ÉTRETAT | France

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s definitely not a usual Monday at the beach.

Etretat came into my consciousness by accident and at the onset didn’t really make an impression. I saw photos online of natural stone arches from carved out cliffs that looked nice but not enough to warrant further investigation, that is until my interest piqued when Teko, who rarely brings up trip suggestions, mentioned it one evening a few weeks ago. And so a stopover was born. Besides, how could Claude Monet – who stayed here for a month painting – and Guy de Maupassant – who lived here early in life – lead us wrong.

After a 2,5 hour drive from Wimille, we finally made it to Étretat in the northern part of Normandy and found a beautiful, relatively uncrowded town, with a scenic-looking pebble beach flanked by two soaring, hollowed out, chalk-white cliffs, higher even than the ones in Cap Blanc Nez. The one to the right of town was the less famous Porte d’Amont though it did have an interesting stone church on its peak, and the cliff to the left of town, the Porte d’Aval, the more familiar one as it had the protruding Aiguille next to it. There were plenty of tourists milling about for a Monday but they were all spread out onto, around, and over the two cliffs, which I have to say are true wonders of nature. Absolutely stunning in person. There is apparently a third and largest cliff that couldn’t be seen from town but as we were short on time, had to abandon any plans to see it. The Manneporte would have to wait until the next adventure.


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