Thursday, 1 September 2011

Dinosaurs in Dinan

The Breton town of Dinan is an absolute delight.  For the 'camping caristes' amongst you there is a great aire just along from the port area of the city.  Okay it's not free but neither is it mindblowingly expensive, about 4-5 Euros a day.  I can't give a precise amount because the town kindly offer 30 minutes of parking free and if you keep feeding the meter at different times of the day you'll get another spell gratis.  The supertight could view sticking around a car park all day and and  paying nothing by having free tickets re-issued every half hour as time well spent.  Of course the slightly less penny pinching amongst us can spot an obvious downside.  They'd miss out on everything that this super place has to offer.

We've been back three or four times now and taken in a walk around the ramparts, visited the churches and the markets and cycled along the riverside paths that lead directly from our temporary home.  There's some great restaurants too.  We've had lovely meals at Les Voyageurs, Le Cantine and great wood fired pizzas at La Lumachelle with the added bonus that the leftovers were eaten for breakfast the next day!

One place that we've missed on previous visits was spotted by our budding geologist companions, Louis and Josh.  On the rue du Petit Fort, the steep cobbled lane that connects the main town to the port area is a wonderful open air shop selling fossils, rocks and jewellery.  Look for the dinosaur bones outside and a notice announcing an 'exposition'.

What made this place special was that the owner who speaks only a smattering of English is a real enthusiast about what he sells and was fantastic at sharing his passion with two excited kids.  Even though they spent less than five euros each the boys were made to feel special and about an hour  was dedicated to showing them interesting specimens.  All the samples that they bought were labelled with the name and the origin of the stone and a piece of amber was polished to see if there was a prehistoric creature lurking inside  Many of the objects on sale had been found by the owner himself on collecting trips around the globe.  This may mean that the shop only operates during the summer. But if you stumble upon it when it's open and are in a particularly generous mood, please support this lovely business and buy me a trilobite!

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