© Yann Pelcat
DieppeFrance’s oldest seaside resort

Dieppe France’s oldest seaside resort

Dare to dunk!

The first bathers came to sample the sea water at Dieppe in the early 19th century. They were intrepid aristocratic women who, following the hygiene recommendations of fashionable doctors, would although themselves to be submerged facing the waves, vigorously dunked by their “dippers”.

Sea bathing

Medicinal properties

A successful encounter always meant convulsions and choking. The process was a harsh one, but the sea was endowed with many a therapeutic quality. People would bathe to treat their nerves or, on the contrary, to cure themselves of weakness… During this era, braving the waves was no cakewalk!

It would take several dozen years for sea bathing sessions to become a pleasant experience. The seaside holiday destination offered a level of comfort to well-heeled bathers which was previously lacking, and the first bathing establishment was founded in Dieppe. It would later go on to become a casino and then a small Italian-style theatre, while the seafront was soon dotted with spacious hotels and elegant villas.

During the Belle Epoque

A new trend

A few decades later, the bathers of the Belle Epoque would dip their toes into the waves, torn between fear and audacity, and then, emboldened, throw themselves into a practice which would transform them into elegant sportswomen who shirked the corset. They would soon bob their hair, and their bathing costumes would reveal sun-kissed bodies beneath.

Nearly a century ago, fashion changed, and so did the world. And although those odd-looking bathing beauties of yesteryear may make us chuckle today, the pleasure of a dip in the sea remains intact, all these years later!