Europe

Etretat: a hidden gem in Normandy

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Etretat is a small seaside village at the coast of Normandy, France. This village, with only 2000 inhabitants, is located about two hours away from Paris. The best time to visit is during spring. It’s really crowded during summer as it is the perfect place to relax and to go fishing or sailing. I fell in love with this place and couldn’t stop visiting. I think I’ve been there four times already. The most beautiful thing in this area are the white cliffs. You can hike all the way to the top and the view is amazing.

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First things first: hiking the cliffs

Don’t forget to hike the cliffs. This is the main reason to visit. There’s a path and it’s a steep climb but the view is worth it. It’s breathtaking and even better at sunset. You have two sides. One side will lead you all the way along the coast – this path literally doesn’t stop. The other side will lead you to a small chapel.

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Don’t forget: pay attention to the tide

This area is well known for the change of the tide. My friends and I wanted to explore an underwater cave because it was only visible for another hour. However, there was a sign saying how dangerous it was. The tide… the most dangerous thing if you don’t pay attention. Trust me, that sign was huge. Stupid as we were, we decided to ignore it. No danger, no fun, right?! Once we arrived at the cave, we had about 10 minutes left before flood. Plenty of time and my friend found a pearl so she decided to go a little further to find another one, until we saw water streaming into the cave. The water level was rising so fast that we had to find a different way to get back to shore. Everything was flooded already. We laughed about it afterwards but I don’t think I’ll ever do something like that again. Don’t do this. Just don’t (or at least read the sign).

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To see: Manoir de la Salamandre/Hotel la résidence

This is the most historical building around here. Trust me, you can’t miss it. It was originally built in the 14th century, in Lisieux. It has been replaced to Etretat in the 19th century. It’s now a restaurant and a hotel. It looks pretty old, doesn’t it?!

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Story behind this village: The white bird

Eretat is also known as the last place where “the white bird” was seen. This plane disappeared in 1927 during an attempt to fly non-stop from Paris to New York. It disappeared somewhere above the Atlantic and has never been found.

 

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