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Long ago, the port was the refuge of choice for deep-sea fishermen who set out on incredible adventures to the north Atlantic and the fabulous old fishing grounds off Newfoundland.
These voyages were made in sailing vessels with the fish salted and stored in barrels for the return journey and there’s a fascinating fishing museum dedicated to these hardy Bretons on the seafront.
The old offshore fishing industry may have declined, but the coastal fishing fleet is still very much in evidence, with a small fresh fish market on the quay and a larger indoor wet fish market nearby.It comes as no surprise to find the port restaurants specialise in sea-food, though if you prefer your food to have never swum beneath the waves you won’t be disappointed for the menus are rich, varied and very satisfying.The port itself wriggles along a valley fold, deep carved from limestone over millennia by a river that must have been home to the regions first fishermen thousands of years ago.Fécamp is a perfectly placed deep water port with a locked inner harbour that provides secure all-weather protection, although in a north westerly blow the relatively narrow entrance becomes a marine bowling alley that requires plenty of water and a firm hand on the tiller.
The outer harbour is where most of the Royal Escape squadron moor to floating pontoons, linked by walkways to the quaysides far above, their elevation testament to the substantial tidal range.
Stepping ashore, sailors are quickly charmed by the cosmopolitan and cheerful atmosphere with a hubbub of cafés and restaurants lively with mainly French voices.