Last summer in France ,we decided to take a weekend off towards the coast of English channel. The destination was the little village in the upper Normandy region known as Etretat and it was indeed a treat to our eyes and soul!
Etretat lies in the Alabaster coast – known for its series of white cliffs. Etretat itself boasts some of the most famous cliffs in the region, spread along it’s vast sea line. It is a small touristic village to relax and unwind.The lazy sunny shores and the sunset at the cliff will set a holiday mood. A perfect weekend getaway in France!
Before I start explaining everything I guess the pictures must have done enough talking. The town has a beautiful scenic beach, white cliffs and lots & lots of bars,cafes,hotels etc.
SO WHAT TO DO IN ETRETAT?
Theoretically nothing ! But practically you can do all these things I did
Go to the beach, sit under sun with snack and beer , watch the water hitting the shores and play with white stones smoothed by the waves.
Watch the birds of Etretat, supposedly very human friendly – Yes, they will fly away with whatever you have and by the time you realize, it will be gone, especially food.They flew away with my boy’s apple tart when I was clicking his picture 😦
Hike one of the cliffs and see the one opposite to it. There are three cliffs in total and two can be seen from the town. The one on the right of the beach is Porte d’Amont and other is Porte d’Aval. Porte d’Aval (above,behind me) rests next to an offshore spire known as L’Augille – “The Needle” .Porte d’Amont has a little church.
Once its time for the sun to set, sit on the edge of the cliff and watch the sunset or try stopping the sun to set,just like I did! 😉
As the night falls the coast gets all lit up and looks amazing.The bars and restaurants spread near the beach become busy, bustling with tourists. The people fine dine or gaze at the stars just like we did 🙂
The nearest station is Le Havre ,which can be accessed from most cities in France.It takes about 2.5 hours to reach from Paris center. From Le Havre TGV station there are buses all day long for Etretat. The bus journey lasts 45 mins passing through picturesque countryside. You also have an option of taking a taxi from Le Havre station.
Once you reach there, you will be dropped at the center of the town welcomed by a helpful tourist office.
The town can be accessed by foot mostly and the beach is 5 mins walk from the center.
#WHERE TO STAY?
The place is full of hotels,b&b and vacation rentals.You can check it out here.We stayed in a comfortable cottage based on a French film Talons Aiguilles.We had lovely hosts who served us breakfast in their bungalow. The place had lush green gardens to relax. Check it out here.
#WHERE TO EAT?
You don’t have to search , there are lot of cafes and resturants all over the place. Go for places overlooking the beach.Seafood is abundant.
The specialty here is Moules & Frites means “mussels and fries”. They are boiled mussels(garnated with a sauce of choice) with fries.I forgot to take a picture as I got busy hogging (I put one from Wikipedia here).You have to try this in the afternoon.
OTHER STUFF ABOUT ETRETAT
- English is not spoken here though it’s close to the English channel.But you can get away with little french.
- If you have any difficulties, the tourist information office is of good help as they speak English and have a WIFI connectivity.
- You get buses to Etretat right outside Le Havre station
- During summer, buses to Etretat are usually very crowded,both ways.So remember to reach the bus stop way before the departure time (30 mins).
- Etretat has attracted lot of notable artist for it picturesque location.
- And there is a Casino there along the beach side for those people who would like to gamble a little 🙂
Rest carry sunscreen,sunglasses,camera and enjoy the summer!
Normandy is full of amazing places to explore, if you are there for more days. I will end this post with a favorite picture of mine taken at the cliff.
Bonnes vacances ❤ !