We sometimes tend to forget it, but Dieppe was the first seaside resort in France. Thanks to the Duchess of Berry who, influenced by a new trend that came from England, discovered the health benefits of the sea, the town has been the oldest seaside resort in France since 1824.
She created the beach in Dieppe; and a ballroom, a theatre, etc. were built especially for her… At that time, the Parisian aristocracy rushed to Dieppe to bathe in the sea. The development of the railway in 1847 would emphasise this trend. King Louis-Philippe came to Dieppe from his castle in Eu to make the most of this new fashion. It is said that Churchill met his wife-to-be, Clémentine, here. In 1853, Napoleon III would also indulge in sea bathing in Dieppe. As for his wife, Empress Eugénie, she remodelled the beach during her stay. Casinos and high standard hotels were built in Dieppe. Everything was made to entertain those wealthy "tourists" who came to make the most of the sea air. In 1860, there were no less than 3,000 English people living in Dieppe as this corsair town was only 8 hours away from London thanks to the ferry link.
Since the Second World War, Dieppe has lost some of its former splendour. Many beautiful building, symbol of the Belle Epoque period, have unfortunately been destroyed. But the town remains very attractive (it is the closest beach to Paris) and delights many holiday-makers. It still welcomes a lot of Parisians every weekend who love its tranquil lifestyle. Besides the water sports activities, the leisure pool Les Bains, which opened in 2007, is a new attraction in the town, with its health and fitness centre and its outdoor salt water pool. In Dieppe, the fashion for sea bathing has evolved but the seaside resort has successfully preserved its authenticity.