Just 20 miles east of Dieppe the three communes at the mouth of the Bresle river are heaven for a francophile. Known locally as the Three Sisters each offers a distinct flavour of France.
Eu, a pleasant short walk along the river, is atmospheric with history including the 12th century Collegiale and the Renaissance château where Queen Victoria twice met Louis-Philippe.
The promenade of Mers-les-Bains is a stroll into La Belle Époque then a climb to the top of the striking cliffs painted by Turner.
Across the Bresle, Le Tréport is the largest and liveliest of the Three Sisters. A busy port for fishing and leisure it has a funicular, museums, a classic carousel, fantastic fish market and a casino.
From the stylishly modernised coaching inn, the Hotel de Calais, to the modest restaurant Aux Saint Jacques (skate with roquefort sauce, chitterlings sausage) everyone is welcoming, helpful and conversational.
So close to home yet over four days not another GB plate was spotted.
Ferries from Granville. This fabulous archipelago of islands is barely populated, car free, breezy, sunny, a timeless place of great beauty. There are a couple of gites and little shops and a fair few yachting visitors. Weathered rocks, deserted shorelines, beaches, pools teeming with life all abound. Great for kids.
A French friend recommended this village when I needed somewhere to overnight before sailing from Dieppe. I arrived in time for the night market and bought delicious local foods and bread to die for. In the morning I wandered the miles of beach; there was a yoga class beneath the Dover-style white cliffs, and in the sea oyster beds and people shrimp fishing, apparently oblivious to being fully dressed as they pushed their nets through chest deep water. Colonised by Russian artists in the late nineteenth century, there's a fantastic range of galleries wherever you turn. Much of the ancient architecture has survived fires, storms and WWII bombardment. La Veule is France's shortest river, with cress beds and flowers galore. I wish I'd given myself longer in this little gem.
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