Situated on the Normandy coast, Etretat is renowned for the coastal scenery around the town, in particular its white cliffs that are familiar from many photos of the region. Both the cliffs and the town itself highlights of the region and not to be missed if you visiting this part of Normandy.
Most visits to Etretat will start with a look at the cliffs and rock formations. The best way to enjoy the scenery is to follow the cliff-top path from the town and which has stunning views. The path forms part of the GR21 long distance footpath so you can walk as far as you like.
If you walk to the small Church of Notre-Dame you will see some of the best views, in particular of the ‘arche de la falaise d’aval’, the most famous of the rock formations along this part of the coast.
As well as the 70 meter high cliffs along the coast there are three main ‘rock formations’:
- the falaise d’aval and the aiguille (‘downstream cliff and needle);
- the manneporte, a natural rock arch
- the falaise d’amont (‘upstream cliff’), a thin rock that juts into the sea
After exploring the cliffs you can visit the town itself. Historically a fishing village, Etretat became a popular seaside resort during the 19th century.
This popularity was enhanced by the large number of famous artists and authors who were inspired by Etretat – Monet, Maupassant, Victor Hugo and Flaubert were all enthusiasts of the region around the town, and Monet painted several well known pictures of the coast and cliffs around Etretat.