"Aire today, gone tomorrow..", your free mobile guide to low cost motorhome and camper van touring in France
Aire/Stellplatz: DIEPPE Quai de la Marne (Normandie)
GPS Decimal: 49.92991 N 1.08643 E
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Per night: 7 Euros (2010) maximum stay 48 hours, pay & display machine (horodateur)
The obvious reason for staying at this Aire would be because you are catching (or have just disembarked from) the Dieppe ferry. In that respect, this Aire couldn't be more convenient, as it's right next to the ferry port. So close in fact, that looking down the line of camper vans one could be forgiven for thinking that a very large amphibious camper van with a huge brightly-coloured funnel had joined the end of the row (see left of photo above). You might also consider stopping here on the way through to somewhere else further along the coast, or on your way back up to Calais, in which case there would be enough to entertain most people for up to a day or possibly two if you like resorts. We found it a reasonable alternative after repeated visits to the Honfleur Aire on our return journeys from the south, though admittedly it's not quite as classy a location.
The Aire is a spread of tarmac behind a hedge along the Quai de la Marne - there is no entry/exit barrier which is always a plus in my books, but there are no marked bays either, so parking can be a bit uneven, with one or two folks believing they're entitled to vast amounts of space between their vehicle and the next, instead of accepting that they're stopping overnight in what is basically a car park. If the Aire looks full, despair not - the car parking area at the northern end can be used as an overflow. Well at least it was when we visited in August anyway.
Dieppe is a working port and seaside resort, and whilst it's by no means as busy as Calais, you can expect to hear noise from a number of sources, ie ferries, passing vehicles, boats entering and leaving the harbour, the funfair, and (of course) the local seagulls. We also heard some noise from an irate Austrian camper owner complaining loudly at someone who'd dared to park within 15 feet of him, but that was probably a one-off. Poor deluded man obviously believed he was on a campsite.
The town centre and seafront are within easy walking distance of the Aire - just head back down towards the Pont Colbert swingbridge on the Grande Rue de Pollet. Dieppe is what I would loosely term a 'stretch-leg' town - the sort of place where you can go for an afternoon or evening wander after a long day's travelling, but one which doesn't exactly set the world on fire in terms of character. The seafront (Boulevard du Marechal Foch) will remind you of pretty much any straightforward English resort, peppered as it is with various forms of fast food eatery and neon-lit entertainment. This is supplemented (some might say greatly enhanced) by the extensive harbour area with its mixture of working fishing vessels and more leisure-orientated yachts and pleasure boats. The shopping centre along the Grande Rue is typical of most medium-sized European towns. Sadly however, the little joke shop where we used to stock up on fireworks and rubber sick during early 70s school trips has long since closed, so I was a bit disappointed there. I suppose I'll just have to look on eBay. Nevertheless, if you can take your mind off the rubber sick and plan to eat out with a bit of harbourside ambience, I suggest you start looking along the Quai Henri IV, where we managed to find a decent three course formule menu including wine (yay!) for a mere 10.50 Euros a head, which kept us happy. Well I like moules and frites, and it was certainly more tasty than most British pub meals you'd pay the same amount or more for. If your tastes and wallet extend beyond 10.50 Euros a head, there's no shortage of higher-priced eateries nearby. In short, there's something for everyone.
The Aire's service point offers the usual free of charge trilogy of loo emptying, grey water disposal, and fresh water top-up. There's no electricity though. It's situated near the entrance/exit.
On the plus side: Very convenient for port, quite close to town centre, overflow parking available if required.
But: Can be a bit noisy if you're a light sleeper.
Alternative Aires: Try Saint Valery en Caux to the West , or Le Treport to the East. Full details and directions available at the French CCI website.
Around Normandie: click thumbnail for bigger picture:
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