Blogs / The depths and delights of Dieppe 23/12/19
What a year!
Back in January, I wrote a blog post on this website explaining why 2019 was going to be a big year for Dieppe. It turns out that it was even bigger than I expected. Thanks to gorgeous weather throughout spring and summer, very high numbers of visitors headed to our sunny shores, and the local tourist office has enjoyed a bumper year. The best surprise arrived in June, when Dieppe’s famous Saturday-morning market was voted second best in the whole country! That really helped to promote this unique seaside town as a quality destination, where you can savour local food & drink at its best. Rick Stein would certainly agree, as you can see in the first episode of his new ‘Secret France’ series, which aired on BBC2 early November. He even crowned our port “home of the world’s best whelks”!
Another good surprise came last month, when the GR21, which crosses Dieppe and its surroundings, was voted France’s favourite hiking trail. Anyone who has walked along this scenic route can confirm that the natural beauty of the land and seascapes the trail offers are simply breath-taking. Being a real active and sporty town, Dieppe was then awarded the “Terre de Jeux 2024” label, recognising the town’s efforts to increase the amount of sport people play and to get them involved in the big Olympic and Paralympic journey. Dieppe will now have access to an exclusive visual identity, as well as marketing tools to spread news about Paris 2024 and make preparations for key moments.
That’s not all. Here in Dieppe, good news comes in fours, and just last week it was confirmed that Dieppe had gained the prestigious “Station de Tourisme” label, rewarding the town for the quality of its beaches, facilities, activities and restaurants. Tourism is on the rise in Dieppe, and this label will help the town draw even more visitors, thus contributing to the local economy. Remember, Dieppe is right on your doorstep, and you don’t have to travel further south to experience the best of France.
I really came to realise that the town was in good shape while reading through the comments section on The Argus’ website a couple of weeks ago. Under an article on the closure of several independent stores in Brighton city centre, a reader commented that the city by the sea was going downhill and advised people to visit Dieppe, where one could find an amazing market, delicious restaurants and small independent shops galore. I was born in Brighton and have always looked to the city, but today I must admit the guy is right. Thirty new stores have opened in the town centre over the past year, which is amazing for a municipality of 30,000 souls. Dieppe has become a small mecca for local produce, quality events, good restaurants and indy shops, and the best is yet to come. Bring on 2020!
Blogs / The depths and delights of Dieppe 03/12/19
The fun never stops!
What a weekend! On 16 and 17 November, tens of thousands of hungry visitors descended on Dieppe to celebrate the 50thanniversary of our famous herring and scallop fair. The event promised to be epic and it certainly was. The quaysides were packed from dusk to dawn and a true festive spirit was in the air. Despite the chilly weather, nothing could spoil the fantastic atmosphere. The forecasters had predicted rain. It didn’t rain a drop. The news readers talked about social protests. There were none. Everywhere you looked, people had smiles on their faces and sparkles in their eyes. Dieppe definitely was the place to be and the town put on a show to remember.
At nightfall, a delightful family-friendly sound and light parade illuminated and animated the streets, followed by one of the most impressive firework displays Dieppe had ever seen! Locals and visitors alike were left dazzled by the beauty of it all. This was truly Dieppe at is best: a welcoming, festive, authentic, friendly and yummy seaside town, whose heart beats year-round. I was surprised, and pleased, to hear so many foreign accents and speak to lots of Parisians who were visiting Dieppe for the very first time. Our town is the closest beach to the capital, yet many of its inhabitants have yet to discover France’s oldest seaside resort.
On the same weekend, Dieppe’s new multiplex cinema opened its doors in the heart of town, right opposite the busy train station. I wrote about this exciting new development last month, but wasn’t quite expecting it to be as good as it is. First of all, the place is huge, boasting eight screens in comfy, large rooms. Without doubt, it is also one of France’s most beautiful new movie theatres, combining the best of the old and the modern. The immense brick building in which the cinema is housed has been beautifully restored and is an attraction in itself. Under the same roof, you will also find one of France’s largest sport bars, a virtual reality park and a French Coffee Shop (our answer to Starbucks).
Now make way for the festive season! The lights are sparking across town, a huge Christmas tree has been installed right in front of the Café des Tribunaux, one of Dieppe’s most iconic landmarks, and quirky trees made of colourful scallop shells and herring figures are proudly standing at the top of the Quai Henri IV, beneath the beautifully-illuminated arcades. They certainly stand out and, just like Dieppe, have character! Enjoy the last days of the year!
© Photo : Pascal Diologent