Etretat and The bench of Mike Langley

Etretat Travel Blog

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Man-made and nature

I was talking to one of my colleagues about taking a daytrip to the coast of Normandy. I had been there some times but I had still a lot of places to go. He told me about a place called Etretat. I had planned to take a day off but I had to attend one meeting in the morning. Well the morning meeting took the half day. I drove at noon and I was quiet motivated to get a way ��" even though that I knew most of my day would be driving back and forth to the city. It was a drive of 390 km each way but most of it would be on motorway and on French motorway which I don’t mind since they usually are in good shape.

After 3 hours and 15 minutes I arrived in Etretat.

What a view at Porte d'Amont
The sun had arrived as well ��" it was suddenly 17 degrees and my mood couldn’t be better. I parked the car in the middle of the city in front one of the many small hotels in the city centre. I was definitely out of season which suited me well. There were almost no people in the city; the shops in the centre were mostly your regular tourist traps with postcards and other souvenirs including beach toys. The town itself has grown up simply as a pleasure resort. There isn't even a port of any kind: the seafront consists of a sweeping unbroken curve of concrete above a shingle beach.

I was taken by the buildings, there was two different styles; one being stone house in grey stone with all edges in red stone, the other being wood houses with fantastic details numerous balconies, towers and so on. Almost all the houses were very well cared for. The city is not situated more than 2 hours drive from Paris so I believe that a lot of them are owned by people from Paris, coming out there for the weekend or holidays.

The beach of Etretat

I walked towards the water and was just amazed by the sound of the water hitting the stone beach and the sound of seagulls, and all this while the sun was shining in my face ��" could life be better than this. I just had to sit down and call my girlfriend and tell her that we both had to go here for a weekend. On the stony beach people were lying and enjoying the power of the sun. Some were walking close to the water, but there were very few down there.

As soon as you step onto the beach you'll see the cliff formations to either side. To the west, on the Falaise d'Aval, a straightforward if precarious walk leads up the crumbling side of the cliff, with lush lawns and pastures to the inland side and German fortifications on the shore side extending to the point where the turf abruptly stops, occasionally ripped by the latest fall of cliff.

The woodwork is fantastic
From the windswept top you can see further rock formations and possibly even glimpse Le Havre, but the views back to the village sheltered in the valley, and the Falaise d'Amont on its eastern side ��" which Maupassant compared to an elephant dipping its trunk into the ocean ��" are what stick in the memory. The cliff itself presents an idyllic rural scene, with a gentle footpath winding up the green hillside to the little chapel of Notre-Dame.

I walked towards the cliffs at the south side of the city. I enjoyed the houses they were pretty and well kept. I could only imagine this place in the peak of the summer. Thanks partly to its superb setting, and the lovely architectural ensemble that surrounds its central place Foch, Etretat is a very pretty little place. The old wooden market halles still dominate the main square, the ground floor now converted into souvenir shops, but the beams of the balcony and roof are bare and ancient.

The bench of Mike Langley

Etretat is best known for its cliffs, including a famous natural arch. Two of the three famous arches seen from the town are the Porte d'Aval, and the Porte d'Amont. The Manneporte is the third which cannot be seen from the town. It is a fairly small city with only approx 1600 in habitants. The most spectacular is the alabaster cliffs and their arches, tunnels and the solitary "needle" will doubtless be familiar from tourist brochures.

It is a great place that I am happy to have visited.

Chokk says:
It is truly a lovely place
Posted on: Sep 16, 2010
jennjeff1 says:
We loved Etretat!
Posted on: Sep 15, 2010
Chokk says:
It is truly nice there - I am probably going down there again this spring - its only 3h drive from Brussels
Posted on: Apr 07, 2009
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Man-made and nature
Man-made and nature
What a view at Porte dAmont
What a view at Porte d'Amont
The beach of Etretat
The beach of Etretat
The woodwork is fantastic
The woodwork is fantastic
The bench of Mike Langley
The bench of Mike Langley
Direction Centre ville
Direction Centre ville
The shopping centre
The shopping centre
One of the many beautiful hotels i…
One of the many beautiful hotels …
I realy enjoyed the building style…
I realy enjoyed the building styl…
The town square
The town square
One of the many beautiful hotels i…
One of the many beautiful hotels …
Old beautiful buildings
Old beautiful buildings
I just love houses like this
I just love houses like this
Looking down the main street from …
Looking down the main street from…
Porte dAval
Porte d'Aval
The view from the habour towards P…
The view from the habour towards …
The main Aval cliff, its arch and …
The main Aval cliff, its arch and…
Seagulls enjoying the sun
Seagulls enjoying the sun
The seagull was not certain that I…
The seagull was not certain that …
Habour view of Etretat
Habour view of Etretat
One boat on the stone beach
One boat on the stone beach
View towards Porte dAmont
View towards Porte d'Amont
The old city mall
The old city mall
Inside the old city mall
Inside the old city mall
Remembering the lost souls of the …
Remembering the lost souls of the…
Build in to the cliff during WW II
Build in to the cliff during WW II
Close up of the cliffs
Close up of the cliffs
Habour view
Habour view
The biggest star of the city!
The biggest star of the city!
A building styie that rocks
A building styie that rocks
One of the many cosy shops in the …
One of the many cosy shops in the…
Parked infront of one of the many …
Parked infront of one of the many…
One city house waiting for the own…
One city house waiting for the ow…
The chapel at Porte dAmont
The chapel at Porte d'Amont
Porte dAmont
Porte d'Amont
The bench of Mike Langley
The bench of Mike Langley
Porte dAmont
Porte d'Amont
Lovely little cottage
Lovely little cottage
Drain Fish on the roof of the chur…
Drain Fish on the roof of the chu…
Summer is on the way
Summer is on the way
The sight of the countryside!
The sight of the countryside!
What a shoping centre!
What a shoping centre!
Etretat
photo by: mariemak