Blogs | The depths and delights of Dieppe
04/05/2019 - 11:43

The place to be

R2l 3045 <p>Some of you may remember John Boyett. The gentle Sussex jazzman was a great friend of my late father&rsquo;s, and that is how I came to know him well. He loved Dieppe deeply and used to spend most of his time here in his late years. I can recall often bumping into him in the Grande Rue, Dieppe&rsquo;s main shopping street, his hands packed with groceries and shopping bags. Twelve years&rsquo; ago, we had a chat at the ferry terminal, and I remember him saying with his deep voice: &ldquo;one day, Dieppe will become as popular as Brighton&rdquo;. I laughed at the time, but deep down inside I knew he was right.&nbsp;</p> <p>I have never stopped believing in Dieppe&rsquo;s potential. After all, it was here that the Duchesse de Berry started the fad for sea bathing, which led the town to become France&rsquo;s first seaside resort. Although most Parisians now tend to head to the Flowered Coast for the weekend or a short break, Dieppe remains the closest beach to the capital. The town boasts four ports, Europe&rsquo;s largest seaside lawns, over 100 restaurants, 3 museums, a stunning golf course on the clifftops, a racecourse, one of France&rsquo;s most beautiful markets, tens of independent shops, an active cultural scene and a rich industrial network. Dieppe&rsquo;s strengths are many, and many are finally turning their heads towards this ever-surprising town.&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been waiting to say this for years now, but I strongly believe that Dieppe&rsquo;s moment has finally come. Since the beginning of the year, not a week has gone by without some positive news for the town. The Alpine factory has been producing the most-sold luxury sports car in France, the Canadian Film Festival enjoyed its most successful edition to date, the bustling Saturday morning market has been elected as one of the country&rsquo;s best, and is now proudly representing Normandy in the national competition to elect France&#39;s most beautiful market, the famous Pont Colbert bridge is going to be preserved as a French National Monument and a huge sound &amp; light show is even going to take place on 9 June to celebrate the structure&rsquo;s 130th birthday.&nbsp;</p> <p>All eyes are now on the town centre, where a lot of activity is underway. At a time where the death of the high street is mentioned quite a lot on both sides of the Channel, it&#39;s certainly not the case here in Dieppe. In January, an authentic and trendy wine bar opened up, followed by a hip concept-store, an organic hairdressers, a small Korean restaurant, a Thai restaurant and very soon Normandy&rsquo;s first poke bowl store! It seems like Brighton has decided to relocate to Dieppe!&nbsp;</p> <p>Dieppe has always remained true to its maritime identity, and this is now truer than ever before. On 11 and 12 May, the port will welcome the Hermione, one of the world&rsquo;s finest tall ships, before hosting the national coastal and offshore rowing championships for the very first time on 24 &ndash; 25 May. End June, we will then welcome the final stage of the Solitaire du Figaro, one of the world&rsquo;s most famous solo sailing races. From 22 to 26 August, Dieppe will be the beautiful Belem&rsquo;s port of call, and, last but not least, will warm up in the Autumn for the 50th anniversary of the huge herring and scallop fair!</p> <p>So, John Boyett definitely was right twelve years ago. With so much going on here, Dieppe really has become the place to be!</p> <p><em>&copy; Photo archive Solitaire du Figaro 2013 : Erwan Lesn&eacute;</em></p>

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