Chalky cliffs overlook an azure blue sea and it’s hard to believe you’re on the very fringes of the English Channel. After all, it’s warm, sunny and a holiday vibe permeates the air. This is Etretat, an oasis of calm on the edges of Normandy in Northern France. Here’s some practical advice, tricks, and tips for visiting Etretat:
You should definitely go!
Many people skip a visit to Étretat, believing that it’s neither worth the detour nor the extra time. Instead, they opt for relatively nearby Mont Saint Michel and the Brittany coastline. However, a trip to Etretat, no matter how small, is still worth a visit, if only for a day…
Bring a Coat/Warm Jacket!
We visited the coastline of Étretat on a balmy summer day and I even caught the sun a little bit. (Bring the suncream. Always bring the sun cream!) Despite my pink cheeks, I still felt a little cold in the evening and was definitely wishing that I’d brought my winter coat from Paris along for the car journey.
Bring Your Swimsuit
I know, I know. How contradictory to the tip above! However, as I said, the days can be warm, and it’s always lovely to go for a dip in the water. The sea may be a little chilly, but it’s always worth a quick swim when you’re by the seaside.
Visit in the shoulder season
The only time I wouldn’t recommend visiting Etretat if you want to see a little sun is during the winter time. The climate of Normandy is pretty similar to the Southwest of England. That’s to say that it’s quite unpredictable, and you can never be sure when it will rain, or might be cold.
As such, I highly recommend visiting in the Spring or the Autumn as the Summer can be very busy. Not only that but nearby accommodation can get particularly full during peak season. If you’re planning to go pretty last minute, then finding accommodation near the town will be pretty near impossible in the summer months.
See the Town
The town of Étretat is a tourist destination in of itself. With cute timber-framed houses, plenty of cafés and green spaces, it’s definitely worth a stroll around. There are a number of restaurants where the food looks delicious, and little cobbled lanes give way to adorable architecture.
Walk the Coastline
The town may be pretty, but let’s face it: you go to Etretat to see the sea! Of all the tips for visiting Etretat, this may well be the most important. Here, there are miles of coastline just waiting to be walked. The grass is soft and spongy and the views are magnificent. There is also no better place to see the iconic cliff formations that the town and beach are so famous for, than by getting a bird’s eye perspective from above.
Bring a camera
Have you seen those views? Bring a camera and capture a day by the seaside. I just wish I’d remembered to bring a tripod along…