There are lots of things to do in Léhon, Dinan and the surrounding area. We’ve listed below a selection of ideas we think you might really enjoy, and also compiled them into a handy brochure. Click this link to download a PDF that you can print out (Adobe Acrobat required).
As always, the Official Tourism Office is a great place to get further advice and up-to-date information on opening times, etc. There are official tourist offices located throughout Brittany, and the nearest office in Dinan is located at:
Tourisme Bretagne, 9 Rue du Château, BP 65261, 22100 Dinan
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 87 69 76
Firstly, here are some festivals that you might wish to plan your stay at Val Rive to coincide with…
Fête des Remparts
Held over a weekend in middle to late July (every two years on even numbered years) the people of Dinan enthusiastically take part in this very popular medieval festival. With jousting, medieval markets, open-air dances, a great parade and many other shows and events, the whole town is taken back to medieval times.
La Fête du Blé
‘The Festival of Wheat’ is an annual farmers’ festival held in mid-August at Pleudihen sur Rance. It features farming demonstrations with horses and steam engines, traditional music and dance, a costumed parade, food stalls, cider-making and various craft activities. Ask for further details at the Tourist Office.
Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard
Dinard can feel much like a British seaside town, so it seems quite apt that it plays host to a British Film Festival each year over several days at the very end of September. There’s also usually free, outdoor film screenings in the week running up to the festival. Ask for further details at the Tourist Office.
La Route du Rock
La Route du Rock is a biannual music festival held in Saint-Malo. The summer festival “Collection Été” takes place in the middle of August and attracts about 15,000 music fans. Shows at the 18th century fortress don’t usually begin until the early evening, affording you the opportunity to explore the cobbled streets of St. Malo or time on the beach before the music starts. Despite the festival name, it’s not all rock music and mixes established names with emerging acts. A winter edition “Collection Hiver” is held in late February, every year.
Les Vieilles Charrues
Held in mid-July at Carhaix (90 minutes away by car), we’ve listed this here as it’s the largest rock festival in France and attracts more than 200,000 festival-goers! You might choose to attend the event followed by a relaxing stay at Val Rive? Obviously a rock festival of this size brings stellar names from the world of rock and popular music, with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Muse, Arctic Monkeys and Bob Dylan among the music icons who have graced the stages in recent years.
Castles & Historic Buildings
Château-Musée de Dinan
Dinan Castle Museum is a former keep now housing the local museum, and offers stunning views over Dinan from the museum terrace. The keep and gate form part of the ramparts (nearly 3km long) which surround the old town. Open everyday from June to September 10.30am – 6.30pm and afternoons (1.30pm – 5.30pm) from October to May. Unfortunately, it’s closed in January, February and March. Admission is €4.70 (half price for children).
Rue du Château, 22100 Dinan
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 87 58 72
Château de la Hunaudaye
A medieval moated castle set in the beautiful countryside of Plédéliac. From April – June the castle is open 2.30pm – 6pm and from July – September it’s open 10.30am – 6.30pm. Admission is €5.50 (€3.50 for children and free for kids under 6 years old).
Association Château de la Hunaudaye, 22270 Plédéliac
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 34 82 10
Château de Combourg
The castle was built in around 1025 and stands on a small hill next to Lac Tranquille in Combourg. The park and castle is open everyday in July and August 10am – 6pm. In April, May, June, Sept and Oct it’s open weekdays and Sunday afternoon (closed on Saturday). Admission is €8.30 (half price for children).
Château de Combourg, 23 Rue des Princes, 35270 Combourg
Fort La Latte
An old feudal castle, built in the fourteenth century, perched above the sea on a rocky headland. It’s been featured in a number of films, most notably ‘The Vikings’. Open everyday from April through September 10.30am – 6pm, and in the afternoon of weekends/public holidays outside these months of the year. Admission is €5.50 (children €3.50).
Fort La Latte,
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 41 57 11
Mont Saint-Michel is just 40 minutes away by car, and one of France’s most popular tourist attractions. The world-famous island abbey may stand in Normandy, but much of the phenomenal UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Baie du Mont St-Michel’ forms part of Brittany. Visiting this historic sight is highly recommended and further details are available at the Tourist Office. It’s important that you check the times of the tides when visiting and observe any safety notices. Open all year round. Admission to the abbey at the very top typically costs €9 for an adult, but there are various concessions. There is car parking (€11.70 for the day) on the mainland which includes a free shuttle bus to/from the island.
50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Tel: +33 (0)2 33 60 14 30
Other Historical Buildings
Here in Léhon, there are historical buildings just a couple of minutes walk from Val Rive. The ‘Abbaye Saint-Magloire’ (just around the corner) was originally built in the 6th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 14th centuries. To reach the ruins of ‘Léhon Château’ walk up past the Abbey and turn left into ‘Allée du Château’. It’s a former Norman castle overlooking the village and reputedly the oldest in Britanny.
For a real glimpse of Medieval France, make your way to the centre of Dinan to discover it’s charming, cobbled streets and crooked, timber houses. From here you’ll easily find ‘La Tour de L’Horloge’, the 40m high clock tower built in 1505. There’s also the ‘Église Saint-Malo de Dinan’ church and ‘Basilica Saint-Sauveur’, another church from the 12th century that successfully blends different architectural styles.
Dinan has retained many of the old city walls (ramparts) that surround the town, and from the turret just beyond the Basilica church garden you will be rewarded some magnificent views of ‘Port de Dinan’ and the valley below.
The coastal port town of Saint Malo is about half an hour away by car. Large stone walls surround the old city, which was once a stronghold for privateers (pirates approved by the king). Within the walls you might find ‘La Demeure de Corsaire’, an 18th-century privateer’s house and museum. In the center of the old town, ‘Saint-Malo Cathedral’ is built in Romanesque and Gothic styles and features stained-glass windows depicting city history. There’s also a maritime museurm ‘Musée d’histoire maritimes du pays Malouin’ near the tourist office and marina.
All opening times and admission fees listed here are for guidance only and subject to error. Always check online or at the Tourist Office for up-to-date information, if you are making a special journey.
Gardens of Interest
Parc du Chateau de Caradeuc
A baroque style garden, remodeled by Edouard André in 1898, featuring pools, statues, topiary and some fabulous views. Open in July and August daily from 12 – 6pm. Admission is €7 per person (free for children under 15 years of age).
Parc du Chateau de Caradeuc, 35190 Bécherel
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 66 81 10
Botanical Park of Haute Bretagne
A private estate with a floral park made up of three parts – the Arcadia Gardens, the Romantic Gardens and the Twilight Gardens. It’s open to the public everyday from March through November, but hours vary according to month (typically 11am – 6pm). Admission costs €10.90 for adults and from €7.90 for children.
Chateau la Foltiere, 35133 Le Chatellier
Tel: +33 (0)6 10 61 76 46
Manoli Museum and Garden of Sculptures
A short walk from the Rance is a little haven, where sculpture and nature blend between shade and light. Open 11am – 7pm every day from May to mid-September, and from 2pm – 6pm (closed on Tuesdays) the rest of the year. Not open in January. Admission €6.
9 Rue du Suet, 35780 La Richardais
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 88 55 53
Gardens of La Ballue
A series of theatrical gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles of the 16th and 17th centuries. These include a fernery, a water trap, a scented chamber, an open-air theatre, a maze, Diana’s temple and many other delights. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful parks in France. Open 10am – 6.30pm Thursday to Sunday from mid-March to mid-November, and every day in June, July, August and September. Adults €9.50, children 10-18 €7.50, and free for children under 10 when accompanied by parents.
Château de La Ballue, 35560 Bazouges La Pérouse
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 97 47 86
All opening times and admission fees listed here are for guidance only and subject to error. Always check online or at the Tourist Office for up-to-date information, if you are making a special journey.
Boat Trips & Hiring a Boat on the Rance
One hour boat trip that discovers the delights of the Rance. Departs from Dinan harbour and passes by the beautiful Abbey of Saint Magloire, the Castle ruins, through the lock at Léhon and under three bridges.
Vedette Jaman IV, 6 Rue du Quai, Port de Dinan, 22100 Dinan
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 39 28 41
Dine aboard ‘The Maltess’ as the boat-restaurant cruises along the calmer waters of the Rance river. Departs from Saint Samson sur Rance.
La Ville Haussan, 22100 Taden
Reservations: +33 (0)2 96 39 28 41
Rent a boat from Port de Dinan (no licence required) every day during the main season. Can be booked by the hour, half day or full day.
Tel: +33 (0)6 07 45 89 97
Club Canoe Kayak de la Rance
Canoeing and Kayaking from Port de Dinan. Ask for further details at the Tourist Office.
13 Rue du Four, 22100 Lanvallay
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 39 01 50
Boat Trips around the Coast
Offers various boat trips from Dinard and St. Malo to destinations around the Brittany coastline (including: Cap Frehel, Fort La Latte, Saint Cast Le Guildo, Chausey Islands, Cezembre Island and Cancale Bay) for beaches and more.
Compagnie Corsaire, Esplanade de la Bourse, 35400 Saint-Malo
Tel: 0825 138 100 (€0.15/min)
Horizon Sport Nature organise a number of activities, including: climbing, mountain biking, sea kayaking and archery.
Horizon Sport Nature, 1 Grande rue des Stuarts,
Tel: +33 (0)6 83 16 94 02
Open every day from February to November, The Saint-Jacut Water Sports Centre encourage you to try catamaran sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and sand yachting.
Club Nautique de Saint Jacut,
ZA Les Basses Terres,
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 27 79 13
Erquy Water Sports Centre invites you to go sailing, sand yachting, sea kayaking, windsurfing and paddle-boarding in Saint-Brieuc Bay, whatever the conditions.
Centre Nautique d’Erquy,
Maison de la Mer,
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 72 32 62
Also see: www.goforit.brittanytourism.com
Discover sharks and other inhabitants of the sea at the modern St. Malo Aquarium. You can also take a journey in the submersible Nautibus!
Avenue du Général Patton, 35400 Saint-Malo Cedex
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 21 19 07
Bécherel is known as the ‘Village of the Books’ (Cité du Livre) with its numerous antique bookstores, many of which have teashops inside. It also holds various Poet and Literary events.
Also see: www.becherel.com and www.becherel-autour-du-livre.com
Dinan offers plenty for cyclists no matter what your pace or ability. The ‘voies vertes’ (green ways) network makes cycling along the old railway tracks and towpaths of the Rance valley a real pleasure, with Dinard and St. Malo both within relatively easy reach. Bicycles can be hired in Dinan.
Dinan Cycles, 16 Rue de Brest, 22100 Dinan
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 87 34 68
Bords de Rance, 18 Quai du Tallard, 22100 Lanvallay, Dinan
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 97 98 99
Also see: www.voiesvertes.com
Both the Rance and nearby coast provide ample opportunities for fishing. You’ll need a fishing permit and must observe the strict fishing conditions. Ask at the Tourist Office for details.
Dinan Pêche, Rue du Cabaret des Oiseaux, 22100 Quévert
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 87 99 70 / +33 (0)6 79 21 36 20
Also see: www.brittany.angloinfo.com
Northern France has always catered well for golfers, and Brittany is no exception. There are reputable courses nearby at:
Saint-Malo Golf, Domaine de Saint-Yvieux, 35540 Le Tronchet
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 58 96 69
Golf de Dinard, Boulevard de la Houle, 35800 Saint-Briac-sur-Mer
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 88 32 07
Golf de Saint-Cast, Route du Golf, 22380 Saint-Cast-le-Guildo
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 41 91 20
Golf des Sables d’Or, Avenue du Golf, 22240 Fréhel
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 41 42 57
Also see: www.golf.brittanytourism.com
There are many markets throughout the week in the region. Dinan has a general market on Thursday mornings at Place du-Guesclin. In the winter months there are Autumn and Christmas markets. “Les Halles” is a small covered market in central Dinan, open everyday except Monday, from 8am – 2pm and until 7pm on Friday & Saturday. The fresh produce from this largely rural and seafaring region is of fantastic quality, and the Breton cider is good value too.
A trip to Cancale (east of Saint Malo) is recommended for its seafood, and nationally renowned oysters – indeed history has it that King Louis XIV had his oysters brought to Versailles from Cancale!
For market days see: www.brittany.angloinfo.com
‘Piscine Les Pommiers’ is a public swimming pool, located just a couple of minutes walk from Val Rive, beyond the Abbey in Léhon. It’s an outdoor pool and 25m in length, complete with waterslides. Men will need speedo trunks, as swimming shorts are not permitted, but there is a dispensing machine for these.
Rue du Bourg, 22100 Léhon
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 39 21 00
Approximately 10 minutes walk from Val Rive (past the bakers on the main street up to Dinan) is the Tennis Club de Léhon. The club has four indoor courts and one outdoor, and costs approximately €14/hour for court hire.
Tennis Club du Bas Bourgneuf, 22100 Léhon
Tel: +33 (0)2 96 39 95 31
Cobac Parc is a small theme park set in 12 hectares of woodland near St. Malo. Now featuring a newly opened Aqua Fun Park complete with various water slides and the ‘Super Crater’, the park also features a rollercoaster and pirate ship ride.
Cobac Parc, 35720 Lanhélin
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 73 80 16
The region has numerous options for walking, and one of the most popular is along the towpath(s) to the scenic ‘Port de Dinan’. There are several routes, the easiest being to cross the small bridge opposite Val Rive and then turn immediately left and follow the canal path all the way to the small harbour. This route was closed for repairs for a while, but it has now reopened with a nice new footpath.
Alternatively you can walk towards the port on the opposite side of the Rance. To do this, walk up the road to the Abbey of Lehon, go down the steps towards the swimming pool and you will find the path behind it. Follow the river until reaching the viaduct, cross the parking area, then down in the direction of the small, quaint bridge.
At the Port of Dinan you will find many restaurants and brasseries. Once refreshed, you might choose to walk up the pretty cobbled street of Rue Jerzual to the centre of Dinan. It’s a fairly steep uphill climb that passes through the old city walls before you reach the town centre. You could then return to Léhon via Chateau de Dinan, past Place Saint-Louis and down Rue Beaumanoir or Rue de Coetquen.
For a walk that covers more of the countryside, we recommend the trip around Taden (found in the ‘Activities & Tourist Attractions’ brochure) that’s suitable for all the family. Other organised walks of medium difficulty (2.5 – 3 hours long) can be arranged from Port de Dinan and Lanvallay.
La Bourbansais is a highly rated zoological park set in the grounds of a chateau with beautiful gardens. The zoo has an emphasis on conservation and features lions, tigers, leopards, giraffes, monkeys and many more.
Château de la Bourbansais, 35720 Pleugueneuc
Tel: +33 (0)2 99 69 40 07
Rennes is the capital of Brittany and the administrative capital of the French department Ille-et-Vilaine. The historic centre is located on the former plan of the ramparts and is noted for its medieval-style timber-framed houses, built from the forests around the city. Following a fire in 1720 most of the timber-framed houses in the northern part of the city were destroyed, and later rebuilt in stone on a grid plan. The southern part of the city, the poorest at the time, was not rebuilt and retains the timber-framed houses. It takes around 40 mins to get to Rennes.
Saint-Nazaire & Lorient
This historic town on the Atlantic Coast was once home to one of the largest docks in the world. During World War II it serviced Nazi Germany’s Atlantic naval fleet and was therefore of strong strategic importance. In 1942 the huge Joubert dry-dock was destroyed in the ‘The St. Nazaire Raid’ and has been the subject of many books and documentaries.
Up the coast at Lorient, there’s a U-boat base with guided tours (in English) of the U-boat pens for €6-7. On the same site you can also choose to visit the French ’Flore’ submarine and interactive museum, at additional cost. Further details here: www.uboat-bases.com and here: www.la-flore.fr
Saint-Nazaire is around two hours away (via Rennes) and Lorient can be reached in about an hour and a half.
Carnac is located on the coast between Saint–Nazaire and Lorient and renowned for ‘The Carnac Stones’ – an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic stones. More than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC. They’re the largest such collection in the world. Further details: www.carnactourism.co.uk
Also, worthy of mention is Rochefort-en-Terre, and well worth stopping by if you are making the journey to Lorient, Carnac or Saint–Nazaire. It has been voted one of France’s most beautiful villages and has been personally recommended by one of our guests for it’s lovely artisan shops and very good restaurants. There is a tradition of dressing the houses in the narrow streets with geraniums, and from April to September the streets are beautifully illuminated from dusk until midnight. Just outside Rochefort-en-Terre is ‘Plage du Moulin Neuf’ – a lake with a long sandy beach offering lots of things to do. Further details here: www.brittanytourism.com
A little under two hours away, Nantes is the largest city in north west France and capital city of the Pays de la Loire region. It was one of the major cities of the ancient Duchy of Brittany and although officially separated from Brittany in 1789, Nantes is culturally ‘Breton’ and still widely regarded as its capital city. Nantes has a rich history and features prominently in the Breton battles throughout the ages. The ‘Château des Ducs de Bretagne’ (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany) and ‘Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul de Nantes’ are well worth visiting, as is shopping in the pretty ‘Passage Pommeraye’.
Another great point of interest is the ‘Ile de Nantes’ (the Isle of Nantes), which has been transformed into a cultural centre on the site of the former shipyards. ‘Les Machines De L’Ile’ features a mechanical ‘Great Elephant’ you can ride upon that is 12m high, the ‘Marine World’s Carousel’ and the ‘Machine Gallery’.
Further details are available here: www.en.nantes-tourisme.com and here: www.lesmachines-nantes.fr
Bayeux is a major tourist destination in Normandy, best known for the Bayeux Tapestry – an embroidery, 70 metres long, made in the 11th century and listed as a ‘Memory of the World’ by UNESCO. The tapestry depicts the Norman conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy and it can be seen at ‘Musee de la Tapisserie de Bayeux’.
The town is also known for the Bayeux War Cemetery – the largest World War II cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France – and Bayeux Memorial. Most of those buried there were killed in the invasion of Normandy and every year on 6th June (D-Day) the Royal British Legion National holds a service of remembrance there. The ‘Musée Mémorial Bataille de Normandie’ commemorates the Battle of Normandy, and makes up a trio of ‘Bayeux Museums’ in the town centre, which also includes the ‘MAHB’ that celebrates European art. Further details for all museums here: www.bayeuxmuseum.com
Le Mans is the traditional capital of the province of Maine, and just a two hour drive away. It has a well-preserved old town complete with cobbled streets and half-timber houses, and there are remnants that go back to Roman times. Of course it’s best known for the ‘Circuit de la Sarthe’ racing track and the 24-hour race that bears the city’s name. For information on driving experiences and motorsport events at the Le Mans circuit: www.lemans.org