We have enjoyed some glorious weather during the past week. One could have imagined that summer had arrived, but it hasn’t lasted of course. Still, during the few days when we had shirt-sleeve temperatures we took advantage and spent a lot of time out of doors.
Dinard is a town with several discrete neighborhoods. Over the winter we have mostly stayed in our own sector of Saint-Enogat for our walks and explorations. With the sun, however, we ventured further afield and spent an afternoon in the more emblematic part of Dinard, the main beach called Plage de l’Écluse, and its environs. Downtown shops and the marché are at sea level, but the extravagant villas that Dinard is famous for are perched on the rocky promontories on either side of the beach. The most famous of all is perhaps Les Roches Brunes at the tip of la Pointe Malouine. Built in 1896, it commands a panoramic view. In 2007 the house was donated by its last owner to the city of Dinard and it is now a cultural and artistic center.
On the opposite cliff on la Pointe Moulinet is the Villa Saint-Germain, built in 1888. It was in the same family for several generations but has just sold this year for a price rumored to be around 15 million euros. It is still a private residence.
Another marvelous mansion in this neighborhood is the Château des Deux Rives built in 1878 by the wonderfully named Count Dahdah. This property has been divided into apartments.
I wrote about the mansions on our side of Dinard last fall. Saint-Enogat was discovered by artists and the intelligentsia and began to be settled in 1875. The central part of town, however, attracted the industrialists, so the homes here are grander and more celebrated. On a recent walk Rick met a fellow who has written a book about one of the grand old homes of Dinard. He explained that there are over 400 villas or châteaus in town. To have this label implies a kind of size and pedigree. A chalet is a bit smaller but still with historic roots. There are no ordinary or modern houses erected on the cliffs overlooking the sea.
On another afternoon we took a stroll along the sea wall. Our aim was to go from our beach all the way past the main Dinard beach to the Port of Dinard. The walkway, carved out of the cliff face, is pummeled at high tide by the waves but at low tide leads all around the coast line. It should have taken us about an hour to traverse from one side of town to the other.
Unfortunately we discovered that the path has been blocked going both east and west from St. Enogat due to the collapse of parts of the walkway. It’s unclear if this erosion happens every year or if this winter has been particularly destructive. Hopefully there will be some rebuilding, although it is a law of nature that cliff facings aren’t replaceable.
During the warm days there has been plenty of activity on the beach, sun bathers, ball games, wind surfers, joggers, tide pool explorers. In the evenings, when people go home, the sea birds comb the sands to find anything left behind.
This week also brought the full moon and with it the high coefficient which translates into high tides crashing on the garden wall.