of ABBA's Mamma Mia, quite amusing. Eventually we walked back to the B&B. I am glad we were not staying directly in the city center, as the music and crowds were rather noisy!

Sunday, June 22
After breakfast we said farewell to our kind hosts, then went to a few groceries to find fleur de sel to take home. Also got a kouign-amann, Breton for butter cake. Then we drove to Vitré, where we had buckwheat galettes and cider for lunch. We walked up to the city wall, peeked into the cathedral, and saw the chateau. There were two billy goats under the drawbridge!

Andouille galette for lunch '

Galette for lunch

Church in Vitre

Château de Vitré

Dan on the drawbridge

Billy goats

Courtyard

We shared the kouign-amann...soooo rich and buttery...then we were off to Chartres

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1 comment:

Anita said...

The scenery is so beautiful! thanks for sharing such a great trip report!