Dinan & Léhon: The Complete Guide

Visit-dinan

Dinan, nestled on a hill with sweeping views of the Rance Valley, resides in Upper Brittany within the Côtes-d’Armor department. This ancient Town of Art and History, encircled by impressive ramparts stretching over three kilometres, traces its roots back to the Celtic period. However, it was in the 9th century that monks first established themselves along the Rance River. The town began to flourish in the 11th century around a priory and achieved ducal town status by the late 13th century, which spurred further development.

Strolling through Dinan feels like stepping back in time. Its quaint, cobblestone lanes lined with eateries and crêperies, often adorned with medieval flair, beckon for leisurely exploration. Visitors can enjoy charming boutiques and significant landmarks that dot the town.

Léhon, distinguished as a “Little Town of Character” and located near Dinan, owes much of its historical and architectural heritage to the monastic community that settled along a bend of the Rance River. The town’s monastic roots trace back to 850, when King Nominoe founded the Benedictine abbey, a move that would shape the town’s spiritual and cultural landscape for centuries. Over time, the monastery flourished thanks to generous endowments from successive lords, enhancing its wealth and influence.

The abbey became a beacon of spiritual significance, partly due to housing the relics of Saint Magloire, which underscored the religious centre’s importance until its closure during the tumultuous period of the French Revolution. Today, a stroll along the Rance offers breathtaking views of the abbey’s noble silhouette, gracefully enveloped by lush greenery. This serene and picturesque setting serves as a living testament to the town’s rich monastic heritage, inviting visitors to step back in time and explore the depths of its historical charm.

TIP: If you are visiting Dinan & Léhon for just a day and want to make the most of your visit, you may want to consider taking a walking tour with a local guide. This is one of the most complete and best-rated tours that covers the main, must-see attractions in about 2 hours.  If you prefer exploring at your own pace read our Walking Tour of Dinan & Léhon.

 

 

Visiting Dinan & Léhon for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Dinan & Léhon on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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13 Best places to See in Dinan & Léhon

This complete guide to Dinan & Léhon not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Dinan & Léhon and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Église Saint-Malo

Saint-Malo Church Dinan
©
Dinan’s Saint-Malo church, with roots stretching back before its current location was established, originally sat outside the city walls. This strategic vulnerability led to its demolition under the directive of François II, Duke of Brittany, during King Charles VIII’s era in the late 15th century, to prevent it from becoming a French stronghold. The construction […]
Location: Église Saint-Malo, Rue du Chanoine Meinser, Dinan, France | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Église Saint-Malo

We recommend to rent a car in Spain through Discover Cars, they compare prices and review multiple car rental agencies. Book your rental car here.

Place des Merciers

Place Des Merciers, Dinan
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Avi1111 dr. avishai teicher
Positioned at the core of Dinan’s medieval city and just a short distance from the Couvent des Cordeliers, Place des Merciers captivates with its historical charm. Central to the square is an old granite well, now retired for safety purposes, serving as a reminder of the area’s rich past. Surrounding this quaint, triangular plaza are […]
Location: Place des Merciers, Dinan, France | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Place des Merciers

Explore Dinan & Léhon yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

La tour de l’Horloge (the Clock Tower)

La Tour De L’Horloge, Dinan
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Manuel Velazquez
La Tour de l’Horloge in Dinan, a remarkable clock tower standing 46 meters tall from the 15th century, is celebrated for the breathtaking panoramic views it provides over Dinan. The construction of this architectural gem was commissioned by Duchess Anne of Brittany, which is commemorated in the naming of the tower’s main bell, among five, […]
Location: Rue de l'Horloge, Dinan, France, 22100 | Hours: From February 10 to March 30: Tuesday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. From April 1 to October 6: Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. except Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Price: €4 / €2.50 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting La tour de l’Horloge (the Clock Tower)

Val Cocherel Garden

Val Cocherel Garden
© Dinan Town Hall
Officially named after the “Cocherel” stream that meanders through its garden, although it is also called like to call Jardin des Petits Diables, or the garden of the Little Devils. This splendid park sprawls across approximately 4 hectares of lush greenery, nestled in the urban heart of Dinan. Designed with fun and family in mind, it […]
Location: Jardin des Petits Diables, Promenade des Petits Fossés, Dinan, France | Hours: Opening of the garden: Summer: From April 1 to September 30: 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Winter: From October 1 to March 30: 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.Opening of the kiosk: from April 1 to September 30, open 7 days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from October 1 to November 15, open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Val Cocherel Garden

Basilique St-Saveur of Dinan

Basilique St-Saveur Of Dinan
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Manuel Velazquez
The Saint-Sauveur Basilica in Dinan, France, stands as a remarkable testament to the town’s medieval history and architectural evolution. Initially one of two main parish churches alongside Saint-Malo Church, its oldest sections date back to the 12th century. A significant reconstruction in the late 15th century expanded the structure, introducing a northern aisle, a completely […]
Location: Basilique Saint-Sauveur de Dinan, Place Saint-Sauveur, Dinan, France | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Basilique St-Saveur of Dinan

Town Walls of Dinan

Town Walls Of Dinan
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Avi1111 dr. avishai teicher
The medieval citadel of Dinan, sprawling over 30 hectares, was once safeguarded by a formidable system of fortifications, including a 2,700-meter-long stretch of ramparts, 14 guard towers (of which 10 remain), four massive gates, and the castle. Constructed in the 13th century as Dinan ascended to ducal status, these defensive structures underwent continuous enhancements up […]
Location: 24 Rue de l'École, 22100 Dinan, France | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Town Walls of Dinan

Château de Dinan

Chateau Dinan
CC BY-SA 3.0 /
The Château de Dinan is a notable historical landmark located in the town of Dinan, within the Brittany region’s Côtes-d’Armor département in France. This majestic castle, comprising a keep, is an integral part of Dinan’s rich medieval heritage, prominently positioned among the town’s ancient ramparts that extend over 2,600 meters (approximately 8,500 feet) and encircle […]
Location: Château de Dinan, Dinan, France | Hours: April - September: 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. October - December: 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. | Price: Adult: €7.50 Child: €3.50 | Website | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Château de Dinan

Maison du Gouverneur, Dinan

Rue Du Petit-Fort Maison Du Gouverneur
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Patrick from Compiègne, France
Nestled at 24 rue du Petit Fort in Dinan, the Governor’s House, historically known as the old Château Ganne, is a relic from the Middle Ages that stands as a testament to the town’s rich past. This venerable 15th-century half-timbered structure once served as the residence and workshop of a hand weaver, combining living quarters […]
Location: Maison du Gouverneur, Rue du Petit Fort, Dinan, France | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Maison du Gouverneur, Dinan

Viaduc de Dinan

Le Vieux Pont, Dinan
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Patrick from Compiègne, France
For generations, Le Vieux Pont stood as the sole bridge in Lanvallay, a testament to its historical significance. This striking stone bridge, meticulously maintained, offers stunning views of the Rance River and its surroundings, although it is now reserved for pedestrian use and light vehicles only. By the early 19th century, the bridge had become […]
Location: Viaduc de Dinan Rue Général de Gaulle 22100 Dinan France | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Viaduc de Dinan

The Rance River

Dinan On The Banks Of The Rance
The Rance River, once a bustling artery for cargo ships, now plays host to an array of luxurious boats, presenting a picturesque scene worthy of exploration. The journey towards the river, set against the backdrop of the town’s imposing walls, offers a striking view, particularly from their towering height. Historically, this river served as a […]
Location: Port de Dinan Rue du Quai 22100 Dinan France | Book Boat trip tickets on the river La Rance | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting The Rance River
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39-45 Military Museum

Musee39-4
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Fab5669
If you have a keen interest in military history, the privately-owned 39-45 Museum in Léhon is a must-visit destination. This museum boasts an extensive collection of over 6,000 items from the Second World War, including a wide array of mainly artillery pieces, more than 30 authentic uniforms, and even historical vehicles. A highlight of the […]
Location: 16 Rue du Pont de la Haye, 22100 Dinan, France | Hours: Every day during school holidays, Sundays and public holidays included: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. | Price: Adult: €7 Child: €5 | Website | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting 39-45 Military Museum

Saint-Magloire de Léhon Abbey

Abbaye Saint-Magloire De Léhon, Cloître
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Nono314
Saint-Magloire Abbey, nestled in the former commune of Léhon in France’s Côtes-d’Armor, is a testament to the rich history of Benedictine monasticism. Founded in the 9th century by Nominoë, this former monastery was significantly supported by successive lords and the relics of Saint Magloire, which bolstered its spiritual influence until the French Revolution. Despite Viking […]
Location: Abbaye de Léhon, Le Bourg, Dinan, France | Price: Free | Distance: 1.50km
Visiting Saint-Magloire de Léhon Abbey

Château de Léhon

Chateau De Lehon
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Patrbe
Léhon Castle, a 13th-century fortress situated in Dinan within the delegated commune of Léhon, Côtes-d’Armor, has a rich history dating back to its original construction in 1034. Initially destroyed by the Duke of Brittany during inheritance wars, it underwent several reconstructions due to conflicts and Norman invasions. By the 1080s, Geoffroy I Boterel expanded his […]
Location: Château de Léhon, Allée du Château, Dinan, France | Hours: 24 hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.50km
Visiting Château de Léhon

Best Time to Visit Dinan & Léhon

The best time to visit Dinan in Brittany is during the spring and summer months, from May to September. During this period, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the medieval streets, enjoying the scenic views, and participating in outdoor activities.

Spring (May to June): brings blooming flowers and greener landscapes, enhancing the town’s beauty. The temperatures are comfortable, and there’s less crowd, offering a more relaxed experience.

Summer (July to August): is the peak tourist season when Dinan comes alive with various events and festivals. The weather is warm, perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the numerous outdoor dining options. However, it’s also when the town is most crowded, so booking accommodations in advance is recommended.

Early autumn (September): can also be a good time to visit, as the weather remains pleasant and the summer crowds begin to thin out, allowing for a more tranquil experience.

Regardless of when you visit, Dinan’s charm and historical ambiance are ever-present, offering a unique journey back in time any time of the year.

Average Temperatures in Dinan & Léhon

  • January 11°C 8
  • February 12°C 8
  • March 13°C 7
  • April 17°C 7
  • May 18°C 7
  • June 22°C 9
  • July 24°C 7
  • August 25°C 8
  • September 24°C 6
  • October 19°C 10
  • November 15°C 10
  • December 13°C 10

How to get to Dinan & Léhon

Getting to Dinan, a picturesque medieval town in Brittany, France, is relatively straightforward, whether you’re coming by car, train, or plane. Here are the main options:

By Car

Dinan is well-connected by road and is easily accessible via the French motorway network. It is about:

  • 30 minutes from Saint-Malo
  • 45 minutes from Rennes
  • 2 hours from Nantes

If you’re coming from Paris, the journey can take around 4 hours via the A11 and A84 motorways.

By Car Ferry

Portsmouth to Saint-Malo: This is the most direct ferry route to get close to Dinan. Saint-Malo is just about 30 minutes’ drive from Dinan. Brittany Ferries operates this route, offering a comfortable overnight crossing. Facilities on board include cabins, restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

By Train

The nearest major train station to Dinan is in Saint-Malo, which has direct TGV (high-speed train) links to Paris Montparnasse, taking about 3 hours. From Saint-Malo, you can catch a local train or bus to Dinan, or you might consider renting a car for more flexibility. Note that Dinan’s train station is located in the suburb of Lanvallay, on the opposite side of the river from the old town, so you may need to take a short taxi ride or walk to get to the heart of Dinan.

By Plane

The closest international airports to Dinan are:

  • Rennes Airport (RNS), about an hour’s drive away, offers flights to major cities in France and some international destinations.
  • Dinard-Pleurtuit-Saint-Malo Airport (DNR), around 20 minutes by car, serves mainly UK destinations with seasonal flights.

From these airports, you can rent a car or take a taxi to Dinan. There are also bus and shuttle services available, especially from Rennes.

By Bus

Regional buses connect Dinan with other towns and cities in Brittany, including direct lines from Rennes and Saint-Malo. This can be a cost-effective option, though it might require some planning to align with bus schedules.

Tips for Travelers

  • Check the current train and bus schedules in advance, as they can change seasonally.
  • Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Dinan and the surrounding Brittany region at your own pace, including the beautiful coastline and other medieval towns nearby.
  • If you’re traveling from another country, consider landing in Paris and then either renting a car to drive to Dinan or taking a TGV to Rennes or Saint-Malo and continuing from there.