Dinard versus Saint Malo, a tale of the two cities

« Dinard is a wonderful town,  says my friend Vincent Lécuyer who pretends not to be biased, it is indeed the best place to see Saint Malo ! ». The two cities looking at each other accross the sea seem to have nothing in common, but I love them both. To me Saint Malo is a mischievous bad boy, while Dinard is a delicate lady calling for respectability with a posh English accent.

Dinard was from the start an aristocrat town. Thanks to the English consul Alpyn Thompson, who fell in love with the area in the 1840’s and later the American, William Faber, who started building magnificent villas on the amazing Pointe du Moulinet, the little town became a summer sea resort attracting wealthy British looking for a milder climate not far away from home. Even, when the Côte d'Azur became the place to be from the 30's onwards, Dinard retained some of its Englishness.

The architecture of opulent villas and their bow windows, the Anglican Church, the golf club, the English gardens are the remains of this Anglo-Saxon invasion.

In Saint Malo, on the contrary, the British were never welcome. The city is notorious for its « corsairs », French privateers who forced English vessels to pay their tribute. Saint Malo, which is also the home town of famous explorer Jacques Cartier who discovered Canada, and who resisted all British attempts to capture the town, even during Saint Malo's raid in 1790.

The spirit of adventure is still flowing through the veins of the Malouins. Saint Malo runs its « Étonnants voyageurs » festival, the « Route du rhum ». Saint Malo was sadly bombed during the last day of World War II, in August and September 1944, by the allies, the Americans and the British, who had been lured to believe the town had became the German headquarters. Apart from very few buildings the historical centre had to be rebuilt stone by stone.

Meanwhile Dinard, also occupied by the German was freed by American troops on August 15th and remained untouched and very Anglophile and hosts the prestigious Anglo-French film festival.

 

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