Monday, 14 July 2014

French Vaca - Dinan

While I was prepping for this trip and while we were away, I had a lot of people asking for vacation info. Where did we stay? What did we do? Restaurant recommendations? And everything between. So I figured the easiest thing to do is put together a little trip recap from each of the 3 locations we visited - Dinan, Paris, and Annecy. Plus I get to share a whole bunch of my "real" pictures (aka from my camera, not my iphone) with you this way too.

Our first stop was Dinan, which is near the Atlantic Coast in Brittany. It is a sleepy picturesque little town full of cobblestone streets, timbered houses, and charm. We visited a number of the surrounding sights while we were there, so this location was ideal for easy train travel and day-trips. (*commence photo bomb*)




Accommodations:
Hotel: Hotel de la Tour de l'Horloge 
Cost: 84 Euros/night including breakfast 

I would definitely recommend this place. It was quaint and charming in all the right way. The rooms were really spacious (especially by European standards). And we pleasantly surprised by the extra amenities - a mini fridge (which was perfect for stocking up on snacks at the local market) and a small TV (which was ideal for the World Cup).

Our hotelier - Catharine - was amazing and definitely added to our positive experience. She runs a very tight ship - the whole place is spotless. She also has fresh bread and croissants brought in every morning for breakfast. And she went above and beyond for us a couple of times during our stay. She rushed out to fix the cable to ensure we could watch the world cup, even after we insisted it wasn't necessary. And prepped a thermos of coffee and croissants for us on our travel day, so we didn't have to travel on an empty stomach. She was extremely thoughtful and helpful throughout our entire stay.

Must-See:
Dinan was the ideal location for day trips. It was really easy to hop on either a bus or train and visit some of the nearby sights. And it was equally as easy to just spend the day around town checking out the Farmer's Market (it's on Thursday), visiting the Castle, or just walking by the water.

1. Mont St. Michel
This was definitely a highlight. Mont St. Michael is a perfectly preserved old medieval town, with a gorgeous 11th century abbey, situated in the middle of the Bay. The tides surrounding the town are a spectacle all on their own, and I had a great time trekking around the island trying to get this shot. 
The only down-side is that the town itself has gotten a little gimmicky and tourist heavy, so you are better to get off the main streets and just enjoy the views. If I were to do it again, I would have packed a picnic lunch and found myself a spot to sit along our hike, rather than trying to find a good meal at one of the restaurants. They were overpriced and lack luster. But Mont St. Michel is definitely worth the visit!

The Beaches in St. Malo and Dinard:
I did not realize how beautiful the beaches surrounding these medieval towns are. And the tides mean the landscape is constantly changing throughout the day. We spent a couple of days wandering around and exploring these beaches. We even did a little seaside relaxing.
My only regret was not bringing my bathing suit to St. Malo. We lucked out with someamazing weather, so I would have happily squeezed in 2 days at the beach, rather than just the one.

Must-Try:
Brittany is know for it's Cider, it's Crepes, and it's seafood and I recommend all of the above! Everything was delicious. I personally preferred the Galettes - which are crepes made with buckwheat and filled with savory ingredients, like cheese! But the hubby was partial to the sweet crepes. So there is something for everyone.


Stay tuned on Wednesday for more of the deliciousness. I have a couple Creperie and restaurant recommendation, plus lots of yummy EATS.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten