They made me climb a mountain!!

Etretat Travel Blog

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the sun breaks through and lights up the falaises beautifully!
To get to Etretat from Paris, the train is from the Saint-Lazare station towards La Havre. There are a couple of choices here - you can go to La Havre and take the bus, or you can go to Breaute and take the bus. We chose to go to Breaute because their buses are lined up with the arrival of the trains, so we found that particularly convenient and only costs 2 Euro to arrive at the Tourist office which is like 2 blocks from the cliffs. However, on the way back, the buses FROM Etretat back to the station had a funny 2 hour gap, with the next one being at 6pm. So we took the bus to Le Havre and waited 45 minutes for the train back to Saint-Lazare.
the elephant falaise
We found this bus ride to be quite a bit longer but you also got to see a new city, which was pretty modern, full of shops and commercial areas.

Strangely enough, my expectations of Etretat were really low. There isn't a ton of information on the net about it, and the few pictures seem a bit redundant and uninteresting. Yes, there are white cliffs and a needle-looking thing. It's far, requiring a train ride, a bus ride, and some walking. But when we arrived we were very pleasantly surprised!

Etretat sits on the Normandy coast along a chain of cliffs referred to as "falaises" (perhaps that's the translation) and are a lovely white hue. A few gorgeous "beaches" sit between some cliffs but be careful because these beaches are not filled with sand. In fact they're not even filled with rocks - they're filled with BOULDERS the size of your fist! You can walk along it, but it literally sounds like you're shoveling gravel with each step as the large boulders are rubbing against each other many meters below your feet, only louder and deeper! One might be able to run quickly along the surface of the boulders being careful not to stub your toe, or you can manage your way slowly, but you will sink a little as the boulders shift!

On each side of the "beach" there are staircases to bring you to the top of the cliffs.
apparently jumping shots are contagious!
What?! You want to go UP this mountain thing?! Damn, alright, I'll go to the top of the stairs. What?! You want me to walk up that grass hill to the cliffs?! Fine, fine. A few huffs and puffs later I join RJ and Tracy. What, you want to walk along that little precipice to get a better view?! These two are determined to give me a heart attack today. But in hindsight their encouragement and adventuresome spirits made it unforgettable as we saw something like 4 falaises instead of just the 1 planned.

Tracy and RJ sing a medley of songs with the word "sunshine" in them as it was raining when we arrived. The sun came out just as we walked up to the top, revealing a gorgeous day ahead of us on the cliffs. After exploring and dodging seagulls, we finally came down to the despair of my ankles and shins.

Tracy had researched the food ahead of time so we knew we were probably going to have "moules frites" for lunch.
We made the absolute right choice of bypassing the touristy/expensive spots along the main way and meandered into the few side streets. There was a restaurant with no english translations for their menu items and it was clear they used local ingredients, so I urged us inside. We were not to be disappointed, as we found the most amazing moules, locally caught and prepared in traditional Normandy fashion. It was ABSOLUTELY delicious and would turn out to be the best meal we had this week.

The hiking and amazing food made us very sleepy, so we headed on back and tried to find an open restaurant in Paris around 8:30pm, but were unsuccessful, so ended up at some expensive tourist trap places to bring up our blood sugar. But Etretat was such a pleasure to visit and dine at. A very memorable trip indeed =)
RJ82 says:
best place!
Posted on: Jun 15, 2010
hirondellenhi says:
moules frites!!!! yay!!! see hiking is fun! you still haven't use your camel back yet1!! how much was the transport?
Posted on: Jun 12, 2010
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the sun breaks through and lights …
the sun breaks through and lights…
the elephant falaise
the elephant falaise
apparently jumping shots are conta…
apparently jumping shots are cont…
RJ likes to run along cliff edges..
RJ likes to run along cliff edges..
our one group shot!
our one group shot!
the town of Etretat upon cloudy ar…
the town of Etretat upon cloudy a…
high wind!
high wind!
what a life, mr. seagull!
what a life, mr. seagull!
kids chillin and eating lunch!
kids chillin' and eating lunch!
photo by: mariemak