Dinard’s Beaches and the best views….

Saint Malo as seen from the Plage de la Prieuré

The past month and more particularly this past week have been crazy!  One of those periods where everything that can go wrong does, you ask yourself (again) how you managed to get involved in so many activities at one time, and you wonder if sleep is reserved only for those without young children.  Luckily the sun does come out, at least temporarily, and you can come up for air!  To me, coming up for air means going to the beach for the sand, the view, and the chance to pretend I’m on vacation!  Today, I picked up Laura from pre-school and off we went to the Plage de la Prieuré in Dinard.

Dinard is graced with wonderful sandy beaches.  Depending on your mood, you can choose between the four main beaches (Ecluse, Prieuré, St Enogat and Port Blanc) as well as the wonderful walkways and coastal paths which connect them.   In the summer months, lifeguards man the beaches.  The Plage de l’Ecluse (aka La Grande Plage or the Main Beach) is directly in the center of town and is the most well-known.  It is surrounded by cafés, restaurants and little stands that sell crêpes, ice cream, waffles and other little goodies to indulge yourself with.  During the summer months, there is also a beach club for young children (3-10 years old).  The municipal pool is also located here if your children need swimming lessons.  Thanks to its central location, you can enjoy the beach and then head into town to window shop or go to the market.  You can also walk along the paths either way to reach either the Plage de Saint Enogat or the Plage de la Prieuré.  If you have small children who can walk, you need to be very careful!  The paths are not protected and are slightly dangerous for small children in spots.  I refuse to take Laura and Elise with me on certain sections–if they were to start running and slip, I don’t care to think about what would happen next.  Either direction will take you past Dinard’s striking 19th century villas and offer you beautiful views of the ocean.

Plage de la Prieuré/Promenade du Claire de Lune

The Plage de la Prieuré where we went today is my favorite when I just want to walk, admire the views and let the girls play in the sand.  Even in the summer, their idea of swimming is to get their feet wet.  It is also directly across from the Parc du Port Breton.  The park is a great place for the entire family and a nice compliment to the beach.  There is a wonderful playground split into two areas, one for younger children and one for older children.  If you venture further in, you can admire a variety of birds and a small “zoo” (chickens, goats, lama, kangaroo, etc.).  Adults can enjoy the rose garden or just the chance to sit down and watch their children play.  As soon as the weather turns nice, it is also a popular picnicking spot.

Saint Malo across the Waves

Saint Malo across the Waves

As I said above, one of the things I love about the Plage de la Prieuré is the view.  The best views of Saint Malo are, let’s admit it, from across the river in Dinard.  You can admire Dinard from Saint Malo but it doesn’t have the same effect on me.  When you’re finished playing in the sand, if you want to make a day of it, head over to Saint Malo.  If you have children, and even if you don’t, one of the neatest ways to visit either city is to take the water taxi.  The beach was enough for me today but we’ve enjoyed the water bus before.  Simply board the Bus de Mer (water bus) in Dinard near the Yacht Club/Claire de Lune walkway and sail across to Saint Malo in just 10 minutes.  You arrive at the cale de Dinan directly in front of Intra-Muros (the Walled City).  It’s a great way to introduce your kids to a boat ride.  Just long enough for you and your children to “enjoy” the trip without them getting bored.  As an added bonus, if they are nervous and uncomfortable aboard, you know that it’s only a quick trip and they will never lose sight of land.  Children under 2 sail free, those 2-12 pay 4.50€ round trip all year-long.  Round trip adults tickets are 6.90€-7.50€ depending on the season.  (You can also buy one way tickets.)  For summer visitors, the sea bus has the added advantages of saving you from crossing the Rance River bridge (traffic jam guaranteed when they raise the bridge every hour on the hour) and paying to park in either Saint Malo/Dinard.  Here’s hoping for some smooth sailing for all of us!

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