Photo : @Laurent_Travel
TRY TO UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE TOWN OF THE 4 PORTS!
To discover Dieppe is to realise to what extent great personalities of the past, who already spoke highly of the town throughout the world, were right. Indeed, decades and centuries before us, people who roamed the earth undoubtedly kept it in their minds. Note, for example, the great navigators, for whom the port of Dieppe quickly became their main home port, as they set forth to explore new worlds. Continue with the Duchesse de Berry, who, falling under its spell, went so far as to promote the benefits of sea bathing, earning the town the honourable title of the oldest seaside resort in France. Then, from le Tout Paris to the English, it was artists, painters, musicians and writers who contributed to building the town’s international reputation. Finally, more recently, it was the famous Dieppe astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who referred to Dieppe as “France's best kept secret”.
Photo : @Charles Jacques
WHAT TO DO IN DIEPPE IN ONE WEEKEND?
Whatever the type of trip you’re looking for in Dieppe, the resort offers a wide variety of attractions and amenities to satisfy local, tourist and business customers. What’s more, in Dieppe, the weather is often very mild. So, every year many visitors come to enjoy all the facilities and events on offer under the radiant Dieppe sun! Although it’s difficult to define the essentials, as the town is full of surprises... With our guide, find some ideas for your next visit.
1) Dieppe beach “Nuances of blue, grey, turquoise and azure”
High up in our ranking of beaches, France's oldest seaside resort has nearly two kilometres of pebble beach, which, at low tide, quickly turns into a fine sandy beach. Here, it’s impossible not to find a place to enjoy the seaside! With the castle museum and the cliffs in the background, walk along the esplanade lined with seasonal stalls and all kinds of activities. Enjoy relaxing and walking on the eight hectares of lawn along the sea front. Throughout the year, take part in the events offered such as the Kite Festival, the Alpine car exhibition, the fair, concerts and much more...
Panoramic view of Dieppe @Jennie Lfd
2) Dieppe and its ports “Natural resources, and the town's lungs”
Linked to the sea since time immemorial, Dieppe has founded its identity on this natural wealth. Already in the 16th century, the town was one of the largest ports in France. We can therefore say without exaggeration that the town’s harbours are its main asset and the lungs of the town. From fishing to commerce, from yachting to cross-Channel tourism, everyone will find their home port here. Stroll along the Quai Henry IV, an unmissable quayside that reflects both the soul and diversity of the town. To enhance your visit, take a break on the dunette, the deck looking out over the Marina, then enjoy a sea trip to discover the jewels of the Côte d'Albâtre.
Crédit photo : Perla Sanchez@mexicana_post
3) Dieppe and its rich heritage
Sometimes preserved, sometimes redesigned, Dieppe reserves beautiful surprises for all history lovers in search of historical heritage and beautiful well-conserved buildings. Start your exploration with the Castle Museum. This mediaeval gem, transformed over the centuries, stands proudly on the city's cliffs. It contains one of the most beautiful ivory collections in Europe and tells the whole maritime history of the city. As for its interior courtyards, you can easily spend several hours there - they are free to visit, and in addition to a breathtaking view of the sea front, you will enjoy exploring them, especially if you have children!
Photo : Château de Dieppe @Catherine Pelcat
4) The Le Pollet district and the Colbert Bridge “Power of iron and engineering”.
Also known as the fishermen's district, Le Pollet is a working-class area of the town. You’ll observe the emblematic Pont Colbert, also known by the inhabitants as “the turning bridge”. Contemporary with the Eiffel Tower, it bears witness to the engineering of the time and is the only bridge of its kind still in operation in Europe. In place since 1889, this 800-ton giant is an integral part of the Dieppe landscape and the town's identity. Skilfully controlled manually by the bridge operators, it gives access to the commercial harbour and connects Le Pollet to the rest of the town. Very useful, because without it, the whole district would find it difficult to get to the town centre. Thanks to an outpouring of solidarity and the determination of the Comité de sauvegarde du Pont Colbert and local stakeholders, it has been included in the list of historic monuments since 2017. While waiting for its official ranking, don't miss the sound and light show organised on June 9th to celebrate its 130th anniversary.
Pont Colbert@Jennie Lfd
Still in Le Pollet, walk along the cobblestones of Rue du Petit Fort. Observe the old houses of flint and sandstone where you can discover many hidden treasures: ex-votos, statues, wall paintings and more...
La Rue du petit fort dans le Quartier du Pollet - Courtoisie Ville d'Art et d'Histoire Crédit photo :@Ville de Dieppe
5) Jehan Ango Bridge - The “gateway” to Dieppe
As you continue your Dieppe escapade, don’t miss the Jehan Ango Bridge. This impressive blue drawbridge, dating back to the 1950s, is named after the 16th century Dieppe shipowner. Like the Colbert Bridge, it also has its local nickname “The fish market bridge”, and was also hit during the Second World War. Nearby you can walk along the quayside of the Quai Duquesne, (which was actually the original name of this bridge).
Photo : Pont Jehan Ango @Catherine Pelcat
At the same time, don't miss the opportunity to discover the fish market located on the Quai Trudaine
Photo :© Jean Decaux - CRT Normandie
Think there's nothing more you can do? If so, think again, because in Dieppe, if you're curious, the journey sometimes begins at the end of the street... Continue your exploration through the Tourelles, a remnant of the ancient walls of Dieppe. Here you can take a short break in the Place Camille Saint-Saëns, and discover the former Italian Theatre of the Duchess of Berry, which has now been converted into a Memorial to the Dieppe Raid of 1942.
Les Tourelles - Courtoisie Dieppe Ville d'Art et d'Histoire Crédit photo :@Ville de Dieppe
After this rewarding visit, let’s head for the pedestrian streets of the town centre. A short stop at the Place Nationale, to quickly onwards to investigate the Place du Puits Salé.
La Place du Puits Salé - Courtoisie Dieppe Ville d'Art et d'Histoire Crédit photo :@Ville de Dieppe
A must in Dieppe, the Place du Puits Salé is a central point of the town. Two streets converge here, making it a popular and generally very busy place. You will discover the remarkably well-preserved facade of the Café des Tribunaux, sometimes referred to as the “postcard of Dieppe”. From arcades to half-timbered houses, not to mention its colourful houses, decorated with countless wrought iron balconies, Dieppe can be proud of its rich architectural heritage, which has earned it the title of “Town of Art and History” since 1985. If you want to know more about the town’s secrets, don't miss the guided tours offered by Dieppe Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (Place Louis Vitet).
Peinture Walter Sickert - Tate Modern: @Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND
In a totally different genre this time, go and discover the town’s religious heritage. And you can be sure that on that side, the town has no reason to be jealous either. Like a pilgrim on the way to Santiago, discover the impressive architecture of Saint-Jacques Church, which, decorated with filigree gothic tracery, is so massive that one could almost mistake it for a cathedral! During your visit, you will observe the 16th century frieze of the savages, which recalls the city's rich maritime past.
Eglise Saint-Jacques Crédit photo @Luc Morel Photographisme
Intérieur de l'Eglise Saint-Jacques Crédit photo @Jacques Ledos
On this theme, continue with the Saint-Remy Church, then, take a step higher, with a visit to the unmissable Bonsecours Chapel dedicated to the memory of sailors and fishermen lost at sea.
Chapelle Notre-Dame de Bonsecours @Jennie Lfd
6) Dieppe, Culture, Art & Film
In terms of living culture, thanks to the existence of the National Stage (DSN), Dieppe offers a very wide range of shows in theatre, dance and music as well as a selection of art films. The city is also fortunate to have a conservatory of music, theatre and dance with nearly 1000 students and a large number of shows open to all. Art Deco lovers? Don't forget to visit the Villa Perrotte, during the Heritage Days. Finally, if you like regular appointments that are full of surprises, it's a red carpet every year with Ciné Deep and the Dieppe Canadian Film Festival.
7) Dieppe and Canada - “Two Stories, Two Contrasts”
From the settlement of New France to the 1942 Raid, Dieppe has a long history with Canada. First of all, you have to go back in time ... a long way back ... to begin with Samuel de Champlain, (Founder of Quebec in 1608) who undertook some of his expeditions from the port of Dieppe. Then, in 1639, the town was also the starting point for the Augustines of Quebec City, the nuns who founded the first hospital in North America (located in present-day Old Quebec). Finally, from 1663 onwards, a number of “marriageable” girls, including some from Dieppe, called “Les Filles du Roy”, voluntarily emigrated to the New World in order to contribute to the development of the colony (during the French period).
Much later, a completely different destiny was to be fulfilled here; at a time when all of Europe was under the control of the Germans, Dieppe was chosen as the location for the Allied landings on 19 August, 1942. This first landing attempt was the deadliest raid Canada had ever seen during the 11-month campaign in Europe. During this operation, more than 6,000 soldiers landed in Dieppe, including 5,000 young Canadians, 1,000 British commandos and a handful of Americans. The toll was very high as less than half of the Canadians who left for Dieppe returned to England. This attack also claimed many British victims, killed, wounded or captured. On both sides of the Channel and the Atlantic, this tragic event will always be remembered. Their stories and memories are carefully preserved at the 19 August 1942 Memorial. They are also visited through places of meditation such as the Square du Canada, monuments on the sea front and the Les Vertus Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. Every year, touching commemorations are held here for the soldiers, who are now considered heroes for all of us, who came to liberate Dieppe at the expense of their lives. However, although this part of the story is most tragic, it led to improvements in tactics, which would lead two years later to the 1944 Liberation.
Crédit Photo : @Ludovic Lepetit
8) Dieppe Market
A human, lively and warm city, it is at its market that Dieppe is totally revealed. This takes place every Saturday, and the atmosphere is pleasant and lively. This unique market is classified among the finest markets in France and is really worth a visit. You’ll appreciate the multitude of local products offered on the different stalls.
Marché de Dieppe @Jennie Lfd
Did this getaway whet your appetite? Don't miss a break at the Class'Ik wine bar where you will be offered a selection of delicatessen and cheese dishes as well as delicious wines to taste. Then, to have a drink and enjoy your evenings, we recommend the Cambridge Pub, with its "So British" atmosphere.
As you may have guessed, it's easy to occupy a two-day weekend in Dieppe! And be assured that a third day will not be too much to discover all that the town has to offer...
Here are some additional suggestions for some of the most unmissable streets and squares that you can easily visit on foot: Explore Rue Canu, where you’ll find the last of the Dieppe ivory carvers. Continue with the Quartier du bout du Quai, with the Place du Moulin à vent and the Rue des Bonnes Femmes. Around the corner, observe Rue Beauregard. At this level, continue towards Rue Asile Thomas, for a visit to the Estran Cité de la Mer aquarium. Finally, (between the castle and the memorial) contemplate the Venetian Villa on Rue de Sygogne and then discover the Miffant house, the oldest house in Dieppe, located on Rue d'Écosse.
La Maison Miffant - Rue d'Ecosse - Courtoisie Dieppe Ville d'Art et d'Histoire Crédit photo :@Ville de Dieppe
Note that the visits presented here are intended to help you to discover Dieppe over a weekend of two or three days. Of course, the town also offers many other possibilities and events such as gastronomic festivals (Herring Fair and Scallop Festival), flea markets, running races, Sea Festival, Solitaire du Figaro, International Kite Festival and much more! So many possibilities for an unforgettable stay...
Festival du cerf volant de Dieppe, France Photo © Catherine Pelcat
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See you in Dieppe soon!