From C to D - Caen to Dinan


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Europe » France » Brittany » Dinan
August 28th 2013
Published: September 4th 2013
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From C to D – Caen to Dinan

We said yesterday that we were following the alphabet with the successive places we are staying at. Well this isn’t quite true of our accommodation for the next 4 nights because it is actually located in Lehon, a suburb of the medieval town of Dinan. Nevertheless it is making it easy to find a title for each day’s blogs as sometimes it is hard to think one up at short notice.

As the countries of the world have got their act together and banned smoking in all sorts of places including hotels and public places we have noticed a trend that has developed that at times has subjected us non smokers to an even greater amount of second hand smoke than we were subjected to previously.

One of the obvious traits we have noticed on the BBA V2 is the habit of hotel guests who first thing in the morning go out onto their terrace or balcony of their room and light up often sending their foul smelling second hand smoke in our direction. Another annoying habit for us non smokers is the number of guests standing immediately outside the hotel entrance door puffing their heads off. At times it has made us want to look for a back entrance to the hotel to try and avoid the stink although we would probably find the hotel staff gathered there! We noted in an earlier blog from an Eastern European country that the price of cigarettes here is still too cheap to put people off smoking and that includes France.

We are so far west in this time zone that the sun gets up noticeably later than what we had been experiencing. So it felt later than it really was when we were loaded up and ready to hit the road.

First stop this morning was Bayeux to take a look at the Bayeux Tapestry. Well actually it isn’t a tapestry at all but an embroidered cloth which depicts amongst other events in history of the time, the Norman Conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings. No one is exactly sure but the tapestry was probably commissioned in the 1070’s although the earliest written record of it existence dates from 1476

Over the past couple of days we have experienced warnings on the GPS screen for faults the car appears to have developed such as the ABS brake system and the Anti Roll Back. As they have only come on when we have been starting off and do not stay on we have tended to ignore them. But this morning on the way to Bayeux the warnings were a bit more incessant so we resolved to locate the Citroen agent and have them look at the problem. The car is under warranty and we are sure it is nothing we have done.

The GPS brings up all the Citroen repair shops as we pass them by although noting appeared to be coming up as we entered Bayeaux.So we stopped at the Renault dealer who was very helpful and gave us a map to get to the Citroen competitor on the other side of the town. In fact we took one of the first ring roads built in France. This was built by the British forces after they landed at the D-Day beaches because the roads through Bayeux were too narrow for tanks and all the equipment being bought in after the invasion and liberation of France began in June 1944.Their answer was to build the ring road which still exists to this day!

We found someone in the large dealership, who spoke reasonable English and explained the problem, No worries, they would do their technical tests with the computer and find out the problem while we walked into town a kilometre or so away and viewed the tapestry and anything else we wanted to do in a couple of hours.

The tapestry is housed in a museum and is actually a 70 metre long woven cloth with more than 50 scenes tracing the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings.

For something that is nearly 1000 years old it is in amazing condition. The audio guide gives you a full description of what you are looking at as you slowly walk along the 70 metres of the tapestry as it is displayed. Quite a stunning piece of history and art and we were very pleased that we had the opportunity to see it.

It was market day in the narrow main street of the town and we took a stroll through the many stalls but resisted buying any of the delicious looking cheeses and fruits etc on offer.

We had been gone a couple of hours by the time we got back to the Citroen garage only to find that they hadn’t finished (or started?)with the car and could we fill in another couple of hours as they were closing for an hour and a half for lunch. There was nothing for it but to find some lunch and a cool spot out of the warming sun to eat and then take in the WW2 memorials and British cemetery that we had passed nearby on our way to the garage.

We did all of that including a walk through a memorial garden to journalists of the world who have been killed while reporting in war zones and trouble spots since the end of WW2.And there were a lot of names, none of which we had ever heard of before.

The memorial to the unknown soldiers killed in action during the D-Day landings and subsequently in the Normandy area had a long list of names almost exclusively British and the cemetery across the road was almost all given over to graves of British soldiers.

We still had some time to spare before the garage said the car would be ready so we checked out a couple of shops on the way back with Gretchen adding to the shoe collection she has been building on since Italy back in April.

The car was ready and they had found out that the problem was a contact that was faulty making the alerts come up on the GPS screen. However they didn’t have the part to be able to replace it and after assurances that the car was perfectly safe to drive and that if we called into the St Malo dealer (also owned by the same firm) then they would have the part and fix the problem very quickly. They would contact them and tell them to expect us in the next day or two.

Our plan to take a look in on some of the D-Day beaches we hadn’t been to before was dashed and although Lehon wasn’t that far away we had hung around long enough to be tired of more travel than what we needed to and so set a course directly for our next accommodation.

We pushed on making the best use of some double lane roads which enabled us to keep a good average speed and although the passing scenery was interesting with small towns and farmland inter mixed it wasn’t too different to what we had already been through so we didn’t stop for any further sightseeing.

As we got onto the N175 we passed Mont St Michel way in the distance and as we plan a day trip there we didn’t stop for photos

Before we knew it we turned off the N176 to Dinan, a medieval town of some size, and onto the outer ‘suburb’ of Lehon where our apartment for the next 4 nights was located.

We had thought from the pictures on the website that the apartment might have been out in the countryside but instead it was amongst a group of relatively new houses although it did have a small backyard with a small area of trees giving some nice privacy.Elisabeth, the owner and her young daughter lived next door and showed us around what was a spacious one bedroom apartment which again has everything we are likely to need by way of facilities including a washing machine.

We had done all the walking we needed to during the day while we waited for the car to be ‘fixed’ in Bayeux and so we were happy to sit back after dinner and watch the last two instalments of the Dunkirk Evacuation BBC series and complete all the history gaps we had on the Miracle of Dunkirk.

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