Dinard seaside resort on the Emerald Coast
Dinard enjoys temperatures that are several notches above the neighbouring coastal towns, thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream.
This micro climate turns it into one of the most prestigious resorts on the Côte d’Emeraude.
Pointe du Moulinet
Dinard is located on the south bank of the river Rance estuary, opposite the fortress of St-Malo.
A fort was erected on Pointe du Moulinet during the wars that opposed French and English during the reign of Louis XIV.
The fort of Dinard and the citadel of St-Malo had a major defensive role as they guarded the access to the Rance.
However, until 1850 present day Dinard didn’t exist; the only settlement was the small fishing village of St-Enogat.
Villa Saint-Germain and Plage de l’Ecluse
The prestigious seaside resort is therefore a “new town”.
Wealthy shipping merchants from St-Malo built the first mansions (such as the Villa Saint-Germain) on the two headlands that frame the Plage de l’Ecluse.
English and American high society “adepts of sea bathing” then flocked to Dinard and introduced the practice of water sports and tennis.
The English even built an Anglican church on the heights of the Pointe du Moulinet.
A plaque, unveiled in 1936, commemorates the centenary of the arrival of the first English residents.
Casino de Dinard
More lavish mansions or châteaux de bord de mer, seashore hotels, elegant gardens and the casino were indeed built.
They turned Dinard-St-Enogat into one of the trendiest French seaside resorts of the Belle Epoque and early 20th century.
Dinard was where royalty, nobility, aristocracy, tycoons of industry, politicians and artists spent the summer months!
Pablo Picasso found great inspiration in the emerald colour of the sea when painting Two Women Running on the Beach and Bathers on the Beach in 1921.
Claude Debussy is said to have composed La Mer during his stay in St-Enogat in 1902.
The resort reached its peak during the Roaring Twenties and by 1921 Dinard-St-Enogat became simply known as Dinard.
Alas, the Crash of 1929 ended this era of prosperity.
The crisis over, the wealthy foreign visitors indeed moved to the French Riviera.
It’s difficult to know if they were attracted by warmer climate or simply looking for a new trend.
This didn’t stop though the architect René Aillerie from building a sea-water pool and private beach huts so that holiday makers could swim at low tide.
From its heyday Dinard has fortunately retained the prestigious mansions and luxury hotels.
Ville d’Art et d’Histoire
You’ll therefore find the Grand Hôtel Barrière by the Rance estuary and the Royal Emeraude Hotel next to the Casino on the Plage de l’Ecluse.
Nothing much has changed as the resort went to great extent to preserve its architectural heritage.
A stroll along Dinard’s public gardens and beautiful sandy beaches will allow you to discover the resort’s old-fashioned charm.
The Promenade du Clair de Lune is certainly the most popular walk, as it is an extension of the path that circles the Pointe du Moulinet.
It boasts prime views of St-Malo and continues towards the Plage du Prieuré along the Rance estuary.
However, modern day Dinard is also a modern and vibrant town.
The town hall team has indeed successfully revived the prestigious seaside resort.
Over 400 ancient villas of various architectural styles were listed in a protection programme for architectural, urban and landscape heritage ((zone de protection du patrimoine architectural, urbain et paysager).
English Language Film festival
Dinard also owed its revival to the prestigious visitors who chose it as a holiday resort after WWII.
One could indeed bump into famous actors or politicians such as Winston Churchill.
Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock used the Villa Saint-Germain as model to create the house of his movie Psycho?
Dinard has since hosted the annual English Language Film Festival – Festival du Film Britannique which takes place at the beginning of October.
The resort honours the event with a life-size statue of Alfred Hitchcock which marks the entrance to the Plage de l’Ecluse.
Hitchcock is represented with a menacing bird perched on each shoulder.
Department of Ille-et-Vilaine
Coordinates: Lat 48.635230 – Long -2.055066