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Dieppe France Normandy Dieppe

Dieppe France


Dieppe

Dieppe is a good base from which to explore the Côte d'Albatre (the Alabaster Coast), which looks rather like the white cliffs along the south coast of England. The GR21 route runs from Dieppe to Le Havre, or if you are driving follow the D75 coastal road from Dieppe to Étretat.

The port of Dieppe makes for a much more pleasant stop over than its fellow ports in Northern France. In fact, in the nineteenth century Parisians and English tourists would come here to take the sea air or to swim in the sea. Today Dieppe is still a working port, unloading everything from bananas to shellfish from the boats. You can buy fresh fish off the boats every day and so the restaurants are well supplied. There is a Saturday market in place Nationale on the Grand Rue.

From Newhaven in England you reach Dieppe in two hours by hovercraft or four hours by ferry. Both the stations (SNCF and gare routière) are located 500m south of the port on bvd Clemenceau. The tourist office is on Pont Ango between the pleasure and ferry ports.

The oldest and grandest of Dieppe's hotels are along the seafront (well, as close to the sea as the extensive lawns will allow), in a surprisingly quiet area of town. La Plage (02 35 82 36 82) has rooms from €40 45 but no in house restaurant. For the same price Les Arcades (02 35 84 14 12), under the arcades by the port, has good value menus at €16 and is near to the best restaurants in town.

The pedestrianised Grand Rue leads onto Quai Henri IV with its cafes, restaurants and brasseries contributing to the lively atmosphere. Wander along comparing different menus, but don't forget to check out restaurants in the old town too. One famous example is La Marmitte Dieppoise at 8 rue St Jean (02 35 84 24 26) with evening menus from €25 38 and excellent seafood. For a postprandial drink you could make like Oscar Wilde and head for the Café des Tribunaux at place du Puits Salé, which was frequented by Impressionist painters in their time.

During the day the fifteenth century castle at the western end of the bvd de Verdun contains the Musée de Dieppe where you can see Pissaro, Renoir and contemporary artworks for a mere €2.50. The Cité de la Mer (€4.30) off the harbour combines exhibitions on the formation of cliffs, aquariums and a shop selling fish soup!