Dieppe, the sea,and the castle!

This is a weekend to be home, cool ,sunny, windy , a bit rainy; the weather has improve in Brittany, elsewhere not as good. So if we stay home let’s do it with travel souvenirs and good memories. I like to tell you a bit about Dieppe! We had visited couple times from Versailles and we like to bring it back to life in the blog.

Dieppe is in the département 76 of Seine-Maritime in the region of Normandy. It has been called the city of the four harbors in the Caux country ,about 170 km from Paris, and north of Rouen; right in the deep valley of the Arques.  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!

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 accompany Colombus in his discoveries. Most of the old inhabitants had emigrated to the New World mostly due to the fact they were Huguenots or protestants. August 19,1942, Operation Jubilee during WWII, carry by Canadians invade the city testing the defences, for the fallen, the veterans 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.

Dieppe has a local network of public transport call Stradibus. This network has 3 lines in town and 3 lines suburbian, and another 3 lines linking to nearby cities such as Arques-la-Bataille, Hautot-sur-Mer, Martin-Église, Rouxmesnil-Bouteilles, and Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie. The bus company FlixBus, I am told has routes from the bus terminal in Dieppe at Boulevard Georges-Clemenceau to Paris, Lyon ,and Grenoble. Been the closet beach closest to Paris ,it is easily link by road on the wonderful A13 (autoroute de Normandie), A150,and the A151. Dieppe is connected locally by the D925 to the town of Eu and Saint-Valery-en-Caux, D920 to Envermeu and Londinières, the D915 to Forges-les-Eaux, and the N27 to Tôtes and Rouen. There are ferries on the Dieppe-Newhaven line;more here: http://www.portdedieppe.fr/-Cross-Channel-64-.html


the ferry to Newhaven and the church Bon Secours up cliff!

There is a train station at Dieppe but no direct line from Paris, you need to go from Gare Saint Lazare Paris to Rouen and then take the train to Dieppe, which never have done. More on it here: https://www.ter.sncf.com/normandie/gares/87415018/Dieppe/prochains-departs

The city is divided on the four ports concepts with the historical center around the estaury of the Arques , including the sea front, neighborhood around the end of the quays and quai Henri IV (lovely) ,Grande-Rue, neighborhood of Saint-Jacques,and the area at avenue Gambetta. Another nice area is to the east of city center on the other side of the canal, the neighborhood of Pollet, with fisherman houses very typical of the region. All nice walks in the city.

A bit of history I like

At the times of the Gallo-Roman period the field of Ceasar aka « Cité de Limes », was located north of the current city of Dieppe, and a ramparts attesting to the fact this is one of the oldest human presence in the region. By 910,the Vikings were in the mouth of the Tella river,a deep river that ends at sea. They call the town Djúpr or deep or Djúpá or deep river. The oldest mentioned in text dates from 1030 saying there was a small fihing port called Dieppe!. A castle was built in 1188 by king Henry II Plantagenêt of England. In 1195 the castle is destroyed by fire from the French troops of king Philippe-Auguste, that was at war with Richard the Lion Heart Duke of Normandy. Two years later in 1197 Duke Richard gives the land of Dieppe to the Archidiocese of Rouen; however in 1204, after the falled of the Château-Gaillard and the taking of Rouen, Dieppe and NOrmandy were annexed by the kingdom of France under king Philippe-Auguste. In 1420, in the battle of Azincourt, Dieppe is occupied by the English and was kept for 15 years; by 1430 ,Dieppe was a temporary detention for Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) before she was transferred to Rouen where she was tried and ordered burned at the stake. Dieppe was finally liberated from the English occupation in October 1435 when the town was taken by the French led by Captain Charles Desmarets on account of king Charles VII.

The town has a rich seamen tradition and many leave Dieppe to explore new worlds. Given boats by the shipbuilder and explorer Jehan Ango , they reached Sumatra,Brazil, and Canada. In 1508, captains Thomas Aubert and Jean Vérassen reached Newfoundlands ,and discovered the Saint Laurent river . In 1529, the explorer Jean and Raoul Parmentier, sailed on the account of Jehan Ango for a trip that takes them to Indonesia and Sumatra. Jean Parmentier was in charge of the boat La Pensée,and Raoul,takes charge of the boat Sacre. Many misfortunes especially desease and sickness later Jean Parmentier ends buried in Sumatra in 1529. Raoul Parmentier died some time later. The explorer Pierre Crignon takes the command and continue the adventure reaching Indrapoura in Indonesia. Wealth from the gold of the Americas, and the wood of Brazil or even the codfish of Newfoundland,Jehan Ango is notice by the king François Ier that comes to Dieppe in 1534 to name him Viscount and Governor of the city. Dieppe becomes as well the seat of the cartography and hydrography school or École de cartographie de Dieppe et d’hydrographie under the direction of Pierre Desceliers,that designs in 1546 a map of the World with Africa and the Americas.

In 1822, the first bath house in France is built here on the beach under the name of  sea baths of Caroline in honor of Caroline de Bourbon, duchesse de Berry, daughter in law of king  Charles X. She opened the baths in 1824 that under the Second Empire received great fame  and the growth of this pleasure. By 1852 you have here the first race course on horses in the Hippodrome de Dieppe-Rouxmesni.

Under the First Empire, Napoléon  think of the construction of Dieppe into a large basin deep enough for big ships of war for an invasion of England. The sea bath gained popularity here,and brings many personalities of the Napoleonic aristocracy such as Hortense de Beauharnais, accompany by her children , including the future Napoléon III.

Moving forward in time, we have learned that from August 20 to September 9 1853, Dieppe was the honeymoon residence of the Emperor Napoléon III,and the Empératrice Eugénie Early on the 20C, the town is at its heights and it is until 1914, the first beach town in France frequent by the famous. Some of these were king Léopold II of Belgium, Duke of Westminster, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy, Claude Monet, Madeleine Lemaire, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, Countess Greffulhe, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Walter Sickert, Marcel Proust. And Robert de Montesquiou, Gabriel Fauré, prince Edmond de Polignac stayed frequently in the house of the Countess Greffulhe in the villa La Case. During WWII, Dieppe is liberated in September 1944 without any compbats as the Nazis abandoned the post before the advance of the Allied armies.

Here are overall things to see in Dieppe, my favorites.

Dieppe has a beach, yes. Casino, 18 hole golf course, racecourse, harbor with ferry service and very nice complex of thalasotherapy on the beach and near the Castle. Since 1980, it host every two years, the biggest kite event on the beach, Festival International de Cerf-Volant, with as much as 44 countries represented and one of the best world events.Webpage here: http://www.dieppe-cerf-volant.org/ukaccueil.html

The Château de Dieppe ,had a first one in the 12C and the current one dates from 1443. The west tower dates from the 14C, and the place is really a fortress with a very solid architecture and with several parts in bricks. It housed until 1923 the army barracks of Ruffin. Today, the Castle house the museum of Dieppe ( a must to see), from the top you can see beautiful views of the sea and the city as well as inside marvel of the biggest and most beautiful collections of sculpture ivory in Europe; from crucifix, chapelets, statues, events, tabacs, painted work by Georges Braque, furniture from the house of pianist Camille Saint-Saëns and temporary expositions.


promenade off Verdun near thalaso pool and view of Castle

There is the Church of Saint-Rémy (15C and 17C) dominating the square or place Saint-Rémy, and known by locals as one of the prettiest Church in the region, with influences of the counter reformist movement and an organ by Parizot. The Church of Saint-Jacques (St James 16C) flamboyant and renaissance style and a great neighborhood we like . The initial Church was started in the 12C and name the parish Church in 1282 by the bishop of Rouen Guillaume de Flavacourt.  Inside see the Chapelle du trésors , showing the countries and towns discovered by the Dieppois people, this church was even visited by Victor Hugo. Marvelous quay or quai Duquesne with its arcades of the stockmarket or Bourse,see here the architecture modernist and classist of the old hardware store Leveau at 26 quai Duquesne.

The wonderful quai Henri-IV , we like to eat here and has several restaurants looking at the pleasure marina in front as well as some buildings from the 17C and 18C such as the collège des Oratoriens (1614)where the Chapel was built on the site of the house of shipbuilder Jehan Ango, Hôtel de la Vicomté and Hôtel d’Anvers (1697) with a bas-relief, showing the city of Anvers on the porch giving to the interior courtyard. In the ramparts see the tour aux Crabes (1374), that defended until 1841 the access to the channel going to the port. The bridge Colbert a turning metal bridge built in 1885-1889, it is the last turning bridge of Europe still active on its original configuration, it is 66 meters long and on the channel of Pollet carved during the renovation of the port ;and now covered in steel of the Eiffel type. It was dynamited in 1944 by the Nazis and rebuilt again on July 14 1946 (French National Day). The bridge Ango turning in metal from 1881 ,destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in a levy bridge in 1950.

You have the street the Grande-Rue until the place du Puits-Salé, pedestrian and very nice a pleasure to walk it. The rue de la Barre,is nice and a continuation of the Grande-Rue. The houses in the neighborhood of Caude-Côte in the faubourg de la Barre,and the great windmill at the place du moulin à vent  with its pittoresques houses. The small municipal theater done in 1900 ,and do walk the sea front of 1500 meters with an esplanade designed by the Imperatrice Eugénie while visiting the city separating the boulevard de Verdun (great parking here!)  from the promenade maritime. The bridge or pont Ango, a metallic tourning bridge done in 1881 destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in levy bridge in 1950

The wonderful Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (1876) looking down at the city from the cliffs above the rock of Pollet,was a place of pilgrims and later a point to the memory of the marines lost at sea. The pretty Grande-Rue until the place du Puits-Salé, pedestrian and full of shops/restos etc.; the rue de la Barre,extended to the Grande-Rue. The architectural stunning houses of the faubourg de la Barre, and the place du moulin à vent. Take even the little Theater built in 1900 and now housing the memorial 19 August 1942. Inside Louis XV style. The beachfront is magical with about 1500 meters of sand designed by; the orders of the Emperatrice Eugenie, separating the great boulevard de Verdun (parkings).


from quai Henri IV to pleasure marina and up Church Bon Secours!

The gorgeous houses from the Second Empire, along the rue Parmentier and the rue de la Rade,were the first inhabited houses built on the beachfront ,and dates from before WWII. The Hôtel Aguado (1958),on the boulevard de Verdun; second hotel name as such here built on the spot of the royal manufacture of Cigars or Manufacture Royale des Tabacs,burned during WWII. The old Hôtel Royal (1901), symbol of the city and the last survivor of the palaces of the Belle Époque period now converted into appartments ; one of the most beautiful buildings along the boulevard de Verdun.And of course do not missed the twin towers or Tourelles(15C); built during the 100 years war and the last of the seven gates of the city that defended it against the English; a piece of the ramparts next to it is preserved.

The nice house or Maison Miffant(1624), built in wood a rarity survived the bombings of 1694 by the combined naval force of English-Dutch . See the architecture in the houses of the rue Jules-Ferry,neo norman end of 19C. The villa Perrotte designated a heritage of the 20C, built in 1928,the mansion avant arde of art deco style and modernist. The great scientific and technical center of the Estran Cité de la mer,showing on 1600 m2 expositions, naval construction, and the fishing techniques ,the coastline environment, and the marine fauna to old and young visitors. There is even left standing the bunkers or blockhaus left from the Nazis a bit hidden behind the cliff of the Castle. The underground aqueduct aka aqueduct de la source bleue , a gravity aqueduct carved in the 16C under the plateau of Janval.It has a lenght of 6,7 km, and brings water from a source at Petit-Appeville to Dieppe, and still in use as an electric and telecom network; you can see the entrance.

You have more wonderful walks between the rue Parmentier and the  rue de la Rade, where the first houses beach front were built amongst them the decorated one at the angle of the  rue de la Rade, was the old Hôtel Édouard-VII (1857), Villa Nelly, and the block between the rue Parmentier and the rue de la Brasserie, the Hôtel Aguado (1958),right on the boulevard de Verdun. Built at the previous location of the Royal cigar maker factory or Manufacture Royale des Tabacs, lost by fired during WWII. The former Hôtel Royal (1901) the last of the Belle Époque palaces now converted into living apartments and one of the most beautiful still at the boulevard de Verdun. Couple houses further you have the former Hôtel du Rhin and the Hötel  New Haven from early the 20C.  There are the small towers from the 15C built during the war of hundred years with the English and the last of the seven gates that had the city to defend from the English.  There is a section of the ramparts still visible by here

Last but not least in this wonderful Norman town , we have the Canadian Cemetary of Dieppe ,located nearby in the village of Hautot-sur-Mer. Here rest in peace Canadians soldiers killed during the landing at Dieppe on August 19 1942 : 944 soldiers from the allied forces with 761 identified of which 707 are Canadians. The cemetery is south of Dieppe along the road N27, or rue des Canadiens (Canadians street), later becomes rue des Jonquilles,right into the village of Hautot-sur-Mer,next to the hamlet of Vertus de Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie.

Some tourist links to help you plan your travel;always useful even by us living here.
Normandie tourism: https://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/unmissable-sites/dieppe/

Dept Seine-Maritime 76 on Dieppehttps://www.seine-maritime-tourisme.com/en/i-visit/10-key-places/dieppe/dieppe.php

City of Dieppe tourism in French  https://www.dieppe.fr/menus/decouvrir-dieppe-2/le-patrimoine-architectural-2

Of course, we have stayed there overnight to fully enjoy the city! At the 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: http://www.plagehotel-dieppe.com/

We ate in the hotel above very nice but also tried the crêpes of our Bretagne here! And we return on later visits too! It was a must stop for the mom and son team at Créperie Ty Breiz, 68 quai Henri IV, unfortunately it is now closed sadly, here just for the memories.

On our way out, we continuosly shopped at the L’Epicerie Olivier, genuine local and great choice of ciders, wines,cheeses, etc, 16 rue St Jacques near the church same name, webpage:  https://olivierdieppe.com/lepicerie-olivier/

Hope you enjoy the trip to marvelous Dieppe, in Normandy.  And remember, Happy travels , good Health, and many cheers to all!!!

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8 Comments to “Dieppe, the sea,and the castle!”

  1. Proust lol

    Envoyé de mon iPhone



  2. We used to visit Dieppe quite a lot, as the ferry from Newhaven lands here. Charming place.


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