Soaring sea cliffs and natural rock arches make Etretat one of the most beautiful coastal towns in France. The town has been enchanting holidaymakers since the 19th-century when it emerged as a fashionable destination for Parisians in search of sun, sand and salty air.
Things to do in Étretat
Walking along the chalky clifftops of Etretat, you’ll be retracing the footsteps of Impressionists such as Monet, who drew inspiration from the evocative coastal landscape. Falaise d’Aval is particularly impressive and features soaring chalk cliffs and a natural arch. Just offshore is L’Aiguille, a jagged rock spire that rises up from the turquoise bay.
Narrow trails wind down the grassy slopes and lead to white pebble beaches. Bask in the sunshine, stroll along the boardwalk and cool off in the Atlantic Ocean. Falaise d’Amont viewpoint offers breathtaking coastal views and is especially gorgeous at sunset when the chalky cliffs take on a golden glow.
In the charming village centre, you’ll find little has changed since the 1800s. Today many of the half-timbered houses have been reimagined as stylish cafes, bistros and brasseries. Save your appetite for Norman dishes such as “marmite dieppoise” fish stew cooked with butter, cider and cream.
Set on the clifftops, Golf d'Étretat boasts some of the most spectacular fairways in France. The legendary 18-hole course was founded in 1908 and commands sweeping views over the English Channel and Alabaster Coast. Les Jardins d'Étretat is another clifftop gem and features enchanting living sculptures.
Getting around Étretat
Etretat is compact and easy to get around on foot. The village is pedestrian-friendly, with paths meandering down the cliffsides to the beaches while local buses stop outside the tourist office. The town is a 30-minute drive from Le Havre and three hours from Paris.