Friday, June 4, 2010


Yesterday Susie blogged about the Breton city of Dinan. Here's a little more on Dinan from my perspective. Dinan, despite being miles inland, is a port city. It lies on the Rance at the point where the river is no longer tidal. The city retains much of its ramparts, along which visitors can walk.

From the ramparts you can look down into the valley of the Rance and the port of Dinan.

The old center of the city has a lot of medieval charm, with half-timbers and corbels.

Medieval Dinan has many buildings with arcades, where merchants would display their wares.

For many years, the Tour de l'Horloge, a 15th-Century tower, served first as a look-out tower for fires in the city, then at the start of the 16th Century as bell and clock tower, and the city's administration and archives. The tower was Dinan's town hall until the French Revolution.

Climbing to the top takes 158 steps, of three different kinds. The first steps are on a circular stone staircase.

Then you go up successive flights of wooden stairs that circle the inside of the tower.

As you near the top, a sign warns you that the bells ring the hour and quarter-hours. And from the top of the wooden stairs you climb what is essentially a ladder to the rooftop. Getting out on the roof is itself an adventure, as there's not much onto which to hold as you transition from the ladder. The roof, which goes around the spire, is narrow, and the railing is not as high as you might prefer.

Sticking to the inside of the rooftop, I took pictures of the wonderful panorama of Dinan and its surrounding countryside. Here's a picture of the Sant-Sauveur basilica, which turns out to be a truly interesting building.

The exterior of the basilica provides some clues as to its peculiarity. The facade's doors are Romanesque but the windows are flamboyant Gothic. The porch on the right side is Gothic, but (and you can't tell this from the photo), the rest of that side of the basilica is Romanesque.

And, sure enough, when you enter the basilica, you find that entire right side of the nave is Romanesque and the entire left side is Gothic.

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