The little walled Breton town of Dinon is, in my view, one of the most wonderful places in France .
In the place where I come from ancient monuments were marked out in the landscape – in terraced hillsides, in lines of trees, in clearings in the bush, in midden pits and formations of rock. Homes and villages were not built to last. So to me the ancient towns of France are always a source of wonder.
Most of the town is perched on a hilltop overlooking the River Ronce far below, where boats lie at anchor in the beautiful Port of Dinon.
The town’s narrow streets and squares are lined with timbered houses, some dating back to the 13th century. Stars among Dinon’s architectural marvels are the Jacobin’s Theatre which was built in 1224, the flamboyant Gothic St Malo’s Church and Le Château de Dinon with its fortified walls and walkways.
Like all French towns, Dinon is more than the sum of its bricks and mortar. Its long history includes great events and great people. Numbered among its great people is one of the most famous sons of France.
Born in Dinon in 1320, Bertrand de Guesclin, the Eagle of Brittany, distinguished himself as a French Military Commander during the Hundred Years’ War. He was appointed Constable (or chief military leader) of France in 1370 and served in the post until his death. De Guesclin’s body is buried at Saint-Denis in the tomb of the Kings of France but his heart remains at the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur at Dinon.