For a totally immersive Renaissance experience, make your way to Brittany this July. French châteaux, castles and fortresses capture the imagination any day of the year but medieval magic? That comes when you walk through the entry of a summer fête in full swing, stroll the remparts and viscerally feel time slip away. 

Open wood fires with meat turning on the spit, Renaissance music wafting through the air, and every conceivable ancient art on full display, from artisans selling their wares, to juggling street-walkers to blacksmiths and full-enactment jousting — it’s all part of the same cacophony as you weave your way through the battlements and encampments.

Fête des Remparts, Dinan, France

This is what you want to go after if you want the full monty.

I wrote a blog about this event last October when Covid was still casting doubts and shadows everywhere — but as the clouds lift, come to find, the event is in full-throttle-creation right now for you to consider if you are in the area.

Summer fêtes in France are not out of the ordinary. They are annual events all over the country. In Brittany, Dinan hosts the extravagant Fête des Remparts every other year, in July. This July 2021 is the next one and it promises to be as rambunctious as the last. Perhaps more so this year, as artists and guests alike, celebrate a return to a ‘new normal’, in being and traveling in France.

It’s actually a leisurely walkabout within the walls of the castle; a walk that goes on as long as you have feet willing to take you there. It’s not jam packed with too many people though earlier is always better — and, en fait, besides the event itself, you can wander the historical, medieval town of Dinan, which sits both on rive Rance, and up the cobblestone hill to centre ville.

Located only 30 minutes inland from the famous Saint Malo or under an hour’s drive from Mont St Michel you might be best served to find an accommodation not IN Dinan at this point as it will be booked out. But worry not; the choices are plentiful, from chambre d’hôtes to gites to fine hotels.

Arrive early and spend the day! Come in costume! It *may* give you free entry! Admission is about 15 euros.