This post on Dieppe is my last on the Alabaster Coast (Côte d'Albâtre) in Normandy. Sheltered between two high cliffs, Dieppe stretches on either side of the river Arques as it empties into the Atlantic. Seaside and tourist resort of the Alabaster coast valued by the English and Parisians, the town has conserved very few architectural souvenirs of its golden age. Dieppe is sometimes called the Viking town. It traces its history as a human settlement and port back to the arrival of the Vikings on this coast at the beginning of the tenth century AD. Of course, there were other people living in these parts before then, and the Romans passed this way before the Vikings. But the Romans did not leave such important traces of their occupation here as they did elsewhere. The Vikings, from Scandinavia, settled in and around Dieppe because of the hospitable harbour they found for their ships at the river estuary that cuts through a forbidding line of cliffs. The name Dieppe derives from the Viking term “djepp”, meaning “deep”.
Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) was the first French Explorer to explore the New World. He explored what is now Canada and set the stage for the great explorer and navigator Samuel de Champlain to begin colonization of Canada. Cartier was the first European to discover and create a map for the St. Lawrence River. In 1838, the painter François Riss received an order by the city of St Malo to produce a portrait of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557). It was reproduced in 1846 by the painter Louis-Félix Amiel in Quebec City. The original painting of the imagined Cartier by Riss was destroyed in a fire at the old town hall in 1944. This version is one of many replicas of the lost work. It was executed in 1895 by the librarian of the city of Saint-Malo, Auguste Lemoine (1850-1908) for the the city of Paramé and now hangs in the St Malo civic history museum. There are no known contemporary portraits of Cartier.