St Valery en Caux is a short drive westwards along the coast from Dieppe and is one of Normandie’s most attractive small ports.
It can also be approached by boat. However as it’s is only accessible at high tide many yachtsmen sailing from England prefer to make landfall at the larger Dieppe or Fecamp harbours, to the east and west, then come to St Valery.
After passing through lock gates and by a raised bridge the visitor is greeted with the tranquil inner basin.
St Valery en Ceux
St Valery is old and steeped in history. In 1066 it is unlikely all of Duke William’s invasion fleet would have fitted in one harbour so they would have been ships coming and going with the buzz of war and talk of trade.
The French’s sense of civic pride is heralded with brilliant flower displays in window boxes and hanging baskets. The winding streets are fun to explore and the best trail is clearly marked so it’s difficult to get lost. The paths are not steep and well maintained.
St Francis of Assisi
Following on the next discovery is the notice in both English and French that the old monasterywas the headquarters of the infamous Jacobin Club at the time of the French Revolution.These hotheads debated the rights and wrongs of the time and which citizens would be brought before
the Committee of Public Safety where the proscutor usually referred to them as Ci Devant Aristo‘this former Aristocrat…’ Although France celebrates much of their late 18th century revolution they rarely let on where the guillotine was sited.
Below is the courtyard. It has that mysterious feel. Neither is it open with souvenir stands.
Nor is it closed and locked up.
The new dormer window and satellite dish contrast the old and the new with the pictures in the boarded up windows.
A lot of work has gone into both these paintings. It advertises the artist’s work and enlightens the cold brickwork.
High tide comes twice a day. In the Atlantic it’s called diurnal. In the Pacific high tide is only once every 24 hours.
The port is at its prettiest. The departing boats leave the inner harbour first while the newcomers mill around waiting.
Does the water ever come over the road? Who knows? A combination of a winter’s gale and the highest spring tide, perhaps….