Are you planning a trip to Dieppe, Normandy? You wonder what to see and do in Dieppe?
This city offers a nice balance between architecture, history and nature. It is an ideal destination for a weekend in Normandy or a vacation on the Alabaster Coast.
Here is our guide with more than 25 ideas to visit Dieppe and its region with tips, map and photos.
Best things to do in Dieppe – our top 5
Is Dieppe worth a visit?
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the heart of the city. To give you some background, I am originally from Le Havre, and there is a lot of rivalry between the cities of the Côte d’Albâtre. I grew up thinking Dieppe was dull and boring. But oh, I was wrong.
It’s not my favorite city in the region, but it’s still on my list of the best cities in Normandy.
It offers a good balance between nature, views, architecture, history… and a good atmosphere.
Why is Dieppe famous?
It is not the most famous city in Normandy. But it is quite well known as the arrival port of the Newhaven ferry.
It is famous for its port, its castle and its scallops.
Top 5 – What to do in Dieppe
If you don’t want to read the whole article (with the top 25 things to do in Dieppe) or if you don’t have much time, my 5 favorites are the following:
- View on the castle
- Explore the pedestrian streets
- Admire the doors of the Tourelles
- Walk along the harbor and/or the waterfront
- Excursion to Varengeville-sur-Mer
More photos after the planning boards.
Tips and Map – Visit Dieppe, Normandy, France
How to get to Dieppe – Map and location
- Located in the Seine-Maritime department – along the Alabaster Coast
- Northern part of Normandy
- From Rouen to Dieppe = 50 minutes drive
- Le Havre to Dieppe = 1h30 drive
- Caen to Dieppe = 2h15 drive
- Paris to Dieppe = 2h30 drive
- Easy to reach by car from Normandy or by ferry from Newhaven.
- Here is a map to help you find your way around and locate the city of Dieppe in Seine-Maritime and Normandy:
OUR ADVICE FOR RENTING A CAR IN Normandy
- Compare prices on our preferred platform: DiscoverCars – one of the best rated sites.
- Choose a car that is comfortable enough (distances can be long) but compact (some parking lots and villages are narrow).
- Think of thecomplete insurance (some roads are tortuous and narrow).
- There is a lot of demand, book it early.
Tips for visiting
- Several parking lots along the waterfront and the port.
- The downtown area is fairly flat – easy to walk around.
- You can drive up to the castle but there is not much parking at the top – otherwise you can walk from the center (a little steep).
- Market in the pedestrian streets on Saturday morning.
- Many restaurants in the downtown area
- How long does it take to visit? Half a day is the bare minimum to get an overview of the city. It is an ideal destination for a weekend. You can also plan a vacation here as a base for exploring the beautiful region.
Where to eat – Dieppe Restaurants
Here are some of the top rated restaurants in Dieppe to help you plan:
- Le Turbot – 12 Quai de la Cale – Traditional – best rated on all platforms.
- Le Comptoir à Huîtres, Dakar course – seafood
- La Cale, 34 rue Jean-Antoine Belle Teste – bistro style
- The restaurant of the hotel Casino with a view on the sea – Le Trèfle
Where to stay in Dieppe – accommodation
Dieppe has developed its accommodation offer – you can find charming apartments for rent, bed and breakfast and hotels. For example:
- Villa Castel B&B – Amazing decoration in a typical house, with an excellent location – See photos and availability
- Lodging “Les Petites Suites Dieppoises – Atelier Couture” – if you are looking for a unique lodging – See photos and availability.
- L’Albâtre – traditional rental but with a view on the sea ! – See photos and availability
- Grand Hotel du Casino – with sea view and panoramic restaurant – See photos and availability
- or see the best rated accommodations in Dieppe
What to see in Dieppe ? 10 suggestions
#1 – Viewpoint of the castle of Dieppe – orientation table
Even if you don’t visit the castle, we recommend that you climb to the path behind it.
The views are some of the best in the city: the fort itself, the city, the beach and the sea!
In addition, you can see the remains of bunkers from the Second World War.
You can easily walk there from the city center. It is possible to get there by car, but parking spaces are limited.
#2 – Pedestrian streets
We love walking through the pedestrian streets and discovering the different styles of architecture. They did a great job of adding signs on specific buildings to share their history. For example, the Hotel de Londres was often visited by Delacroix, who painted The Sea (view from the heights of Dieppe) in 1852.
#3 – St. James Church
What surprised us the most were the 2 churches of similar size not far from each other.
The main one is Saint Jacques. It was a pilgrimage church on the way to Compostela, built between the 12th and 16th centuries.
It is a large church: 82m long, 30m wide and 20m under the arches. Moreover, the bell tower is 42m high.
Take the time to enter and admire the nave, the rose window, the organ and the many chapels.
#4 – St Remy Church
The other big church is St Remy. It was built in the 16th and 17th centuries (with elements added in the 18th).
It has a classical facade that contrasts with its interior: wooden panels in the choir, an amazing organ, and golden decorations under colorful stained glass windows.
#5 – The Port of Dieppe
As I wrote earlier, Dieppe is famous for its deep water port. It has been a fishing village for a long time.
There are several areas around which you can walk around admiring either the pleasure boats or the fishing boats.
I really like the views from the Quai Henri IV with the cliffs of Le Pollet in the background.
#6 – Turrets Gate
It is the only remaining gate of the ramparts surrounding the medieval city. There were 7 before. It was built in the 15th century.
It was used as a prison in the 19th century.
#7 – Dieppe Beach and Waterfront Walk
Dieppe’s waterfront is quite nice because there are no buildings right next to the beach.
There is a large promenade, green areas, children’s games and a swimming pool. It separates the beach from the Boulevard de Verdun with its hotels and mansions.
You can look north or south and see the impressive chalk cliffs of the Alabaster Coast.
The very long beach is made of pebbles and at low tide, the sand appears.
#8 – Colbert Bridge
There is an intriguing bridge that connects the old neighborhood of Le Pollet to the center of Dieppe: the Pont Colbert.
It is the oldest swing bridge in Europe that still uses its original water mechanism (and it is used all the time when boats need to pass). It was built in 1889. Since 2020, it is protected as a historical monument.
#9 – Pollet neighborhood
On the other side of the bridge, north of the Arques River, is the old neighborhood of Pollet. This is where you can find the traditional fishermen’s houses (built of flint and stone).
#10 – View of the Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel
Above the Pollet district, at the top of the cliffs, is the Notre Dame de Bonsecours chapel. It was built in the 19th century so that sailors would be protected when they were at sea.
From the square in front of it, you can enjoy beautiful views of the city, the waterway to the port and the cliffs.
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What to visit in Dieppe ? 9 experiences
#11 – Dieppe Castle
At the top of the cliff, overlooking the city, you can’t miss it: stands the impressive castle of Dieppe.
The fort was largely built in the 15th century with flint and sandstone (at the end of the Hundred Years War). It is the oldest building in the city.
Today, inside the castle, you can find the Dieppe museum with many exhibitions related to the history of the port, from the spice trade to the paintings of the impressionists.
See the opening hours here.
#12 – Foreshore, City of the Sea
First of all a warning, it is called Cité de la Mer, but don’t expect giant aquariums like in the famous “Cité de la Mer” in Cherbourg.
However, it is still worth a visit.
It is a museum about
- the city’s maritime traditions (historical trades, shipbuilding, fishing…)
- the geology of the region
- the fauna of the Channel with aquariums (including open basins to be able to touch them).
See the opening hours here.
#13 – 19 August 1942 Memorial
This building, located right next to the Tourelles gate, is a museum dedicated to the Dieppe raid of August 1942.
Operation Jubilee was a joint British and Canadian attack that ended in disaster. But the lessons learned during this operation helped prepare for D-Day and Operation Overlord.
Even if you don’t visit, enjoy the architecture of this 19th century neo-renaissance building, which was once a theater.
See the opening hours here.
#14 – Bathing or spa at the Dieppe Baths
Dieppe was one of the first seaside resorts in France, when sea bathing became very popular. There have been spas along the beach for a long time.
Today, you can still enjoy the pleasure of the water with a pool and spa offering views of the sea, the castle and the cliffs.
See opening hours and prices here.
#15 – Casino
If gambling is an activity you enjoy, you can go to the Casino on the seafront.
You can also enjoy its restaurant with a panoramic view.
#16 – Sailing or kitesurfing
With its long beach and its marina, Dieppe offers many water sports:
- Diving (3 wrecks: Gauss, Jonquille, Tintin)
#17 – Eat seafood
Like all the Alabaster coast, the port of Dieppe is famous for its seafood, in particular: herring and scallops.
Dieppe (and other towns in Normandy) even has a herring and scallop festival.
It is a great festival that gathers more than 100,000 people every year. Dieppe is the first scallop fishing port in France.
The Herring and Scallop Festival is normally held in November. In 2019, it celebrated its 50th edition.
#18 – Kite Festival
Another famous experience in Dieppe is the International Kite Festival. It is one of the largest in the world and is held every two years in September. So many colors and shapes to watch flying over the beach!
#19 – Dieppe-Pourville Golf Course
Thanks to its magnificent cliffs, the Alabaster Coast offers great golf courses with magnificent views. To the west of Dieppe, there is the Dieppe-Pourville golf course founded in the 19th century.
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7 Excursions from Dieppe
You can also land in Dieppe to discover some of the highlights of the region.
Take a half day or a full day excursion to see beautiful cliffs, castles, gardens…
#20 – Château de Miromesnil
Near Dieppe (15min drive), you can discover the Château de Miromesnil.
This castle is famous for having been the birthplace of the writer Guy de Maupassant. Learn more about her family and how they lived inside, or explore the grounds with the beautiful gardens and backyard with its impressive 200-year-old tree.
A castle exists here since the 12th century. The present castle dates from the 17th century.
Opening hours and prices here.
#21 – Varengeville-sur-Mer / Gorge des Moutiers
The very high cliffs of the Côte d’Albâtre sometimes have narrow valleys that reach the sea. These valleys are called “Valleuses”.
In Varengeville-sur-Mer, west of Dieppe (20min drive), there is one under the Saint Valéry church. The path is called the Gorge des Moutiers, it is a short but steep hike to reach the beach.
#22 – Ango Manor
A 20min drive west of Dieppe, you can also visit one of my favorite manors in Normandy: Le Manoir d’Ango.
Built in brick and flint, in the 16th century, we can see the influence of Italian architects. It is famous for its magnificent dovecote in the courtyard: a Byzantine style dome and walls in alternating bands of flint, brick, sandstone and limestone.
Open from April to September. See the opening hours here.
#23 – Garden Bois des Moutiers
If you like gardens, the Bois des Moutiers is one of the most famous in Normandy, notably for its collection of giant rhododendrons.
It was created in the first half of the 20th century.
Check the opening hours here.
#24 – Veules-les-Roses
Only 30 minutes from Dieppe, you will find one of the most famous villages of Normandy: Veules-les-Roses.
This is where the shortest river in France crosses the sea. And a walking trail has been laid out along the river to admire the beautiful houses and old mills.
To learn more, see my article on Veules-les-Roses.
#25 – Rouen
Only 50 minutes south of Dieppe, you can reach the historic city of Rouen.
It is one of the most fascinating cities in Normandy with many architectural wonders, as well as art and history museums.
#26 – Étretat
Étretat is a little further away (1h30 drive), but it is the jewel of the Alabaster Coast. You must not miss it!
It is here that the chalk cliffs present the most amazing formations and arches!
For more information, see my article on Étretat.
Weekend in Dieppe – itineraries for 1 and 2 days
Dieppe is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway.
Here are my suggestions for planning your itinerary.
1 day in Dieppe
- Morning : view of Dieppe from the castle and visit of the castle
- Afternoon: exploration of the city center: port, waterfront, Tourelles gate, pedestrian street with churches
- Sunset from Notre Dame de Bonsecours
2 days in Dieppe
- Morning Day 1: View of Dieppe from the castle and visit of the castle
- Afternoon Day 1: discovery of the city center: walking loop: port, sea front, Tourelles gate, pedestrian street with churches
- Sunset from Notre Dame de Bonsecours
- Morning Day 2: Memorial Museum
- Afternoon Day 2: Hike to Varengeville-sur-Mer or visit the Manoir d’Ango or visit the Bois de Moutier (according to your preference)
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO Normandy
Other useful information about Dieppe
Its history – in brief
The Vikings settled here because of the deep waters that made it easy for ships to dock. The region has always been a fishing area.
The oldest mention of Dieppe dates back to 1030, as a small fishing port. But the main center of life in the region was Arques.
In 1067, William the Conqueror left Dieppe to go to Great Britain.
It then had a tumultuous history due to the conflicts in the region between the French and the English.
It began to develop in the 14th century, and really took off in the 15th century thanks to trade. It reached its peak in the 16th century.
Later, in the 19th century, Dieppe became a seaside resort (one of the first in France) as Parisians began to take vacations by the sea. The sea baths were created in 1822.
About the name
Dieppe takes its name from the English word “deep”. It is due to the fact that the port offers deep water. The river Arques cut deeply into the chalky plateau and large ships were able to enter the harbor. It received its name around the 7th and 8th centuries.
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