Watertravel & Waterside DestinationsThe commune of Dieppe on the Normandy Coast is France's oldest seaside resort.

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Dieppe on the Normandy Coast —
France’s Oldest Seaside Resort

Where the Arques River flows into the English Channel in northern France, it forms a natural and quite deep harbor.

In fact, the town that surrounds the harbor is said to get its name from the Saxon word, deop, related to the English word, deep, a reference to the depth of the harbor.

The Boulevard de Verdun runs alongside many sea-facing hotelsFamous in WWII history for the Canadian invasion force which landed on Dieppe beach, it is equally famous among Europeans for its more pleasant aspects. Long a tourist destination for the British, who have only to cross the English Channel, Dieppe is France’s oldest seaside resort and one of the principal destinations on the Côte d’Albâtre, or Alabaster Coast.

A man walks with baguette in hand in the early morning — as, it seems, do most of Dieppe’s residents. In the afternoons, the locals gather in cafés to chat and enjoy coffee or perhaps a glass of wine or Normandy apple cider or its distilled relative, calvados. The Café des Tribuneaux is a particularly popular haunt. Most of whatever you might need — as well as souvenirs you don’t need but might want anyway — can be found in the old town. A man walks with baguette in hand in the early morning in the old town section of Dieppe. A quick trip of a kilometer or so in the direction of the highway brings you to a large, modern supermarket.

As Dieppe was integral to the ivory trade, back when there was such a thing, the château museum now houses exquisite carvings in great quantity (in addition to a respectable collection of oil paintings). 

To rest your feet from traipsing around churches, the castle and quaintly ancient residences, be sure to spend part of the afternoon with some rich French coffee while relaxing among Dieppe’s café society or enjoying a leisurely lunch in one of the restaurants along the quay.

The Café des Tribuneaux is a particularly popular haunt.
Copyright © Don Douglas