A Four Day Trip to France in September 2007
This was our first trip abroad with the Bike, Angie and I, with friends Michel and Jan (who have travelled in France extensively) caught the 8.45pm Ferry from Portsmouth to Caen which is a 5 hours crossing. Our destination was Dinan, a medieval 13th Century Town, just south of St. Malo some 112 miles from Caen, quite a long ride on largely traffic-free roads. France is three times the size of the UK with a smaller population, hence the roads tend to have far less traffic. Riding on the right hand side becomes second nature very quickly, although the first roundabout was a little strange as the direction is left handed rather than right handed. The town of Dinan, built on a hill, has a riverside quay which is where our B&B was located, clean and basic with very friendly French, but English speaking owners. The morning was spent exploring the fascinating town. The only way up by foot was a 1in 4 narrow cobbled street some quarter of a mile long and just a few metres wide, (which we will return to later) with many 13th Century buildings, cobbled streets and streetside Cafes, Restaurants and a great selection of shops. The original town was inside a fortified wall, much of which could be walked on with great views across the town, river, bridges and a famous viaduct which features in many pictures of the town.
We could have easily spent the whole day in Dinan but time was limited so after lunch we were off exploring.

Our afternoon ride ended at Josselin on the river Oust, a lovely riverside small town doninated by the Chateau des Rohan, the weather so far had been fine and very warm, hard to believe as we were only 100 miles or so ‘as the crow flies’ from the UK. Having returned to Dinan we had a problem, how do we get down from the Town to the river. Round and round we went, we took another turning and (remember the cobbled street), well we ended up joining the street quite close to the top, there was only one way to go, yes, down, not for the faint hearted! The B&B owners could not quite believe it, as access is strictly prohibited. Finally ,off we went to find a restaurant, and again the cobbled street featured in the trip as we found a really nice place called The Cottage, just up the cobbled street.

Next morning, having forgotten to change the clocks forward an hour, we had a late breakfast before setting off for a long day out. Our first stop was the Port of La Roche Bernard, where Michel and Jan have a friend who lives on the riverside, it was once a Viking settlement and a Huguenot stronghold, today it is a very popular historical place to visit . Having enjoyed an hour or so there, we were off to the Port of Le Croisic, this included a ride through saltpans, a large salt water marshland from which salt is harvested and sold. The Port was once a major fishing port but today it is a bustling tourist centre. The town also has a medieval fortified walled area. Having returned to Dinan late, it was a quick change and off to The Cottage for dinner, unfortunately they were full, but we had an outside table in “the cobbled street” it seems there was no escape from “the street” during this visit.

Our final day started with breakfast outside as it was a great morning. We broke the trip back to Caen with a Visit to Bayeux, with its perfectly preserved medieval ensemble, magnificent cathedral and world-famous tapestry. We visited the Tapestry, which is the story of the Norman invasion in 1066. The 1000 year old tapestry is 1 meter high and 75 meters long, well worth a visit. We arrived in Caen in time for lunch before catching the ferry back to Portsmounth.


Paul and Angie

Michel and Jan

B&B Bedroom view the quay, Dinan

View from fortified wall in Dinan

Looking down the cobbled street Dinan
The cobbled street Dinan

In the town of Dinan

The Viaduct from the fortified wall, Dinan

Chateau des Rohan at Josselin

Port of La Roche Bernard

Port of La Roche Bernard

Port of Le Croisic
Port of Le Croisi

The Saltpans

Port of Le Croisic
Port of Le Croisic

Bayeux Tapestry Building