Dieppe Travel Guide 

Situated in the top part of Normandy, Dieppe is a busy port north of Rouen and sits amongst the cliffs overlooking the English Channel

The Newhaven ferry to Dieppe takes about 4 hours and remains a favourite for visitors travelling to other locations in France.

Famous for fishing, the port still plays a major role in the economy with many local restaurants located around the harbour and close to the marina. 

History

Dieppe was once part of England being a small fishing settlement founded by Vikings around 1030 but growing rapidly following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It became a major port in the 17th century and the place where colonists would leave from as they headed for Quebec in search of a new life.  

The town was largely destroyed by an Anglo-Dutch naval bombardment in 1694 and, on the orders of Louis XIII, the half-timbered buildings were rebuilt in a classic style favouring a white brick frontage.   

Dieppe became home to the aristocracy in the early 1800’s when the daughter-in-law of Charles X, the Duchesse de Berry, came to bathe in the sea. It was from this point that Dieppe became a favourite seaside destination for nobles and writers alike.

During the Second World, many Allied troops were killed in a very bloody battle called the Dieppe Raid but, with little further occupation of the region, Dieppe was liberated on 1st September 1944.

The Port

The port is an integral part of the town as so much happens here, the many trawlers and fishing boats providing a colourful spectacle attracting local artists. Dieppe's port was so important it was fought over during the Hundred Years War and became the centre of the most advanced French school of cartography in the 16th century.

The Beach

Dieppe is the closest resort to Paris with a pretty pebble beach that’s good for swimming and sunbathing. Flanked by dramatic limestone cliffs it’s very picturesque and has inspired many paintings by the likes of Monet and Gaugin. The promenade, which is more than a mile long, is a large lawn and children’s play area, which runs along to the harbour, from which you can see the fishing boats in the marina and explore the many lovely waterside restaurants specialising in fresh fish.  

Sports

Tennis, and of course water sports are favourites here as well as an 18-hole golf course for golfing enthusiasts. Some golfers take the ferry to Dieppe simply to play golf and return on the Newhaven ferry later in the day. Every 2 years in September is The International Kite Festival - experience Dieppe as its seafront turns into a huge kite-flying spectacular!

The Castle Museum

The Château-Musée, is a 15th century fortress, built of flint and sandstone, sitting on the west cliffs and dominating the town. This impressive landmark has been re-built and is now home to maritime collections and one of the best ivory collections in Europe, sculptures carved by local sailors dating back as far as the 16th century. You’ll find paintings by Renoir, Boudin, Lebourg and Pissaro, as well as etchings by Braque.

Villa Perrotte

For art lovers, the Villa Perrotte, an art gallery situated in the heart of Dieppe, was originally an art deco style hotel constructed in 1928 and houses works of art that are exhibited throughout the year. Exhibitions feature paintings, sculptures and photography from many contemporary artists.

Shopping

At the Church of St. Jacques, the Saturday morning market is said to be the finest food market in Northern France and reeks of tradition.  As you walk the narrow cobbled streets you’ll be able to buy an amazing choice of cheeses, Normandy apples and cider from local farmers. An array of shops and restaurants fill this lovely seaside resort.

St-Jacques Church

Dating back to 1168, and once destroyed by fire, the Saint-Jacques church has been renovated over the years. A magnificent main door dates back to the 14th century, and the 15th century square tower and 16th century side chapels are equally impressive. The walls are lined with plaques in tribute to the Dieppe fishermen who lost their lives at sea. 

Monuments

Along the seafront are many memorials commemorating those who lost their lives during World War II in the Dieppe Raid. At the Square du Canada a monument commemorates the special relationship between Dieppe and Canada, which started when colonists left to find a new life in Canada.

Oceanarium and Marine Life Centre

La Cité de la Mer, is all about the sea, fishing and marine technology and offers a scientific view of the ocean.
La Place du Puits Salé (Salt Well Square).

In the centre of the old town, the old square and its well is a reminder that in bygone days the tide would rise and sea water would mix with the water in the well. Visit the Café des Tribunaux part of an 18th century Norman building. 
Château de Miromesnil

Close to Dieppe, the Château de Miromesnil was the birthplace of Guy de Maupassant the writer whose stories of 19th century life in Normandy have become classics. The Castle was built in the 16th and 17th centuries and is one of the most beautiful in France. 

Herring Festival

In November Dieppe pays homage to the local fishing industry hosting the annual Herring Festival. Thousands of people come together to support and enjoy this unique and traditional event. Fish barbecues in the streets are a speciality. Don’t like herrings? Well flat fish and scallops are also enjoyed, especially as Dieppe was the first French port for scallops!

Hotels

There are many grand and old hotels situated along the seafront in what is a quiet part of town and close to some of the best restaurants. The Grand Hôtel Du Casino de Dieppe is on the seafront and, as well as a casino, boasts a gastronomic restaurant with panoramic sea views overlooking the harbour.

Restaurants

The old quay is full of restaurants where you can settle down to local specialities such as seafood platters and Coquilles Saint Jacques. Regional dishes in Dieppoise-style are cooked with mushrooms and cream. Try also the Calvados produced on local farms. 

Café des Tribunaux is a particularly stylish place to watch the local world go by and is where artists such as Renoir, Monet, Sickert, Whistler and Pisarro drank and shared stories.

Our ferries to Dieppe

Book your ferry to Dieppe today and find the best rates for your crossing.  Alternatively we offer a number of other ferries to France including Calais, Dunkirk and Le Havre.