FRENCH hotels are generally cheaper than British hotels. That’s a help to British visitors in a time of reduced exchange value of the pound, although the pound has been pulling back in recent months. It also helps your pocket, and will surely promote nocturnal acquaintance, if you share a room with another human being.
Considered by some as the best appointed hotel in Dieppe is the Europe, at the far eastern end of the seafront. At 125 euros a night for a double room (110 euros with twin beds) in 2012, the price is a bit OTT for a two-star establishment in France. But, at that price, such luxurious accommodation would be a gift in a British seaside resort: vast rooms, vast beds and vast baths; and, remarkably, every room has a sea view. Breakfast 10 euros and tourist tax 85 centimes per night. There is a bar, closed on Monday, but unfortunately, Philippe is no longer behind it (he and and his cocktails can now be found at the Epsom bar towards the western end of the promenade).
Dieppe’s long seafront, which boasts the widest lawns of any coastal resort in France, has only six hotels. Reading from the east, they are:
* the Europe;
* the Aguado, the Europe’s classier three-star sister, which has double rooms overlooking the town at 89 euros and rooms with sea view at 125 euros (posher rooms at 145 euros);
* the Plage, which boasts a faithful British clientele, has seaview double rooms at 97 to 110 euros and back rooms at 67 to 87 euros, while single travellers can find a room at 60 euros; breakfast 10 euros.
* the Windsor, with its panoramic restaurant, has rooms in summer at 110 euros (back of hotel) and 135 euros (with sea view). If you are "un sénior" (over-60) you get 20% off. Breakfast 11.15 euros.
* the Grand Hôtel at the Casino has rooms this summer between 90 and 105 euros, or you can have a suite overloking the sea at 155 euros.
* the three-star Mercure, smartened up since the chain took over the rather dilapidated Présidence, has rooms with sea view at 135 euros (145 euros, July to September) and looking inland at 125 euros (135 euros, July to September). Breakfast (should be good) costs 16 euros.
Cheaper hotels are inland. In the Rue de la Halle au Blé, parallel to the seafront behind the Epsom bar, you will find the unpretentious Les Galets (new name and new owner for the former Tourist Hotel) clustered around an old monastery courtyard. Double rooms at 51 euros, plus breakfast 7 euros. No lift.
The spick-and-span Etap Hotel in the Rue Claude Groulard is run with impressive efficiency by the ever welcoming Florence Giffard. All rooms are en-suite, served by a lift to every floor: price, of a small room for two is 46.60 euros in the summer season, with breakfast 4.95 euros per person. The Etap surely offers the best hotel bargain on the Dieppe scene, and it's plumb in the centre of town.
Smarter, more spacious (and dearer) accommodation is available at the Hôtel des Arcades, cimbined with a restaurant overlooking the marina. Rooms there are at 69 euros behind the building, 79 euros overlooking the port, and 85 euros for a posh portside room. Breakfast 10 euros. The Grand Duquesne, next to the great church of St Jacques, has a dozen rooms (priced between 54 and 67 euros, plus breakfast 7 euros) above an elegant restaurant: another convenient juxtaposition of facilities at bedtime.
Hotels outside the town centre include the Ibis, at the top of the Avenue Gambetta (rooms from 69 euros); Formule 1, just outside town in the Chemin des Vertus at St Aubin (basic price 39 euros); and the lorry drivers’ haven, Aux Ouvriers Réunis (now renamed Au 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. A single room costs 41 euros. Those United Workers (Ouvriers Réunis) get well fed, too.
Some people prefer the charm of a chambre d’hôte – a French-style homely B and B – to a hotel. For example, the very successful Ghislaine Boré (0 235 821 652) has transformed an ancient convent into five cosy rooms for guests in the Rue des Capucines, Le Pollet: 75 euros a night for a couple, breakfast included. Or you might choose the architect-designed Villa Florida (0 235 84 4037), impressively overlooking Dieppe golf course on the Pourville road, beyond the western edge of town, which has double rooms at 77 to 110 euros, plus breakfast 6.50 euros per person.
You will find details of all these places and more on Google, or from the Tourist Office at the Pont Ango (0 232 144 060 and www.dieppetourisme.com)