In the streets of Dieppe, not an Englishman on the horizon. While Brexit will officially come into force on January 1, it has been several years since British customers have been shrinking in the city. The health restrictions linked to the Coronavirus put a very sharp stop to the crossing of the Channel. And during this Christmas period, traders did not see an Englishman.
“We had a few British tourists this summer, but this winter not at all“, confirms Florence Bloch, the manager of Vents d’Ouest, a souvenir shop on the Grand Rue. Close to the port, Arnaud is a waiter in the Tout va bien brasserie, at the moment he offers take-out and he makes the same observation. “Usually we always have a lot of English who come to spend a few days at Christmas, that’s zero“, he explains.
It could represent up to a quarter of our turnover in normal times – Arnaud, waiter at Tout va bien
Next door, Frédéric, owner of the Atelier de l’Armorique, is forced to make the same observation. “It’s not new, this year we really don’t see any, but it has been decreasing for several years“, he adds. According to this restaurateur, attendance has decreased significantly since the ferry no longer arrives in the city center. Then Brexit further accelerated this phenomenon.
Tourists no longer come, the English settled in are leaving
To listen to the traders of Dieppe, the Covid is not at all the only explanation for the disappearance of English tourists in the city. “We can feel it especially since Brexit, but the Covid obviously has stopped everything“, explains Christophe Savigny, manager of Torréfaction Dieppoise. They have also seen some of their clients, who have recently settled in France, leave. “In particular a couple whose husband was ill, they returned a few months ago, they prefer to return home. These Brexit stories complicate everything, people are leaving“, adds ti.
Elise Denoitte, owner of three clothing stores, makes the same observation. “Before we had a loyal English clientele, we no longer see them. There were tourists, English settled here but also Dieppois settled in England for example who often returned. They come back less and less.”
For now, traders in Dieppe are trying not to worry too much about Brexit. “The tourists, it turns, others will replace the English“, thinks Brigitte Savigny, the manager of Torréfaction Dieppoise. Parisians have arrived in large numbers since confinement. “That makes a significant potential of customers! “