Archive for February 26th, 2011

February 26, 2011

Dieppe, fishing ,corsairs, and Normandy!

This is another of my watering holes, as it is close to me, and great quaint, seamen town of France. It is located in the department of  Seine-Maritime, region of Haute Normandie. dept No 76.  A great way to see Normandy and France is to visit Dieppe.  The oldest mention of this name comes from the 11C, as it was first known as Deppae (1015-1029) Dieppa (1030), then in the 12C as Deppa or Diopa. It is related to a name given to a stream that throws itself at the city, it was called the  Tella, and in the text of the Mérovigians and Carolian kings it was designated as Dieppe!

You get here as most visitors do from Paris, train service from gare St Lazare, and arrive at Blvd Clemenceau in Dieppe train station.  The train TER regional link is this one, http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/haute_normandie/Fr/Se_deplacer_en_TER/Avant_mon_voyage/Recherche_d_itineraires/Default.aspx

Above is at the research itineraries section in French. By road, you take the A13 direction Rouen, at Rouen take the connector road A151 to Dieppe (about 2h45m from Paris) , best parking by Blvd Verdun or underground by Casino .By air the airport aérodrome Dieppe-Saint Aubin offers service to tourist light planes, webpage at http://www.dieppe.cci.fr/html/aero_coordonnees.htm    . From Newhaven ,UK you can come in via Transmanche ferry,webpage http://transmancheferries.com/ .

The town has an intense seamen history and a great fishing port, first in France for the st jacques ! It is ,also, the closest beach to Paris as well as pleasure boating basin.  Many personalities are link to the city too many to name, but one Jean Cousin, sailed to Brazil four years before Christopher Colombus (1488) and had the two Pinzon brothers with him that later accompagny Colombus in his discoveries. Most of the old inhabitants had emmigrated to the New World mostly due to the fact they were huguenots or protestants. August 19,1942, Operation Jubilee during WWII, carry by Canadiens invade the city testing the defenses, the fallen name a town in New Brunswick ,Canada in their honor, and today ,many tours are conducted showcasing the events of this period in the war at Dieppe.

Many activities at Dieppe, it has in addition to the beach, a huge indoor/outdoor pool complex right on the beach with water temp of 28°C! my boys love it !!! and thalasso, weppage here  http://www.vert-marine.com/les-bains-dieppe-76/index.php  , a Casino (from 1961), racetrack course, and 18 hole golf course.  Some of the attraction must see in the city are the Chateau de Dieppe, built from 1443, where Chateaubriand was prisonier,and serve as a prison during the French revolution, and today it houses the museum of Dieppe, with the biggest ivory collection in the world, webpage in French official at  http://www.dieppe.fr/mini-sites/chateau-musee/pages/les-visites-du-musee-218 . You ,also, have a splendid view over the ocean, beach, and town.  Church of St Rémi (16-17C) reputed to be one of the prettiest churches in Normandy, Church of St Jacques (13-16C), richly decorated, inside see the Chapelle du trésors , showing the countries and town discovered by the Dieppois people., this church was even visited by Victor Hugo. Walk along the Quais Duquesne and Henri IV, the Grande Rue (pedestrian), and place du Moulin with its old wooden houses, blvd Verdun with houses dating from the second empire , the towers from the 15C at blvd Verdun, are the old entrance to the city, the casino,(see the inside moorish and art deco architecture) and the beach of course. The Estran Cité de la Mer is a center to learn about the coast and the ocean off Normandy, very educational and nice. webpage here http://www.estrancitedelamer.fr/

You want to partake in the local life,and enjoy Normandy at its best, do like us, come to the market days on Saturdays mornings fresh from the sea and the land around  Place Nationale, Place Saint Jacques from 7h30 -13h00, and Grande rue from 7h30-13h00, as well as around Rue St Jacques,and Rue de la Barre. Another sure thing to enjoy with the family is the racetrack, you dont even have to bet, so many beautiful horses by the sea is great in family, the season starts in june-thru sept 2011, official webpage in French, http://www.hippodrome-dieppe.com/

One of the biggest event to come here is the kite festival or cerf volants, it is wild on the beach, and great for the whole family. One of our activities here with the gang, You have plenty of time to prepare as it happened every two years so the next one will be in around Sept 2012. webpage http://www.dieppe-cerf-volant.org/

 

Plenty of hotels in town, it is close to us so we sneak many times for the day, however, we have stayed at the Inter Hotel de la Plage, blvd Verdun, just across from the beach and near the pool complex ,and castle. Great normandy welcome,friendly, excellent price for a family and great views, webpage here http://www.plagehotel.fr.st/ . As we have seen the Mercure and Ibis are very good from our always reliable French chain ACCOR.

As far as eating, well crêpes and cider goes hand in hand here , and we love it. Our house away from home and a must stop is the mom and son Ty Breiz creperie in 68 quai Henri IV, tel +33 02 35 82 86 56 ,no web. Another favorite has been the A la Marmite Dieppoise, 8 rue st-jean, tel +33  02 35 84 24 26, no web  but come for the seafood !, Newhaven, 53 quai Henri IV, tel + 33  02 35 84 89 72, no web, your steak and fries with great beers and views;these are it, pretty consistant, but the town is full of them and around quai Henri IV or quai Duquesne you will be fine.

Shopping and load up on local products if the market is not enough ::) we come here L’Olivier, genuine local and great choice of ciders, wines,cheeses, etc, 16 rue St Jacques near the church same name, webpage http://www.epiceriefine-olivier.fr/ . For fresh fruits go to the start of Grande Rue to Royal Fruits. For tabacs, postcards,souvenirs,and needy items the ones I know are Le Balto at quai Duquesne and the Puits Salé 56 rue st jacques. Les temps des Fleurs for flowers at 24 Grande Rue, there is a Monoprix supermarket at 13 Grande Rue for your groceries,and sundries needs. Pharmacy at q32 quai Duquesne Armandou Benedicte, and bakery Daniel Busson, 15 quai Henri IV.

The main tourist webpages are the tourist office at http://www.dieppetourisme.com/ , and the city of Dieppe, tourism section under “découvrir Dieppe” at http://www.dieppe.fr/  as well as the regional tourist organism at http://www.normandie-tourisme.fr/

Hope you enjoy this town , it is magical by the sea, and if come early in market day Saturday with the smell of fishes been brought in at same time, its France at its best ::)

 

February 26, 2011

Lagos,Nigeria, an adventure

Well lots of writings on the wall when we speak of Nigeria. I can only said that in my business travels done a lot of business with Nigerians very well. I was able to visit their country, mostly Lagos but into Port Harcourt as well. It is not your typical tourist attraction yet, but if in town be good and have fun.

The security precautions are evident, the ones you hear in the news is because some folks gets loose when in unknown territory and trouble comes their way. I have never encounter a problem not even an attempt of a problem there. You must be coach into the areas to go by an expert security person, the times to go best, etc. You are wise to hire a trusted local driver to get you around, and dont do it yourself. Photos are hard to come by as cameras are not seen in public, credit cards better keep them at home or just for an ultimate emergency, this is a cash country and the currency the Naira is only good in-country. If you must use cash take the ATM machines of Zenith bank, one of the largest in Africa, and well first in Nigeria. webpage http://www.zenithbank.com/

There are plenty to see during the daytime, such as the Bar beach harbor area (not to swim just for the ambiance), there is a beach further north along the Lekki peninsula,Lekki Beach , most expats come here.  There is a soccer/football stadium, while I was there last the under 17 World Cup was being played. Saw the Nigeria vs Spain match the locals won. You need to get ticket from a trusted person such as from the company you are in there,and go with the locals friends.

I stayed in a very nice compound, Osborne Foreshore Estates, call Somerset Court ,very well protected as it is the home of many armed forces personnel. The place is at  Ikoji, one of the nicest districts of Lagos, very nice with all amenities including a pool, billiard room,bar, restaurant, sports TV all over, exercise room, and very friendly staff.

The shopping was done at Palms shopping center, with a big supermarket, call Shop Rite (locals describe the shopping center as shop rite) and Cinema, plus restos, the webpage is here http://www.thepalmsshopping.com/ . Some of the best restos here are the Caffe Vergnano, and News Cafe   . The Mega Plaza also has a grocery store, with a courtyard full of restos selling local food ,pizzerias, and Indian foods,Lebanese foods, etc. The webpage is http://www.megaplazamall.com/ . Another nice shopping center is Silverbird galleria shopping at  267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island , Lagos;no web

The properties of the Sofitel Hotel was my lunch venue, and of course the hotel is from the French chain ACCOR so its very nice, its webpage is at , http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-2770-sofitel-lagos-moorhouse-ikoyi/index.shtml

The EKO Hotel and Suites  is another nice property,with webpage at  http://www.ekohotels.com/ as well as the Sheraton by the airport  . However, my best is the Federal Palace Hotel, great bar sports bar area, and wonderful restaurant buffet downstairs, while there it was in the process of opening a Casino; webpage http://www.suninternational.com/Destinations/Hotels/FederalPalace/Pages/default.aspx

A nice place to be if have a local influential friend like me is to go to the old British country club, now the country club and golf complex at Ikoyi , you need to be with a member but the company can arrange maybe;;webpage http://www.ikoyiclubgolf.com/. Another interesting place is the Lekki Conservation area, a wildlife reserve for free and just as natural as you can get to wild animals; webpage ,http://www.ncfnigeria.org/ . For other interesting sites see the National Theater, and the National Museum at Awolowo Rd, Lagos Island, this last has artifacts and sculptures of local origins.

For eating out, my favorites were the Churrasco Brazilian resto located at 1C Ozumba Mbadiwe Ave, Victoria Island, Lagos, Golden Gate China resto located at 25B Glover Road , Ikoyi , Lagos  , Manuela Italian resto and residency with webpage at  http://www.manuelaresidence.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2 ;  and of course the resto at the Federal Palace Hotel. The Bangkok, thai food located at  244A Muri Okunola St, Victoria Island, Lagos; Marco Polo, for seafood located at Marco Polo seafood, 9 Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; and the Chocolate Royal, French bakery and resto popular with many expats located at 267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island, Lagos.

I needed a visa which was handle by the company, and the transportation hotel to airport and back also. The airport is the International Airport Murtala Muhammed, two terminals ,one for international flights and the other domestic, very easy to navigage.  You need to take precautions for sickness so vaccination is a must, check with your embassy for requirement of your Nationality to get to Nigeria, for the French the Air France center in Paris is this one, webpage  http://centredevaccination-airfrance-paris.com/ . The French Consulate in Lagos which it is recommended you register is at 1, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi Lagos Nigeria Phone: + 234-1-26934227 +234-1-26934230. For families with small children there is a French school which many other expats and locals take advantage , the school is at Lycée Français Louis Pasteur, 16 Younis Bashorun street, Victoria Island Annex P.O. Box 72172, Lagos ; Tél. (234) 1 270 05 45/46 Fax. (234) 1  270 05 44.

If you need to go to Port Harcourt, more precautions needed here, the best property is the Novotel hotel part of the French ACCOR chain, the details are here, , http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-5465-novotel-port-harcourt/index.shtml

Some webpages for help, first the official Nigeria tourism webpage at http://www.tourism.gov.ng/ , and this site that is very useful too, http://www.nigeria-vacation.com/index.php

If ever at this part of the world hope you have a wonderful stay and enjoy the adventure.

 

 

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