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Welcome to Dieppe
“Spread the word: if there’s a town in Normandy whose reputation doesn’t measure up to what it really deserves, it’s certainly Dieppe!” Lonely Planet
Dieppe is a real gem of a town. With its heart nestled in between two cliffs, its castle overlooking the rooftops, its wide seafront lawns and its ever-changing skies and seascapes, it is a town unlike any other. With a population of around 35000 (the whole surrounding conurbation has a population of over 80000), Dieppe is relatively small and compact, meaning it is easy to visit on foot to see the sights. If countless painters have fallen under Dieppe’s spell over the centuries, it is because of the unique light that typifies the town and its coastline. If numerous writers spent time in Dieppe, it is because of the special atmosphere that characterises the seaside resort. In fact, the town cannot quite be classified as a seaside resort, despite being the country’s oldest. It is above all a working port, is neither snobby nor shabby, and certainly doesn’t shut up shop in the winter. Although its heart beats more strongly in the summer, Dieppe can be visited in February and provide a host of interesting things to do. Sébastien Jumel, Dieppe’s Mayor, recently said that Dieppe was the country’s most talked about middle-sized town, and I can only agree with him. It is a town to be enjoyed every month of the year and for all of its different aspects.
Whether you are looking for the classic or for the modern, for historical monuments or new swimming complexes, Dieppe will be able to offer something to please you. With over one hundred cafés, bars and restaurants, you will inevitably find a spot to suit your tastes. It is a town for exploration, where you will discover beautifully-restored inner courtyards behind heavy wooden doors, or picturesque streets and cottages in the old fisherman’s quarter. Unlike many seaside towns, Dieppe has managed to stay remarkably simple and delightfully unpretentious. The town boasts four ports, has a varied economy and combines the charm of its small scale with a large panoply of tourist facilities along with excellent infrastructure and amenities for its inhabitants. The Dieppois are very much attached to their town, and even quite proud of it. Just like Oscar Wilde, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Camille Pissarro or Guy De Maupassant in their days, they know that Dieppe is special and want it to retain its unique character.
Throughout the following pages, you will discover all that Dieppe has to offer, from seaside activities to cultural visits and, of course, including the delightful and ever-tempting culinary specialities. I am sure you will enjoy your stay here since I know that Dieppe rarely fails to disappoint those who explore its treasures.
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How to get here
Despite incessant rumours to the contrary, the ferry route linking Newhaven to Dieppe is still well alive and going strong, as it has been for centuries. Now run by the Danish company DFDS Seaways, on behalf of the Seine-Maritime council, which helped save the line in 2005, the service is operated by a single ferry, the Côte d’Albâtre. Its sister ship (the Seven Sisters) left the port a year ago and is currently running between Le Havre and Portsmouth.
Whether leaving from Newhaven or Dieppe there are two crossings a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. The timetable isn't always very convenient (the ship leaving Newhaven at 11pm arrives in Dieppe at 4am for instance), but bear in mind that the ferry times were set to suit both tourists and lorry drivers. As the timetable is often amended due to tidal changes, always check before turning up at the ferry terminal without a ticket. If you travel from Newhaven at night, please note that upon arrival in Dieppe towards 4am local time, you will find no bus to meet you. Taxis sometimes operate but they are very rare at night in Dieppe, as the service usually begins at 6am.
The crossing usually takes under four hours. On board, you will find a pleasant cafeteria, a lovely bar with panoramic views, lounges to relax in and a small childrens' play-area. When the sun is shining and the sea is calm, spending time on the decks outside is a real treat. If the ferry is full, disembarking with a car can entail a frustrating wait, particularly at the Newhaven end where the narrow ramp allows only a one car at a time exit from the ship. Foot passengers escape faster, but have to get on a bus that links the ferry to the terminal itself.
If you are subject to seasickness, you will be happy to hear that the ferry has powerful stabilisers, although they aren’t of much help when the sea is ferociously rough. Cabins can be a real comfort, especially at night. They are spacious, clean and comfortable, though relatively expensive now that the prices have risen.
To book a ferry, visit www.dfdsseaways.co.uk. You can also call 0844 576 8836 (National UK numbers only) or 0800 917 1201.
There is a small aerodrome just outside Dieppe, although no large aircraft can land there. However, the number of air tourists who make a stop in Dieppe is increasing and now amounts to more than 5000 people a year on average. Nearly 20% of the total flow is made up of foreign passengers, the vast majority of whom are British. The aerodrome is equipped with a 820 meter-long asphalted runway and with a 700 metre-long non-surfaced runway, along with two large parking hangars and a fuelling station.
The closest major airports are either Beauvais or Deauville. Activity at Rouen and Le Havre is now very limited, and Deauville is set to become Normandy’s unique airport. A weekly service operates from there to London City. Beauvais of course is famous for Ryanair, where its passengers for Paris arrive. The town is in fact fifty miles away from Paris, and sixty-five miles away from Dieppe. If you are travelling by car, it will take you around an hour and forty-five minutes to get from the airport to the Dieppe beach.
If you are travelling by Eurostar you have two choices : you can either travel straight to Paris and then catch a train from Saint-Lazare station to Dieppe via Rouen, or stop at Lille and get on a train from the Northern city to Rouen and then on to Dieppe. Direct trains from Paris to Rouen take around an hour and fifteen minutes. Add another forty-five minutes to get to Dieppe. Travelling from Lille to Rouen can be a bore as the train is quite slow and seems to stop at every single station.
From Calais or Boulogne, follow the uncrowded A16 motorway towards Abbeville, then pick up the A28 towards Rouen and Dieppe. To get a better glimpse of the beautiful French countryside, you can also follow the D925 through Le Tréport to Dieppe once you get to Abbeville.
From Paris, take the A13 to Rouen and then follow the signs to Dieppe. The motorway linking the capital to Rouen is quite pricey , but the section inbetween Rouen and Dieppe is free. Once the Viaduc de la Scie is open, it should take only thirty minutes to reach Dieppe from Rouen, the capital of Normandy, and a little less than two hours from Paris.
You can read more about this here : www.dieppe.fr/blogs/the-depths-and-delights-of-dieppe-4/crossing-the-bridge-105
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A perfect week-end in Dieppe
On Saturday morning early, start your tour at the tourist office, where friendly staff will supply you with local maps and guides. A few steps away from there, you will most probably be tempted by the cheapest, freshest fish possible, available from the fishermen's wives who sell their husbands' catch at Les Barrières. You can alternatively cross the bridge to the new covered fish market. Head for the beautifully restored Arcades and there you will see the beginning of Dieppe’s famous market, which spreads from the Grande Rue into several side streets and is the largest market in the region. Every Saturday, from 8am to 1pm, the town centre is transformed into a street theatre and comes alive with colours, flavours and local delights. The market is so rich and plentiful that one really can't decide where to look or what to buy first, and you will have to spend at least an hour strolling through the streets. If the sun is out, you can then rest your legs at the terrace of Le Brazza or La Potinière, two cafés located a few steps away from the Puits-Salé square, behind St Rémy church. If you’re feeling cold, the bustling Café des Tribunaux will be a safer choice.
If you are feeling hungry around midday you should tuck into moules-frites (mussels and chips) in one of the numerous restaurants serving this typical dish along the Quai Henry IV (see the Restaurants and Brasseries section). From there, you can cross the historic Bout du Quai quarter via the Place du Moulin à Vent, and will find yourself on the seafront. Take a walk along the concrete pier that stretches out into the sea and from which you will be astounded by the beautiful views of the cliffs and the promenade. You can then follow the promenade to the swimming complex and even take a dip, either in the pool or in the sea, if the weather is clement. At the very end of the seafront, beneath the Western cliff, you will find the breezy Bar’O’Mètre, probably one of the best places to sit and have a drink when the sun is out. Next, back to the swimming complex; look for Les Tourelles, two small towers resembling a miniature of the castle above. You can pass beneath them and, if you have time, visit the Mémorial du 19 Août 1942 in the old Italian-styled municipal theatre, located on the Camille St-Saëns square.
Time for shopping. Follow the Rue des Bains to get a glimpse of St Rémy Church and then turn left into the Rue de la Barre, one of the town’s main shopping streets. You will see the Café des Tribunaux directly in front of you, and can then either take the Grande Rue on the left or the Rue St Jacques on the right of the building to buy chocolates from Roussel, macaroons from Divernet, cheese from Olivier or coffee from La Torréfaction Dieppoise on the Place Nationale. These are just a few suggestions, as Dieppe’s town centre houses a myriad of shops and stores.
For your evening meal, book a table at the Bistrot des Barrières or the Bistrot du Pollet. For cheaper options, try the restaurants with panoramic views in the Casino or at the Windsor hotel. Before bedtime, chill out with a cocktail at the Epsom or, if you want to feel at home, head for the Cambridge Pub for a pint of lager.
On Sunday morning, take a stroll along the Quai Duquesne to admire the colourful fishing boats. From there, you can reach the Place Louis Vitet, on which you will find Dieppe's oldest house: la Maison Miffant. Built in 1624, it magically survived the bombardment of 1694. You will then discover marvels of ancient Dieppe as you wander the streets of the quartier Sainte Cathérine, nestled behind St Jacques' Church. On Sunday, the church is bound to be open, so take a look inside. Head down to the Marina and cross the two bridges to get to le Pollet, the old fishermen’s quarter. If your turn left, you will come across a wonderful little bar, the Mieux Ici Qu'en Face (Better Here Than Over There) where you can stop for a drink. Then explore the narrow lanes and the old flights of steps and cottages before making your way up to the Bonsecours Chapel, built in 1876 in memory of sailors lost at sea. Inside, you will find some beautiful stained glass and walls covered with plaques in remembrance of loved ones. Right opposite the chapel stop for lunch at Les Voiles d’Or, considered by many as the best restaurant in town. It’s not cheap, but the food is outstanding.
Back in the town centre, walk up the Grande Rue and the Rue de la Barre until you arrive at a bank with two statued lions at the entrance. Turn right, and you will see the castle at the top of the hill. This impressive building houses one of Normandy’s most famous museums, and Europe’s largest ivory collection. After visiting the museum, find the back entrance, cross the old bridge and turn right to climb to l’Esplanade, from which you will enjoy panoramic views of the town centre, the seafront and the Channel. Make your way back down into town and stop for a drink on the Place St Rémy, where bistrot tables and chairs will be set out for you if the weather is fine.
If you have time for a meal before leaving, tuck into a creamy Marmite Dieppoise in the restaurant which bears the same name as the dish, Rue Saint-Jean. No doubt that, after tasting this superb fish delicacy, you will want to be back in Dieppe as soon as possible and you will be more than welcome!
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As every year, 2014 will be jam-packed with events
Every year, Dieppe welcomes the Tour de France à la Voile, a unique, multi-staged race, inspired by the famous cycle race, round the coats of France. This summer, Dieppe will be the first stop on the route from the 7th to the 9th of July. A village exclusively dedicated to the event will be set up on the Quai Henry IV and will include many activities for all ages.
2014 will mark the return of the world-famous kite festival, held every two years on Europe’s largest seaside lawns. Now in its 34th year, the festival is ranked among the 300 largest festive events in the world and attracts up to half a million visitors. This edition will take place from the 6th to the 14th of September and promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
Launched seven years ago by a young bunch of film enthusiasts, the annual film festival is now entirely dedicated to Canadian cinema. From the 14th to the 17th of September, numerous celebrities and hoards of film fanatics will descend on Dieppe for four days to fill the auditoriums of the Rex, Dieppe Scène Nationale and the Casino.
Also getting bigger every year is the 'bandes dessinées' (graphic novel) festival which will now be held in two different locations from the 3rd to the 5th of October. Hundreds of graphic novel fans will come to meet over forty authors at the Cité de la Mer and at the Jean Renoir library. The event will also include conferences and exhibitions.
From the 8th to the 24th of August, the funfair is back in town. The seaside lawns will be packed with rides big and small and games for all ages. Adrenaline addicts will take to the skies and families will be able to enjoy a wide range of fun rides for the younger thrill-seekers. Gooey candy floss, toffee apples, waffles and lollipops will contribute to everyone’s wellness.
Another popular event is the annual herring and scallop festival, which will take place around the Quai Henry IV on 15-16 November. People travel to Dieppe from all over France to attend the event, where they can tuck into delicious fresh fish and make the most of the numerous outdoor activities that take place.
Dieppe Retro, held annually the first weekend in September, celebrates veteran cars and the people who are passionate about them. This year again, the historic vehicles will rush around town before gathering on the seafront lawns.
Music lovers will not be forgotten with the Musiques Nomades festival, a new event that will take place on the 11th and 25th of July and on the 8th and 22nd of August. A mobile stage will be installed on the town’s most famous squares for two hours of music and grooves. Rock, pop and brass bands will hit the stage to entertain the crowds until the sun goes down.
On the 15th of August, Louis Bertignac, one of France’s most famous guitarists, will draw a huge crowd to the seafront lawns for the main show of the Rock sur les Galets festival. On the night before, For The Hackers, a young Dieppe band recently signed to Sony Music, will get the beach rocking.
You can obtain a full list of events in 2014 from the Dieppe area tourist office (http://www.dieppetourisme.com).
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Hotels and guest houses
From family-run guesthouses to four-star rooms, Dieppe offers a wide panoply of hotels for all budgets, tastes and needs.
If you really only want to sleep by the sea, you will find six hotels along the seafront, facing Europe’s widest coastal lawns:
Reading from the East, the Europe is a modern, comfortable and well-equipped three-star hotel. The rooms are spacious and all offer sea views. The hotel also has a cocktail bar to sit and relax in. If you find Alain behind the front desk upon arrival, don’t hesitate to ask him for tips as he seems to know everything about Dieppe. Rooms start at 80 euros per night.
63 Boulevard de Verdun
A bit further along the seafront you will find one of Dieppe’s most famous hotels: the Aguado. It is the Europe’s classier three-star sister, and has double rooms overlooking either the town (starting at 66 euros – a bargain) or rooms with sea views starting at 86 euros.
30 Boulevard de Verdun
Still very popular with the British tourists, the two-star Hotel de la Plage, ideally situated in the very middle of the Boulevard de Verdun, has recently been refurbished. Economy rooms start at 60 euros, but the hotel also has posher rooms with either balconies or jacuzzis, along with large family rooms that can sleep up to five people. The sunny breakfast lobby is delightful and you will even find a small back garden with chairs and tables.
20 Boulevard de Verdun
Famed for its panoramic restaurant, the three-star Windsor has rooms starting at seventy euros (overlooking the town) and 100 euros (with sea views). Eric Tanvet and his wife Martine always provide a warm welcome for their guests and even offer 20% off the bill to anyone over sixty-two years old.
18 Boulevard de Verdun
Located in the Casino, the Grand Hôtel was fully refurbished two years ago and has rather classy rooms ranging from 95to 160 euros (for the beautiful suite overlooking the sea). If you book here, various packages are available to spend an exciting night within the complex (meal, drinks and chips for the slot machines included).
3 Boulevard de Verdun
Situated beneath the castle, just opposite the swimming complex, the four-star Mercure is without doubt Dieppe’s most luxurious hotel. Those who remember the Présidence will be surprised to see how much the place has changed since the chain took over. Looking inland, prices start at 118 euros. You will have to pay a bit more for sea views. On the ground floor, the restaurant serves tempting and tasty dishes, and you will also find a classy lounge bar on the other side of the lobby.
1 Boulevard de Verdun
Dieppe’s town centre is small and compact, so even the hotels situated inland are all within walking distance of the seafront. One of the best bargains is probably Egg Hotel, which replaced the well-loved Etap two years ago. This new chain only has five hotels in France for the moment, and Dieppe is one of them. Starting at 39 euros, all rooms are en-suite and served by a lift to every floor. A cheap and cheerful breakfast is also served from 6:30 to 10am.
6 Rue Claude Groulard
Opposite the marina, you will find the three-star Hôtel des Arcades. Rooms there are at 72 euros behind the building, 82 euros overlooking the port, and 88 euros for a posh portside room. The hotel is actually famed for its restaurant, and you can combine several nights’ stay with either breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
1-3 Arcades de la Bourse
Another well-loved restaurant which boasts a hotel is the Grand Duquesne, located in the centre of town, next to the great church of Saint-Jacques. It only has twelve rooms (priced between 40 and 61 euros), all comfortable and en-suite. Just like at Les Arcades, for a minimum of 3 days stay, you can benefit from half-board packages, including bed, breakfast and lunch or dinner.
15 Place Saint-Jacques
Although Bed & Breakfasts aren’t as popular in France as they are in Britain, you will still be able to find several chambres d’hôtes in and around town. The most popular one is the Villa des Capucins, an ancient convert located on the île du Pollet, between the two bridges. The price of a cosy room there is 75 euros a night for a couple, breakfast included.
11 rue des Capucins
On the East cliff, just opposite the Bonsecours Chapel and above the delicious Voiles d’Or restaurant, the Bali-Dieppe is without doubt the town’s most original chambre d’hôtes : an exotic-looking house all made of wood from Indonesia. The price for a night is 120 euros for two guests, breakfast included.
2 Chemin de la Falaise, Neuville-les-Dieppe
On the West cliff, just off the Pourville Road, the architect-designed Villa Florida has four double rooms ranging from 77 to 110 euros, plus breakfast for 6.50 euros per person. The huge garden gives onto the golf course, and Danièle, the eccentric landlady always extends a warm and friendly welcome to her guests.
24 Chemin du Golf
Hotels on the outskirts of town are mostly modern chain hotels and include the Ibis, located just behind the huge Belvédère shopping centre, Formule 1 (the cheapest hotel in town), B&B, Kyriad and Balladins, all situated off the Avenue des Canadiens.
Dieppe even has a motel: Aux Ouvriers Réunis (now renamed the Côte d'Albâtre), which you will find if you follow the sign ‘‘toutes directions’’ on leaving the ferry port. It’s off the first roundabout at the top of the hill, you can’t miss it. The industrial area at the top of that hill, Eurochannel, is developing rapidly and will soon provide some new hotels and restaurants. Watch this space…
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A bit of history
Founded by the Vikings, Dieppe first became a strategic place on the map in the eleventh century, and was an important prize fought over during the Hundred Years' War. In 1066, William the Conqueror sailed with his army to the Sussex coast where he deposed King Harold of England at the famous Battle of Hastings. The following year, William sent supplies to his occupying army from the growing port of Dieppe. From the end of the fourteenth century, when construction of the castle began, Dieppe had become a fortified town. The robust castle, and one gate (Les Tourelles) of the fortified wall that was built round the town, still stand to this day.
Dieppe housed the most advanced French school of cartography in the 16th century. The famous ship-owner Jehan Ango, one of the town's most notable inhabitants, provided vessels to Francis I for exploration of the globe. He took over his father's import-export business, and ventured into the spice trade with Africa and India. He was one of the first French to challenge the monopoly of Spain and Portugal, and also helped to finance the voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier. Two of France's best navigators, the Vasseur brothers, also lived in Dieppe when they were recruited to join the expedition of René Goulaine de Laudonnière which departed Le Havre for Florida on April 20, 1564.
It was in the seventeenth century that the town increased in prosperity, thanks to its thriving commerce, the expanding fishing industry and the local craft of ivory-carving. Abraham Duquesne, whose statue stands on the Place Nationale, gained fame as the vice-admiral of the fleet of King Louis XIV, and under the reign of the Sun King Dieppe was the most important port of the country. The town became an important target in wartime, and was largely destroyed by an Anglo-Dutch naval bombardment in 1694. It was rebuilt after 1696 in a typical French classical style by architect Ventabren, who gave it its unique feature for a sea port, using flint and sandstone.
After the fall of the Napoleonic empire in 1815, Dieppe developed into the kind of town we know today. It was popularised as a trendy seaside resort following the 1824 visit of the widowed Duchess of Berry, daughter-in-law of Charles X. She launched the fad for sea-bathing in Dieppe and encouraged the building of the municipal theatre, the Petit-Théâtre (1825), associated particularly with musician Camille Saint-Saëns. The building now houses a memorial museum (see the Museums and Galleries section).
The railway age that began in the middle of the nineteenth century led to the development of Dieppe as both a place to stay and as a staging post on the shortest route between London and Paris. The town became popular with English artists as a beach resort. Prominent literary figures such as Arthur Symons loved to keep up with the latest fads of avant-garde France here. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the town became the subject for many impressionist painters, such as Camille Pissarro. The museum in the castle has a fine collection of 19th-century paintings.
Just before the second world-war, paid holidays were introduced by the Popular Front government in France, and Parisian families with modest incomes headed to Dieppe, the closest beach to the capital, to spend some time by the sea. Happy times rapidly faded away though, and in 1940 Dieppe was occupied by German naval and army forces. In order to allow a better defence of the coast against a possible allied landing, the Germans destroyed the beautiful mauresque casino that was located on the seafront. On the 19th of August 1942, the infamous Dieppe Raid took place, leaving thousands of young soldiers, most of them Canadian, dead on the beach (see the Dieppe and Canada section). Dieppe was liberated on the first of September 1944 by soldiers from the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Two days later, the entire division paused for reorganization, and a victory parade was held in the town centre. On the 10th of July 1960, the General De Gaulle, then President of France, visited Dieppe.
Over the past few decades, tourism has developed but the town’s industries and port activities have suffered from economic pressures and globalization. Dieppe is still a strong working port though, whose main factories and employers are not faring too badly at all (Alpine-Renault, Nestlé, Davigel, Toshiba…). The town is now trying to gain new inhabitants, mainly by building hundreds of new flats and houses on an old industrial site located south of the town centre.
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Dieppe and Canada
The link Dieppe shares with Canada can be traced back to the 16th century, when explorers such as the Verranzano brothers left the port, crossed the ocean and discovered the new land that they called “New France”. As the adjacent northern seas were rich in cod they started to attract a large number of fishermen from Normandy, who gradually established regular contacts with the natives. From 1620 Dieppe became one of the main ports of departure for New France, and in 1639, three nursing sisters from Dieppe - Marie Guenet de St-Ignace, Anne Le Cointre de St-Bernard and Marie Forestier de St-Bonaventure sailed across the Atlantic and disembarked in Quebec to start work on establishing the Hôtel-Dieu, the first hospital in the Americas north of Mexico.
In recent history, Dieppe was the theatre of the infamous Operation Jubilee, in which nearly 5000 Canadian soldiers attempted to raid the town. On the 19th of August 1942, these young men set foot on the pebbled beach with high hopes. Unfortunately, none of the objectives set that day were met, and a total of 4800 soldiers who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured. In remembrance of that day, a small memorial museum opened in 2002 in the beautiful, but then disused, Italian-style municipal theatre, located on the Camille St-Saëns square (see the Museums and Galleries section).
At the top end of town, just off the well-named Avenue des Canadiens, you will find the Canadian War Cemetery, designed by Philip Hepworth, which was the first new cemetery of the 1939-45 war to be completed in 1949. 948 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War are buried or commemorated here, 187 of whom are unidentified. The cemetery is much visited by those who wish to remember and honour the young men who sacrificed their lives on our shores.
Just beneath the castle, the council created a small park called Square du Canada (Canada Square), which is a lovely place to relax just a few steps away from the beach. In its centre lies the Dieppe-Canada Monument, which features the names of people and events linking Canada and Normandy. Behind it is a plaque commemorating the Dieppe raid. In the summer, the Canadian flag is represented by two large flower-beds on both sides of the square.
On the eastern side of town, Puys beach is also a place of remembrance. During the raid, the Royal Regiment of Canada planned to begin the battle in the darkness of the night. Unfortunately, their landing was delayed and the Regiment arrived on shore as the sun was rising. Without the element of surprise, their enemy was waitng for them, strategically placed and heavily armed. Heavy casualties were suffered immediately. On the seafront, a large memorial is erected in honour of the soldiers who died fighting for Canada in the war.
The plaque on The Royal Regiment of Canada Monument reads: “You who are alive on this beach, remember that these men died far from home so that others, here and elsewhere, might freely enjoy life in God’s mercy.”
In the mid-nineties, a two-part Canadian television mini-series named Dieppe was aired on CBC Television. It was based on the book Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid by Brian Loring Villa. The film was nominated for eleven Gemini Awards, winning two including Best Mini-Series. It was released on DVD by the CBC in 2002 just before the 60th anniversary of the Dieppe raid.
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Churches and monuments
Located in the heart of town, Saint-Jacques is Dieppe’s oldest and biggest church. Originally built in the twelfth century on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella, it was burned down in 1195, and was then gradually rebuilt over the years, mainly in Renaissance style. The lengthy and progressive architectural development of the church enables visitors to trace the history of gothic art over four centuries. Considered as a cathedral by several historians, the church is actually quite impressive, and, thanks to recent repair works, the portals situated on both sides of the building have been restored to their former glory. The best time to visit the church is on a summer’s evening, when the sun shines through the stained-glass windows and reflects beautiful colours on the floor.
Built in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Saint-Rémy is Dieppe's second great church. Although the sides of the building are in need of repair, the front and back of the church are well maintained, and offer simple but remarkable architectural gems. The great pride of the church is the Parizot organ of 1739, the most ancient and monumental instrument conceived by the organ builder. Mostly used by the students of the music school located just a few steps away, the instrument is often played at recitals and concerts for which the church is now famed.
The square in front of the church is popular on warm, sunny days, when the restaurants and bars all around set up tables and chairs for people to eat, drink, sit and relax. The little square behind the church now bears the name of Peter Avis, a former journalist and honorary citizen of Dieppe. Avis, who used to sit outside the Brazza bar after visiting the market, was Dieppe’s ambassador in the UK, and wrote a guide to the town along with a blog for British visitors on this website.
Eglise Notre-Dame de Bonsecours
Sitting on the eastern cliff, dominating the quartier du Pollet and the ferry terminal, Notre-Dame de Bonsecours is known as the seamen's church, as its inner walls are filled with memorials to the men who left their lives at sea. Small and compact, the chapel diffuses a unique atmosphere of warmth, peace, calm and simplicity. The grounds surrounding the building offer beautiful views of the sea and the marina.
Back in the fifteenth century, Dieppe town centre was enclosed by a defensive wall dominated by seven towers. Although the whole structure was impressive, six of the towers and the great wall itself were destroyed during the rebuilding of the town in the nineteenth century. Today, only onesolitary tower remains, located on the seafront, beneath the castle. The monument is a testimony of the times when Dieppe was one of the most important ports of the country.
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Museums and galleries
The castle that overlooks the town centre is one of Dieppe's most prominent landmarks. Erected in 1188, the monument has survived the passage of time and is in a remarkably good state of preservation. Officially classed as a Monument Historique in 1862, the castle was bought by the town in 1903 and turned into a museum twenty years later. Along with maritime exhibits, paintings by Georges Braque, Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro and the personal belongings of Camille Saint-Saëns, it houses one of the finest ivory collections in Europe. Built high on the cliff top, the castle also offers beautiful panoramic views of the town and the coast. On your way out, don’t miss the impressive black sculpture named Sitting Panoramic, from which you will be able to get one of the best views of the seafront.
Rue de Chastes. From June 1 to September 30: open daily 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm. From October 1 to May 31: open 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm (6pm on Sundays).
Cité de la Mer
Located a few steps away from the seafront, the Cité de la Mer is Dieppe’s sea museum. Created in 1989 on the initiative of the Estran association, it has recently undergone a major refurbishment project and now boasts over 1600 square meters of permanent exhibitions presenting the flora and fauna of Dieppe and its region. The main attraction of the museum is, of course, the aquariums, which allow the public to discover many of the species that live in the Channel and that are here presented in a reconstruction of their natural habitat. Early 2014, an aquarium dedicated to jellyfish was unveiled, and the museum now also has its own documentation centre. A great place to visit with children.
37 rue de l'Asile Thomas. Open daily from 09:30am to 6pm. Closed from 12:30pm to 1:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Mémorial du 19 Août 1942
Two years before the successful Normandy landings, the Operation Jubilee took place in Dieppe and on several beaches nearby. On the 19th of August 1942, over six thousand soldiers, mainly Canadians, set foot on the pebbled beaches with high hopes. Unfortunately, none of the objectives set that day were met, and a total of 4800 men who made it ashore were either killed, wounded or captured. In remembrance of the Dieppe Battle, a small memorial museum opened in 2002 in the old Italian-styled municipal theatre, located on the Camille St Saëns square. Built in 1826, the building was offered to the council by the Duchesse de Berry, Princess Caroline of Naples and Sicily, and bears witness to a time when the Parisian bourgeoisie used to spend their weekends in Dieppe. Thanks to the numerous documents, memorabilia, scale models, uniforms and films on display, the public can gain an understanding of the Jubilee raid, while taking a look at the remarkable building itself, which has retained its beautiful balconies, ornamentations and colours.
Place Camille Saint-Saëns. From May 24th to September 28th, the museum is open daily from 2pm to 6:30pm except Tuesdays. From March 29th to May 19th and again from October 4th to November 11th, the museum is open on weekends from 2pm to 6pm.
Tucked away behind the town’s main Post Office, this interesting mansion has recently been registered as a historical monument. Built in the twenties by Georges Feray, a famous local architect, it is named after its first owner, Pierre Perrotte, who was Mayor of Dieppe from 1929 to 1935. Originally a private hotel, the villa has now been transformed into a beautiful art gallery where works are exhibited all year round, featuring paintings, sculptures and photography from numerous contemporary artists. With its large window panes decorated with black and red geometric patterns, its wide staircase, a roof terrace and even a lovely contemporary garden, the Villa Perrotte is an Art Deco gem that is well worth a visit.
9 Rue Jules Ferry. Open Thursday to Sunday. Entrance is free.
Mini-sites > A Taste of Dieppe >
Art and culture
The French certainly love going to the cinema. Paris for example has more cinema screens than any other city in the world, and the number continues to grow every year. You will find two cinemas in Dieppe: the Rex and DSN. Located on the Place Nationale, Dieppe’s main square, the Rex houses four screens, one of which has digital 3D projection. This film theatre has recently been refurbished and all four rooms are modern and comfortable. The cinema shows a wide variety of movies from popular French films to big Hollywood productions, all of which are dubbed in French.
If you want to see a film in its original language, head for DSN (Dieppe Scène Nationale), situated at the end of the Quai Duquesne, a step away from the train station. The theatre only has one room, but it is by far the largest in town and can seat up to six-hundred people. DSN is the equivalent of a Picturehouse in the UK, and shows a mixture of independent, mainstream and foreign movies in addition to short films. It is one of Normandy’s most innovative film theatres and has a loyal audience and membership group.
Dieppe Scene Nationale is also, and above all, a venue that features drama, dance and music with the goal of promoting culture from around the world. Inaugurated by the famous French film-maker François Truffaut in 1982, DSN is one of the country’s national theatres and welcomes over 50000 people through its doors annually to enjoy performances of well-known recording artists, innovative dance companies and modern theatre actors. The venue also has a long list of shows that are appropriate for children and families, and organises a comedy festival every year.
You will find the whole programme on the theatre’s website: www.dsn.asso.fr
DSN also has a second venue called the Drakkar, located at the heart of Neuville-les-Dieppe. Built in the form of a Viking longboat, the building houses a library and a small theatre where one can enjoy a selection of shows, often aimed at a younger audience.
Once in a while, the beautiful theatre situated in the Casino will also have a show – often a comedy or a musical. The programme is available on their website: www.casinodieppe.com/fr/Agenda.
It's a shame that the venue is not used more often as it is a great place to see a live act or a play.
Adjacent to Dieppe Scène Nationale you will find the Jean Renoir Mediatheque, a big library rich with thousands of books, magazines, records and films. On two levels, the library has an IT suite with public-access computers, a whole floor dedicated to children and a quiet area where students can study in peace and quiet.
The council prides itself on promoting local artists, and numerous exhibitions are held all through the year in different locations around the town. For a safe bet, head to the Service Communication, situated in the Rue des Maillots. On the ground floor of the council’s communication offices, exhibitions are hosted throughout the year displaying all the various branches of art, from sculpture to photography. You will also be able to take a close look at paintings or photos in the reception area of the Town Hall, or on the first floor of the Centre Jean Renoir, before entering the library.
Every summer, an event called Lire à la Plage (Read on the Beach) is organised on the seafront. From the 2nd of July to the 30th of August, free book borrowing is available from a colorful beach hut installed on the pebbles, near the minigolf. Free deckchairs are also provided to relax in and read under the sun (when it shines).
If you want to discover the town’s treasures on a guided tour, then get in touch with Dieppe Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (DVAH) on the Place Louis Vitet, opposite the Maison Miffant (Dieppe’s oldest house). A team of professional and enterprising guides is busy throughout the year organising thematic visits of the town – by foot or by bike. Some of the lectures are in English, but you can pick up a lot even if your understanding of French is minimal, and documentation in English will be handed out. DVAH also organises workshops and tours for children and teenagers. The whole programme is available on this page: www.dieppe.fr/mini-sites/dvah
Mini-sites > A Taste of Dieppe >
Sport and leisure
Even at the peak of summer, the sea is rarely very warm in Dieppe. If you wish to bathe in sea water heated at twenty-five degrees Celsius, cross the promenade and plunge into the swimming pool at Le Carré, the town’s big swimming complex. Water is pumped directly from the sea and you won’t have to go in inch by inch. The complex also boasts an indoor pool, a slide, Jacuzzis and games for children.
A little farther out from the town centre, you will find two other swimming pools: Piscine Pierre de Coubertin, at the heart of Neuville-les-Dieppe, and Piscine Delaune, located on Chemin des Vertus, close to the numerous chain hotels at the top of town.
Whether it's an afternoon spent with family or a night out with friends, bowling is always a great activity. Dieppe’s bowling complex has recently been renovated from top to toe and has eight alleys, along with a large pool room and a comfy cocktail bar. The complex is located in the Belvédère shopping and leisure centre, at the top of the Avenue Gambetta.
Would you like to watch a match? Dieppe’s main football team only plays in fourth division, but has a loyal following and fan-base. Matches at the Stade des Vertus, situated just outside town, often attract an attendance of over 1200, and sometimes a lot more when Les Harengs play against Paris Saint Germain’s reserve team. It will take quite a long time to walk up to the stadium from the town centre, but you can easily catch a bus up on game days.
Adrenaline seekers will be pleased to know that there is a large karting complex located at the Southern end of town, in Rouxmesnil-Bouteilles. With an outdoor and an indoor track, Euro Dieppe Karting is one of Normandy’s biggest and attracts hoards of drivers at week-ends. With friends or family, go-karting is an exciting way to spend a couple of hours and unleash your competitive talents.
Bang in between the swimming complex and the skatepark, two sandy volleyball courts have been set up by the council in addition to the numerous sport and leisure facilities one will find along the seafront. On long summer days, the courts are taken by storm by colourful groups of young people who spend hours playing under the sun. Best of all, they are free to access.
Ideally situated on the Western cliff, where the town meets the countryside, Dieppe’s golf course is one of the country’s oldest. Built in 1897 by Willie Park Jr., it covers over 100 acres and has hosted several national tournaments over the years. The holes are played in a beautiful open area, from where you will enjoy scenic views of the coast, the seascape and the picturesque village of Pourville-sur-Mer below.
Located at the entrance of town, Dieppe’s horse-racing course has been active since 1854. The hippodrome covers seventy acres and boasts a 2500 metre-long racing track, large stands, a panoramic restaurant and a bar. Horse race betting is very popular in France, and Dieppe’s course hosts ten to fifteen PMU (the French equivalent of the Tote) races every year.
To check the programme visit www.hippodrome-dieppe.com
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Things to do with children
Dieppe’s seafront is booming with activities for both adults and kids. The beach itself has sand to play on at low tide, mostly at the western end of the seafront. Unlike on Brighton beach just opposite us, the pebbles are kept remarkably clean, thanks to the council and to the civic sense of most users. You will find rubbish bins every fifty metres, and public showers to get rid of the sand stuck between your toes at several locations along the beach.
At the western end of the seafront, the new swimming complex – Le Carré - is a great place to take children, as it has an indoor area as well as an outdoor section, complete with a water slide, Jacuzzis and games. While the younger ones have fun splashing around, parents can relax on the sun terrace or get fit at the gym, which offers pool views. You can tone up with the various water treatments on offer. The outdoor pool is heated to a comfortable 25°C and is adjacent to a restaurant and bar (La Rotonde), which is a delightful place to have a drink or a meal while the sun is out.
A step away from the swimming pool, the minigolf is a popular place in the summer. With its numerous obstacles, it is a great pastime for families looking to spend some outdoor time together.
Another couple of steps farther and you will get to the brand new and long-awaited skatepark. With its rails, curves, ledges, and obstacles, it’s a good place for youngsters to burn off their energy and improve their skills. Parents can sit and watch from the promenade.
In August, the funfair comes to town with the intoxicating smells and tastes of candy floss and toffee apples to enjoy as you tackle the showground rides. Attractions for all ages are set up on the seafront lawns, ranging from the classic ghost train to the water flume.
Opposite the Hotel Aguado, you will find a pedal-car rental kiosk. In France, we call these vehicules Rosalies, and they are very popular with families in the summer. Kids can sit in front and pretend to drive along the seafront while parents do all the hard work.
A visit to the Cité de la Mer, behind the Hôtel de l’Europe at the eastern end of the seafront, is rewarding for children and parents alike. Kids will love the aquariums and will also be able to learn about how tides work, pebbles are formed and fishing has developed along the coast.
If unfortunately the rain is pouring down, head for l’Ilôt Pirate, a huge indoor play area with slides, ball pools, climbing nets and tunnels galore, complete with a restaurant. Situated behind the Belvédère shopping centre, the complex is a long walk away from the seafront, but you can easily catch a bus up.
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Restaurants and brasseries
In Alexis Wafflard’s play Le Voyage à Dieppe (1821), one of the characters points out to his friends that it is impossible for anyone to visit Dieppe without eating oysters. Nowadays, most people come to tuck into moules-frites (mussels with chips) or the local specialty la Marmite Dieppoise, although you can savour remarkable oysters at Le Comptoir à Huîtres, on the Cours de Dakar. The restaurant is a walk away from the town centre but it well worth a visit not only for the delicious shellfish served in generous portions but also for the fresh fish dishes concocted by Chef Stéphane Barcq.
Most of the restaurants serving fish and seafood can be found on the Quai Henri IV, overlooking the marina where, for two centuries until 1994, the ferries deposited their passengers and the train took off for Paris. The ferry terminal gone, the quayside has been completely redeveloped over recent years, being transformed from a commercial quayside to a pedestrian thoroughfare fronted by apartments, restaurants, cafés and bars. It is now one of the town's most pleasant places to stroll, drink and eat.
Starting from the top of the quayside, the famous and always well-booked Tout Va Bien has continuous service and welcomes late diners, unlike most of the other restaurants in Dieppe, and, more largely, in France. Recently refurbished from top to toe, it has extended its premises and also extended its menu to an interesting three-course offer, including oysters, at around 16 euros. More surprisingly, burgers can now also be found on the menu, to suit the new tastes of the French.
(You can read this blog to find out more about this trend: http://www.dieppe.fr/blogs/the-depths-and-delights-of-dieppe-4/burger-today-bourguignon-yesterday-where-has-all-the-good-old-french-food-gone-97)
A bit further along the quayside, the NewHaven has just opened a second room on the ground floor of the historic Hôtel d’Anvers. Very popular with the British clientele (maybe because of its name), the restaurant prides itself in working with very fresh produce and we must say that the place does offer very good value for money.
A few steps away, the Restaurant du Port is one of Dieppe’s most long standing and cherished establishments. Michel Mouny can still be found behind the stoves, and in the dining room his wife helps create a homely atmosphere. Prices here are a bit more expensive than elsewhere but you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the food.
Other fish restaurants along the quayside include L’Océan, Le Galion, La Musardière, L’Epave and Le Sully.
The French are also very good at preparing savoury crêpes. If you are not in the mood for fish or seafood, you can try Ty Briez or La Mouette A Vélo, where one can tuck into galettes or crêpes of various types, accompanied by a glass of tangy cider.
At the top of the Quai Henri IV, under the beautiful Arcades, The Bistrot des Barrières has rapidly become one of the most successful restaurants in town. Very popular with the locals and tourists alike, the place is highly rated and you have to get there early or book well in advance if you want a seat. Although fresh fish is the specialty, the establishment has also become famed for serving generous and satisfying desserts. The menu changes regularly and you usually get good service and advice from the friendly staff.
If you are a meat lover, then La Cotrillade is the place for you. Tucked away under the Arcades, it has taken over where the Tex Mex restaurant once was. The place is the French equivalent of a steakhouse, with various types of meat on the menu and plentiful side dishes.
One of Normandy’s great culinary specialities is without doubt the Marmite Dieppoise. Although you will be able to find the dish on the menu of many of the town’s restaurants, one of the best places to enjoy one is the establishment which bears the same name as the dish. Just off the marina, in the rue Saint-Jean, the restaurant serves several variations of the rich and creamy shellfish bouillabaisse.
Across the Pont Jehan Ango, right bang in the centre of the Ile du Pollet, you will find Le Bistrot du Pollet, a well-loved and quite classy venue which serves fresh, beautifully cooked and creatively presented fooddishes. Just like at Les Voiles d’Or, an economy lunchtime menu has just been introduced at around 20 euros.
A few steps away, le Turbot is another restaurant that has become very popular in recent years, especially since the national newspaper Libération wrote good reviews about it. At a very reasonable price, you will get served glorious fresh food, with a generous buffet choice for starters.
Perched on top of the Eastern cliff, adjacent to the Bonsecours Chapel, Les Voiles d’Or may be difficult to get to, but once you find the restaurant you certainly won’t be disappointed. Recently awarded with one star in the prestigious Michelin guide, Les Voiles d’Or is often regarded as the best restaurant in town. Once again, fresh fish dominates the menu, and although the prices may not suit all pockets, Tristan and Corinne Arhan offer a cheaper deal at lunchtime. They serve homemade bread and fine wines too.
On the seafront
Le Bas Fort Blanc, one of Dieppe’s most popular restaurants, can be found right at the end of the seafront, beneath the western cliff and adjacent to the Bar’O’Mètre. It serves a wide variety of dishes, from pizza to pasta, seafood and meats. Also very popular with the locals, the classy Epsom bar will serve you a bruschetta up to midnight. Try the excellent cocktails too. Along the Boulevard de Verdun, the Windsor Hotel and L’Horizon in the Casino both have nice restaurants with panoramic views. On the ground floor of the Mercure Hotel, the stylish Présidence restaurant has a good reputation and serves creative dishes that blend traditional and modern cuisine. Opposite the outdoor swimming pool, the restaurant La Rotonde is now under new management and is a lovely place to have a meal in the summertime.
If you are a veggie…
Although France remains a nation of meat-eaters, vegetarians are more and more common and many restaurants have now added veggie dishes to their menus. You won’t be able to find a pure vegetarian restaurant in Dieppe, but the elegant Grand Duquesne introduced several years ago an impressive and varied vegetarian meal at around 16 euros. Back on the Ile du Pollet, you will also be able to compose a vegetarian menu at La Bekaa, a tasty Lebanese establishment. Note that most pizza restaurants also have at least one vegetarian pizza on the menu, often a quatre saisons, with onions, mushrooms, artichokes…
If you want to taste something that isn’t French at all, try a couscous which is just as much a national and popular dish as la blanquette de veau is. La Taverne Algéroise in the Rue Duquesne serves couscous accompanied with some spectacularly tasting meat and vegetables. Previously cited, La Bekaa on the Quai du Carénage has a typical Lebanese menu. Sushi lovers will head to Sushi & Me, a small Japanese eatery on the Quai Duquesne, or Sushi Top in the rue des Bains, close to Saint-Rémy church. Opposite Mc Donald’s in the big Belvédère shopping centre, the Royal Wok offers all you expect from a huge Chinese buffet. Last but not least, the Rajasthan in the Rue de Clieu serves tempting curries (although milder than in Britian).
Fast food outlets
If none of these restaurants suit your tastes, you will be happy to know that all of the main fast-food chains have outlets in Dieppe. At the top of town, both McDonald’s and Quick (the tastier French equivalent) can be found at the entrance of the Belvédère shopping complex. A mile away (you’ll have to take a car or the bus from the town centre), Subway has just opened a restaurant on the Avenue des Canadiens. McDonald’s has also recently opened a second location which you will find if you follow the sign ‘‘toutes directions’’ on leaving the ferry port. It’s off the second roundabout at the top of the hill. It is rumored that KFC may soon be opening up on that site too. For fast eaters with small purses, kebabs and pizzerias can also be found all over town.
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A few famous cafes
Café des Tribunaux
Right bang in the heart of town, Les Tribunaux is Dieppe’s oldest and most popular café. Housed in a historic eighteenth century building, it is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. Years ago, Renoir, Monet, Flaubert or Maupassant drank here, and it is rumoured that Oscar Wilde wrote a few novels in the café. Thanks to its ever-so-French decor, several television commercials were filmed in and outside the building, and les Trib’ is still the melting-pot were local politicians, tourists, students and even celebrities meet. As with most cafés, Les Tribunaux now serves good food at reasonable prices.
1 Place du Puits Salé
Le Bar O Mètre
At the top end of the seafront, directly beneath the cliffs, lies a bar unlike any other. As soon as the sun comes out, the outdoor terrace fills up in no time with a rush of locals and tourists eager for a cold drink. If people can sit here for hours and hours, it’s mainly because of the beautiful, romantic views that the small bar has to offer. When the sun sets over the sea on a clear evening, the Bar O Mètre is the only place to be.
51 Rue Alexandre Dumas
Mieux Ici Qu’En Face
Across the Colbert bridge, in the heart of le Pollet, the old fishermen’s quarter, the Mieux Ici Qu’En Face is an unique and unclassifiable café. The clientele includes arty types, fishermen back from their day's catch, the local intelligentsia, tourists on their way to the ferry and old folks who like to spend afternoons playing cards. Quite effortlessly the place sums up Dieppe perfectly! Decorated with objects of many and varied styles, this café, only a few metres square, heaves with personality. Nico and Clet, the lovely landlords, like to make everyone feel at home and do their best to promote local artists by holding numerous exhibitions.
9 Quai de la Somme
Tout Va Bien
Another name that is often associated with the town is the Tout Va Bien. With its big red lights spelling out “all is well”, the café-brasserie is one of Dieppe’s landmarks. Located at the top of the Quai Henry IV, the old quay with restaurants galore, the Tout Va Bien has recently been refurbished from top to bottom, and now offers a huge area to simply sit and have a drink. Originally a brasserie, the place still serves its famous moules-frites (mussels and chips) and sea-food platters that whet the appetite of many a tourist.
3 Quai Henri IV
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Located on the quai Henry IV, opposite the marina, the Cactus, as the locals call it, is a funky, vibrant and buzzing cocktail bar. Stop off for a drink on the terrace on a sunny afternoon to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere or pop in late for a bite and a colourful cocktail.
71 Quai Henri IV
Tucked away in la rue du Boeuf, La Boussole is Dieppe’s most famous night bar. The late Bernard Françoise may no longer be behind the counter, but the unique atmosphere remains and the bar is still packed to the brim every weekend. Expect eclectic music and trendy night owls.
35 Rue Du Boeuf
At the heart of the seafront, l’Epsom is a cosy and classy cocktail and music bar. The drinks are gorgeous, the food served tempting and tasty, and the views of the seafront delightful. Most Fridays, jazz, blues or pop bands warm up the basement.
11 Boulevard de Verdun
A few steps away from Dieppe’s main shopping street, the Cambridge does its best to be the town’s most British pub, although the decor is somewhat Scottish. A large range of beers and whiskies can be ordered from Micha, the cheerful landlord, who even organizes a pub quiz every Wednesday.
2 Rue de l'Épée
Now the Abordage has closed, the Panama is the only nightclub remaining in Dieppe. Located at the entrance of an industrial area, only a mile away from the town centre, the venue is a typical French discotheque, with cheesy but festive tunes booming through the speakers, a wide audience and themed parties that get the place buzzing from dusk to dawn.
Rue Louis De Bures
Bar des Bains
Opposite Saint-Rémy church, the Bar des Bains is an unpretentious and friendly boozer where the local rock fans like to meet. With classic vinyls hanging on the walls, cheap drinks and great music, the BDB is a good place to socialize and enjoy gigs.
7 Rue des Bains
Fifteen years ago, when it was called the Brunswick, this place was one of Dieppe’s most popular night bars. It has gone through many ownerships and refurbishments since then, and has only just opened up again under the name Le Julia’s. With three rooms and a mezzanine, the bar is huge and is sure to be buzzing as soon as the week-end hits in.
19 rue Saint-Rémy
Nestled in Le Bout du Quai, one of Dieppe’s most historic districts, l’Alexander is a pub where the real night owls hang out. With its large counter, faded lights and a good choice of drinks, the bar is one of the town’s most best-kept secrets.
10 Rue de la Rade
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Tips and tricks
If you are visiting or saying in the town centre, you can easily get around on foot. However, if you wish to travel up to the extensive Belvédère shopping complex or the Canadian war cemetery for example, Stradibus runs an efficient bus service. A good place to catch one of their buses is the tourist office, where most of them stop. Tickets from the bus driver only cost one euro.
If you want to discover the town by bike, you can hire a bicycle from ACREPT Vélo Service, located in Rue de Stalingrad, behind the station. From the 15th of June to the 15th of September, the association also offers a bike-hiring service opposite the tourist office, where you will find a wooden bungalow open from 1pm to 6pm Monday to Friday and from 11am to 6:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
There is a money-changing machine on the ferry, but it will take quite a big commission and should only really be used for small sums of money. Cashpoints in town accept most debit and credit cards and will take a standard fee for the transaction, so the smaller the transaction, the bigger (proportionally) the fee. Most shops, hotels and restaurants will also accept your bank card. If you have a lot of cash on you, you can change your money and get a good rate at the main post office, located opposite the town hall.
If you arrive in Dieppe on a Sunday, don’t be surprised to find almost everything closed. Unlike in the UK, many shops and restaurants are also closed on one weekday, most often on Monday. Banks are open on Saturday mornings but closed on Sundays and Mondays. Also bear in mind that all offices and many shops close at midday for lunch.
Alcohol and tobacco
The days when cigarettes were much cheaper in France than in the UK are long gone. Steep price rises have been the rule in France over the previous years, and are set to continue. Buying alcohol in France is still a good deal though, mostly if you have a taste for wine. If you are looking for a really good bottle, ask advice from L’Epicerie Olivier, Rue Saint-Jacques. If you want to stock up, head for Auchan or Leclerc, the main hypermarkets. You can take home as much as you wish “within reason and for your personal use”, but please don’t forget to think about your health and your budget.
Smoking is prohibited in all public places (museums, monuments, cinemas) and on public transport. Restaurants and bars are also all non-smoking.
Tea and coffee
If you are dying for a good cuppa, the Epsom on the seafront has an interesting selection of teas. In France, tea is never served with milk unless you add “avec du lait” when ordering. If you order a coffee “un café s’il vous plait”, you will be served an expresso. For a bigger quantity, but less taste, order un allongé. If you want a cup of white coffee, ask for a grand crème.
In a restaurant, check your bill to see if it indicates “service compris”. If you were happy with the service provided by the waiter or waitress, two or three euros is usually a fine amount to leave on the table. If you are served by the owner, a tip is generally not expected.
If you want to connect your computer, phone or pad to the internet, wifi should be available in your hotel. You can also connect with the world from within and in the vicinity of the Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville), the public library and media centre adjacent to the railway station (Centre Jean Renoir) and the swimming pool complex located on the seafront.
Dieppe is generally a safe a calm place, although like every other town it has its small share of problems. Crime and theft are rare but, as elsewhere, may sometimes occur, mostly at night and in the town centre, where the night bars are situated. If you are walking back to your hotel late at night, simply be aware of your surroundings.
Phone boxes have either disappeared or are out of service and certainly don’t take coins anymore, so remember to take your mobile phone with you. To phone Britain from France, dial 0044 followed by the number you want but omitting the 0 before it. To phone a French number from outside France, begin with 0033. For directory inquiries in France or elsewhere, ring 118 218 or 118 712.
You can buy stamps at a post office or at a 'tabac'. Dieppe’s main post office is located Boulevard Marechal Joffre, opposite the town hall. You will need a € 0.66 stamp for a postcard or letter weighing under 20 grams within France, and a € 0.83 stamp to send to another country within the European Union.
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Interesting facts and surprising anecdotes
-Dieppe is the closest beach to Paris. Only 115 miles separate the town from the capital.
-Dieppe is also the country’s oldest seaside resort. Back in the early 19th century, the Duchesse de Berry started the fad for sea bathing here.
-Dieppe’s seaside lawns are Europe’s largest.
-Dieppe is nicknamed “la ville aux quatre ports” (the town of four ports), as it boasts a ferry port, a marina, a fishing port and a commercial port.
-Revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh worked on the Dieppe to Newhaven ferry before rising to global prominence.
-In the late sixties, an artificial ski slope was constructed on the Western cliff-tops. It only lasted a few years though, and was soon taken over by rats.
-Sir Winston Churchill used to spend time in Dieppe, and very much enjoyed bathing in the sea here.
-Numerous celebrities are linked to the town: footballer Emmanuel Petit and actress Valérie Lemercier were born here. NBA superstar Tony Parker grew up and played football in Dieppe, before moving on to basketball. Nobel Prize–winning physicist Louis De Broglie, author Alexandre Dumas, musician Camille Saint-Saens and theologian Albert Réville also lived here.
- The name Dieppe derives from the Viking term “djepp”, meaning “deep”. Scandinavian Vikings settled in and around Dieppe because of the hospitable harbour they found here.
-Edith Piaf gave one of her very last concerts in Dieppe. In 1963, she sang at the Rex (that has now become a cinema), but had to spend most of her time on stage sitting down in a chair. She passed away a couple of months later.
-British band Duran Duran recorded a song called Newhaven-Dieppe in 2002 under the name The Devils.
- There are only six ivory carvers left in France, two of whom apply their traditional skills in Dieppe. Some of the most famous works of ivory sculpture are exhibited here in Europe’s largest ivory collection with over one-thousand remarkable pieces.
-Le Pollet, the old fishing quarter, has its own unique identity and is like a town within the town. Some of the residents even call themselves Les Citoyens du Pollet (the citizens of the Pollet).
Mini-sites > A Taste of Dieppe >
• Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville) 02 35 06 60 00
• Police (Commissariat) 17 or 02 32 14 49 00
• Fire brigade (Pompiers) 18 or 02 32 90 59 15
• Gendarmerie 02 35 82 04 35
• Tourist Office 02 32 14 40 60
• Hospital 02 32 14 76 76
• Ambulances 02 32 14 75 75
• Taxis 02 35 84 20 05
• Bus services (Stradibus) 02 32 14 03 03
• Aerodrome 02 35 84 14 40
• Sous-Préfecture (Regional government office) 02 35 06 30 00
• Affaires Maritimes (for leisure boating at sea) 02 35 06 96 72
• Coastguard (Sémaphore) 02 35 84 23 82
• Lifeboat (SNSM) 02 35 84 16 07
• British Consul (in Paris) 01 44 51 31 02
• Chemist shops open after 10pm (call the police station) 02 32 14 49 00
• Lost property (Police municipale) 02 35 06 61 95
• Postal services 02 35 06 99 20
• EDF (Electricity emergencies) 08 10 03 03 33
• GDF (Gas emergencies) 08 10 80 08 01
• Cinéma Rex 0892 686 902
• Dieppe Scène Nationale (DSN) 02 35 82 04 43
• Jean Renoir Library 02 35 06 62 62
• Dieppe Ville d’Art et d’Histoire 02 35 40 18 57
• Rail information (Renseignements SNCF) 36 35
• Railway station (Gare SNCF) 02 35 06 69 33
• Sea Rescue Service (Secours Maritimes) 03 21 87 21 87
• SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) 02 35 84 26 17
• Camping (Camping Vitamin’) 02 35 82 11 11
• Weather forecast - local (Météo régionale) 02 92 68 02 76
• Weather forecast - at sea (Météo marine) 02 32 68 08 76
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