First order of priority was provisions – both diesel and food – and the obvious place was the supermarket on the edge of Dinan, one of a chain as we later realised, called Le Clerc. So a local drive, remembering how to negotiate the roundabouts and which side of the road to cling to; the fuel stop at the supermarket with its impressive “pay at the pump” charging system and the reassuring proof that our credit cards really do work over here; the supermarket itself, huge and both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time; and a coffee shop where we found the main difficulty with speaking French as English visitors lay in persuading the proprietor not to speak English!
Thus refuelled and with provisions safely stored back at the gite, we set off again to pass Leclerc this time and make our way into the medieval township of Dinan. Parking more easily than we’d anticipated, we walked on into the older and very attractive part of the town and stopped at our first Creperie for lunch – excellent!
The town is very tourism oriented obviously, but remains very beautiful as some of the photographs will bear out. Narrow streets, leaning medieval buildings, a church with a breathtaking interior, and then the walk down a cobbled road towards the river whose characteristic curve is one of the clearest (I’m almost tempted to use the overworked adjective “iconic”) and most photogenic visual features of the town. The weather was superb too, which helped.
We began here to experience, or a least to see, the famous ”cafe culture” of France. Couples, groups, individuals, sitting at pavement tables, drinking coffee or wine, maybe eating, certainly (except perhaps for the individuals!) talking about who knows what, but talking. Most of these seemed if not to be locals, at least to be French. Where they on holiday? Is there somehow enough space in the schedules of Brittany for people to have the opportunity to sit and talk?
This was a very happy first day of holiday, therapeutic after the rough crossing the day before, and full of hope and promise for the days to come. Some photographs will scarcely do it justice, but will at least offer a flavour.