About Dieppe Castle
Dieppe Castle is an impressive medieval fortress located in the French town of Dieppe, Normandy. Built in 1188, the original castle was destroyed only several years later. Restored during the 14th century, Dieppe Castle is composed of a quadrangular enclosure with round flanking towers and a lower court adjacent.
Today, the castle serves as not only an imposing reminder of the medieval elite’s power and wealth, but as the Dieppe Castle-Museum.
Dieppe Castle history
The original castle was founded in 1188 by King Henry II of England and destroyed just a few years later by King Philip II of France in 1195. The site was restored in the 14th century and in large part reconstructed in 1433 by Charles des Marets.
The large west tower dates perhaps from the 14th century and served as the keep. Several architectural styles are represented, although the castle is largely made with flint and sandstone. A brick bastion and various other buildings have been added to the original enclosure since, including the town walls built around 1360.
Dieppe castle was also part of the town’s long naval history. During the 16th century under Francis I, the town of Dieppe’s sea power peaked. The Dieppe School os Cartography recorded the latest information for the King, and ships from the port left to sail across the world, from Brazil to Canada. While the town was largely destroyed by an Anglo-Dutch bombardment in 1694, Dieppe Castle survived.
Until 1923, the castle housed the Ruffin barracks.
Dieppe Castle today
Bought by the town in 1903, today the castle is home to the Dieppe museum. Cross the drawbridge over the moat into the castle, where you are transported back to the medieval era. Inside, the museum offers an incredible collection of ivory carvings, nautical charts as well as cutlasses, trunks and navigation instruments.
The castle offers a panoramic view over the town and the coast, as far as the Channel-port and ferries crossing for Newhaven – a reminder of how close England is.
Getting to Dieppe Castle
Located on the coast within modern Dieppe, the castle is an hour and a half drive from Amiens via the A29 and D915, and is 2 hours from Calais via the A16. Otherwise, Dieppe Castle is only a 15 minute walk from the train station with links to Rouen.
As one of the great historic regions of France, Normandy is bursting with a number of stunning castles with equally compelling histories to match. Here's our pick of 10 of the best.