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The elephantile cliffs of Étretat

The July heatwave in Paris became unbearable for a bit, so we escaped to Étretat for a change of scenery and cooler fresh air. Oh it was cooler alright, and the water was actually rather cold that even Frédéric who’s normally a big fan of the sea retreated back to shore after a few minutes snorkel. We also had time to walk both the cliffs that flank the village of Étretat and had a picnic along the way. What a lovely getaway from Paris indeed :)

Étretat

Étretat

We started our visit with a walk along the cliff of Amont (la falaise d’Amont), where the smallest of the three natural arches – Porte d’Amont – can be found. From the village, along the sea front, it’s a left turn followed by a set of well-paved stairs to arrive to the foot of the hill that eventually leads to the small chapel of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

From here, of course, we had a beautiful view of the other cliff, but when continued along the stretch, we also came to see impressive tall cliff-side that seems to go on for miles. As the tide was low, we could see intermittent beaches that pretty much consist only of swash zone. When the tide is high, the waves hit right up to the cliffs.

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

It was here that we took time for a little break and set up our small picnic. May as well take advantage of the spot where we had scenic view, right? We had packed some salad, chips, tabouleh, cheeses and cake before leaving Paris, and in the village, we grabbed a couple of sticks of baguettes. Nothing fancy but certainly still a small feast for three.

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

After our break, we were good to trek back and walk along the other, more popular, cliff of Aval (la falaise d’Aval). This side of the cliff boasts the familiar and large arches of Porte d’Aval and Manneporte, relatively unchanged since they were painted by Monet over a century ago. Thanks to the low tide, we also discovered a former short-lived oyster cultivation park at the foot of Porte d’Aval. It would make an interesting exploration expedition, had we had more time here!

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

With a little imagination, it is easy to see the resemblence of the arches of Porte d’Aval and Manneporte to large elephants that drink in the sea. Not only that, I believe I spotted what could pass as the face of an old wise soul who looked out into the sea. Those looking for a little humour should check out the close up of the sign right next to it. ;)

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Étretat

Alas, our day soon came to an end, we headed back in the direction of the picturesque village in order to catch a bus that took us to Le Havre for our connecting train. No doubt, we will be back again. Perhaps another weekend when it’s just too warm to stay in Paris. Perhaps next summer, to mark our third visit in three summers.



Category: Europe, France, Travel

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3 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    Beautiful weather and scenery plus nice picnic food….bliss ;)
    vandalize sign? kekeke

    • Lil says:

      there should be something this nice close to everyone! beauty like this needs to be appreciated by more than handful few people ;)

  2. […] (NORMANDY) Official tourism: Normandie Tourisme Normandy on France Revisited – Gary Lee Kraut The Elephantile Cliffs of Etretat – Lilian Lau Exploring Etretat – Lauren Lou Bate, Folies du Bonheur “Short and […]

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