When your friends invite you to their wedding in a literal castle, you say yes!
Ok, so we would have said yes even if it wasn’t in a castle. Not the point.
Our road trip culminated at Château du Val, which is located just outside the tiny town of Saint-Just in the Brittany region of France.
Before I get to the wedding festivities I would like to take a moment and acknowledge the ‘French-people-eat-baquettes-all-the-time’ stereotype. Well, friends. Sometimes stereotypes are there for a reason. Please let me introduce to you the 24-hour baguette vending machine!
We didn’t use the vending machine since there was an open grocery store 200 meters away, but now I’m having regrets and thinking I should have just bought a baguette for shits & giggles…
Anyway, I digress.
The wedding was a three-day extravaganza, with guests of the bride & groom (Sarah & Barend, by the way), coming from all over – the Netherlands (his family), Ireland (her family), England, Germany*, America (& not just us!), South Africa, and Australia. Both Sarah & Barend used to work in the yachting industry, which is how they met and how they ended up with friends spread across the globe!
*sorry Chelly & Christian – I don’t know how I forgot our weekend roommates!
It was a fantastic three days spent with great people, great food, and great scenery!
I basically took zero pictures – no service, phone was always dead. So, generous thanks to those who donated photos to the WhatsApp group. Hope you don’t mind I stole some. 😉
A small French town you’ve probably never heard of!
Heading in to the final few days of our road trip through Normandy & Brittany, I wanted a place to stop over on our way from Mont Saint-Michel to Saint-Just, where the wedding was located. A few blogs suggested this “Disney-esque” town (pronounced: dee-naan) in the Brittany region and it looked adorable so I was sold.
I will be honest: it was really pretty and really old (founded in 1040!), but it’s a small town and there’s not too much going on.
So, what can you do?
…and other delicious baked goods!
For a small town there was no shortage of boulangeries (breads), viennoiseries (breakfast pastries, and pâtisseries (dessert pastries).
We had crêpes at the crêperie in the picture above, and lucky for me there was a boulaungerie / viennoiserie only a 2 minute walk away from our Airbnb.
Do you know what was incredibly frustrating during this entire trip? Eating times. We could never seem to figure out when restaurants were open. On the last day we finally realized they open in the morning through lunch, ~2pm. Then everything shuts down until about 7pm. So, good luck with a late lunch or an early dinner. And don’t even THINK about ordering a crêpe after 2pm. “The kitchen can’t make them anymore.” 😑
Walk the Ramparts
Characteristic of medieval towns, the city is surrounded by walls that date back to the 13th century. I love a good wall walk (here’s lookin’ at you, Dubrovnik), and with 3km (1.8mi) of preserved ramparts, you can do a lot of it!
Climb the Clock Tower
It’s over 600 years old, 43m (~142ft) tall, and still functions! And, despite not being the original bell (it’s recast using the original), it still regulates the city today. How do I know this? We happened to be up top when it started ringing. I recommend timing your visit accordingly.
Take the 158 steps to the top for some great views over the historical city!
Maybe one day I’ll stop making Shane exercise on vacation…
Ehh – probably not.
Walk Rue du Jerzual to the Historical Port
This. street. is. STEEP!
But, if half-timbered houses are your thing then this is the street for you! It’s a lovely walk down to the Port of Dinan, but fuel-up when you get there because you’ll need an energy boost to make it back up! 😆
Visit Château de Dinan
It’s a castle, it has a nice museum, blah blah that’s boring. (Ok it wasn’t really – you should go – but for the point of my story…)
Do you want to know what the coolest thing about this castle was?
A modern toilet built in the spot of the ACTUAL castle toilet! Game of thrones-style door included!
Now if that’s not ingenuity then I don’t know what is.
There were also some nice views from the top, for those not as impressed with toilets.
St. Malo Church
Last but not least, you should take a few minutes to pop into St. Malo church in the city center. The architecture of these old churches is never disappointing.
So how much time do you actually need in Dinan?
One full day is enough.
We stayed two nights – arriving around dinner on night one – and this was more than enough time to leisurely explore the city. Perhaps contrary to popular opinion: it’s certainly worth visiting if it’s on-route, but I’m not sure I would go out of my way.