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Pioneers of the Emerald Coast

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the cream of British aristocracy on the beach at Dinard on the Emerald Coast during the nineteenth century : gentlemen in bathing suits and boaters and ladies in crinolines with parasols. The mild climate and fresh sea air of Dinard attracted genteel, elegant visitors such as Mrs Faber and Mr and Mrs Hallet, whose names were whispered reverently among the carefree society of the time. Although swimming in the sea was still in its infancy, these first ‘holiday makers’ gave Dinard its reputation as a seaside resort.

La Belle Epoque

The splendid, elegant villas overlooking the sea are an amazing showcase of late nineteenth century seaside architecture, so a walk past the generous profusion of styles, inspired by Italian villas, Yorkshire cottages and Louis XIII houses, is a real treat. The charm of the ‘Belle Epoque’ mansions, which once echoed to the sound of high-society parties and receptions, remains undiminished and their beautiful gardens continue to enchant visitors. Particularly noteworthy are the Villa of the Empress Eugénie, ‘La Maison du Prince Noir’, the Grand Hotel and the Villa Reine-Hortense, which was once the property of a Russian prince.

Magnificent views

One of the best ways to enjoy the fresh sea air is to walk along the coast at the foot of the cliffs to Saint-Lunaire. Take a stroll along the Promenade au Clair-de-Lune past picturesque houses or to the Pointe du Moulinet with its spectacular uninterrupted views across the Bay of Saint-Malo. Further west, another lovely walk takes you from the Plage de l’Ecluse beach along the ‘Promenade de la Malouine’ to the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks. Absolutely delightful!

Not forgetting…

The Festival of British Film held annually in October ; regattas organised by the Yacht Club ; the Belle Epoque Casino; the famous Dinard Golf Club (one of the oldest in Europe) ; boat trips through the Vallée de la Rance or the signposted tourist trail for motorists.

 

Video of Dinard (in French)

Photos of Dinard

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