Our stay in the beautiful walled city of Dinan was more than we bargained for as the town was preparing for its bi-annual medieval festival, Fête des Remparts (Festival of the Ramparts). Unfortunately that also meant that we couldn’t extend our 3 night stay as the campsite was fully booked over the weekend and we would miss the actual fête, oh well, we’ll just have to come back again! The town was expecting over 110,000 visitors over the 2 day festival and a full programme of music, dancing, street art and theatre is arranged, also jousting, a chivalry tournament, games, workshops, parades and even a festival ball are organised alongside a medieval artisan craft market, food and drink etc. Having had an enforced break due the pandemic this year was shaping up to be a doozy. Oh and two day entry pass to the festival was €12 per person, but only €5 if you wear period costume.
Up in the beautiful old town, viewing stands had been erected for the jousting arena and hay was been ferried to the temporary stables that had been set up beside Château Dinan. The cobbled streets were festooned with the red and yellow festival pennants. We visited the Thursday Farmers Market and the place was buzzing. Already women and men in period costume were mixing with the crowd and having their photos taken with locals and tourists. The Municipal Camp Ground where we were staying was fast becoming a staging area for the festival. Our neighbours, a friendly older French couple from the Alsace region, are jewellery makers and they spent a lot of their time preparing their jewellery and costumes for the market. They also greeted and socialised with other campers, also vendors, who they obviously knew from previous years or other festivals or markets. Across the way an English couple arrived and set up their tent. For a lot of the afternoon we were ‘serenaded’ by the gentleman with medieval bagpipe music as he rehearsed his pieces. The place was heaving.
Away from all the hustle and bustle of the old town, down by the River Rance, we spent a few hours biking some of the over 70km of the Saint-Méen-le-Grand to St. Malo bike path. It was peaceful here, just the gentle flow of the river, flowers, birds and even an otter, an occasional boater passed by and quite a few cyclists enjoying the sunny day. Up river we passed by the beautifully kept locks to the town of Évran. We detoured through the nearby forest, around the Bétineuc pond and back to Dinan. The next day we explored down river, passing the lovely Léhon Abbey, then we made our way over the narrow stone bridge to the port area of Dinan, with its moored boats and eateries at the foot of the tall arches of the viaduct. The moorings were full with many recent arrivals for the festivities in the town. We continued on to Saint-Samson-sur-Rance with its marina and lock which takes you on to the Rance Estuary and St. Malo. The Rance along with the canalised River Vilaine make up an inland waterway that takes boaters from the English Channel to the Bay of Biscay. Safe to say we have unfinished business in this area and will be back again one day to explore further and hopefully to enjoy the full experience of the Fête des Remparts.