Dinan – a medieval city and a wonderful church

Looking up into the organ loft

The medieval city of Dinan is straight out of a Grimm’s fairy tale. There are a few cities like this in Europe, but you can never quite believe them until you see one. Winding streets of old houses, shops and restaurants complete with a beautiful river and a castle. The houses in the meandering medieval streets are of timber and plaster and hang over the streets at all sorts of alarming angles. If you painted a picture of them you’d be accused of making it all up. But the jewel of it all has to be the church of Saint-Malo. Built in the XIVth century the interior is a wonderfully quiet and cool sanctuary away from the bustle of the town centre. As you enter you are immersed in beautiful warm and dusty light suffused with the many colours that just glow from the stunning stained glass windows that surround the church. There is stained glass everywhere and although they are not all old they are spectacular just from the sheer amount and the colour. It is a truly spiritual place. You don’t have to have a faith, but I defy anyone not to be moved by this place. But the very best part is just sitting in the nave listening to the organist play. There is nothing on earth like the sound of a really good church organ; the way the sound fills the enormous space and the notes resonating inside you. There’s just nothing like it. Sitting here in Saint-Malo you can’t but reflect on the hundreds of years of history that have passed through this place and the surrounding town. The wars of the last four hundred years and the thousands of lives that have been through here and gone. A true feeling of your own mortality.

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