The gorgeous Normandy cliffs in Étretat

Posted on 21. Jan, 2013 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France

You know those gorgeous cliffs in Northern France everyone raves about? The ones I added on my bucket list ages ago but never had the courage to drive all the way up there to actually see them?

Well, this summer, I did just that.

I drove to Normandy, and finally saw these wonders of nature, this gift of God to Normandy, and one of the most striking scenery in all of France.

That’s quite the spectacular view, right?

The cliffs are made of white chalk, which explains their pristine, immaculate face, which can get as high as 350 feet. Up until the mid-19th century, the village was notorious for its healthy fishing industry - that is until the Paris elite decided to spend the warmer months on the year along the coast. That’s when Étretat morphed into one of the most sought-after hotspots in the country. Even today, Parisians still come and spend les vacances d’août here, in the homes that’s been in their family for generations and generations.

Also, the irony is not lost on me that one would use “hotspot” to describe the otherwise notoriously chilly Normandy coast. But whatever.

In all honesty, I really don’t know what else to say about the cliffs. Not because they are not inspiring - quite the contrary, in fact. It is  precisely because I was in such a state of awe - and still am, actually - that I don’t feel any of the words I’ll write will do them any kind of justice. I feel only pictures could get them the attention they rightfully deserve.

Etretat - Normandy Cliffs - Good To Know

  • Normandy in August is perhaps the worst time of the year to visit - the weather is great, yes, but every city and village gets taken over by French people on holiday.
  • There are two cliffs to go on - Falaise d’Aval, and Falaise d’Amont.
    • The former, Aval,  is the large arch with the pointy rock, and accessible by foot from the beach (first four pictures).
    • The latter, Amont,  is the one that overlooks the village and the first cliff (last picture). It’s accessible by car.
  • Both cliffs are free of charge.

Have you been to the cliffs of Etretat in Normandy? Was it a highlight of your trip? If not, would you like to go one day?

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16 Responses to “The gorgeous Normandy cliffs in Étretat”

  1. Ele

    21. Jan, 2013

    Are people allowed to go up on them? I’ve seen signs “Danger” in other countries.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      22. Jan, 2013

      As mentioned at the end of the article, both cliffs are accessible - one by foot, one by car.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Cheryl

    21. Jan, 2013

    Gorgeous! I hope to see these someday myself.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Caro

    22. Jan, 2013

    Aaaah Étrerat! I’ve been, back in spring 2009 and it was gorgeous! There was hardly anyone there, it ws a bit cold and very windy, it added to the drama of these cliffs. I fell in love with the whole region really, a beautiful, raw France.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      03. Feb, 2013

      And France without the French is always better, right? ;)

      Reply to this comment
  4. Andrea

    22. Jan, 2013

    A co-worker recommended this place to John when we were living in Paris an we spent a weekend there. Loved climbing the cliffs!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Laura @Travelocafe

    22. Jan, 2013

    Cipri, my husband always insists that we should go to Normandy. I’ll pass to him your post. He’ll love it… and you kind of convinced me to let him take me there.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      03. Feb, 2013

      I’m glad I could help him convince you - he won’t regret it :)

      Reply to this comment
  6. Pete

    29. Jan, 2013

    Wow, incredible scenery! I’ll make sure to avoid this in August ;)

    Reply to this comment
  7. Jenna

    09. Jul, 2014

    I’ll be in Paris next year and am wondering how easy it is to get here from there. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      14. Jul, 2014

      Trains run frequently to either Rouen or Rennes, and from there I believe there is a train or bus service to Étretat. It’s a popular destination for French tourists, I’m sure it’s easy to get there!

      Reply to this comment
  8. Yulianna

    10. Jul, 2014

    I’ve been dreaming to go there for years. In 2 weeks I am going to Paris (I will be there for 1 week) Hopefully, it is easy to get there from the capital.

    Reply to this comment

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