Friday, March 2, 2012

Day Trips Around Normandy France - Étretat

I've decided to do a new series highlighting some of our favourite places we visited around Normandy France last summer.  It was a fantastic vacation - one well worth spending some time remembering.  If you happen to be one of the lucky ones and are visiting Normandy this summer then be sure and take notes, and if France isn't in the cards for you ... well then how about a little armchair travel.  It's good for the soul.  

I'm going to start with my favourite day trip because I just can't wait to share it with you.   It was such a blast and including everything I love - a little adventure, a hike in some beautiful scenery, the ocean, old houses, and good food.

Most people get to Étretat  by driving to the pretty coastal town, but we stopped a few kilometres outside of town and took a different mode of transportation.  We were staying with our friend's in Normandy and going to Étretat by Velo-rail was recommended to them as a fun way to get into town (you can get more details from their website here).  Velo-rail is like a pump car that can be pedaled.  Five people can sit on the cars and, at any one time, two can pedal.

You ride down the hill through the countryside.  I'll let you in on a little secret though, it isn't exactly difficult cycling as gravity does a lot of the work for you so you are free to soak up the scenery. And just to put your mind at rest - you don't have to cycle up the hill as there is a train that takes you back up to your car at the end of the day.

Then as you get close to Étretat, the famous cliffs begin to appear behind the town .

Once you reach the station you walk down through the town to the beach.  The walk is lovely too as Étretat  is full of beautiful homes and gardens.

Love the shells decorating the front of this house
And a pretty Norman church

with a huge shell for holding holy water.

There are plenty of places to have lunch in town. We had a lovely sunny day so sat outside. I had some mussels which are traditional food for the area (they were delicious although a bit messy to eat).

After getting a bite to eat we headed down to the beach and walked up a trail to the top of the cliffs.  It was amazing, breath-taking, gorgeous...

We weren't the only ones to love Étretat - here is one of many pictures Monet painted there.

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  1. OMG! My mother and I are planning a trip to northern France for summer 2012. If I had any doubts before, they are gone now! What a lovely environment - the nature, the buildings, the food!! What wonderful memories for you.

  2. Lovely post. I loved Honfleur despite all the tourists

  3. What a wonderful report! We haven't made it to Étretat yet, but we can't wait to visit.

  4. That was fun! I want more. I will probably never get to France so I am enjoying "sharing" your adventure. But I think I will skip the Mussels...LOL Kit

  5. That looks like an incredible trip and so glad you decided to share these pictures with us. I look forward to seeing more of your fun adventures. Thank you so much for dropping by. I was so surprised that you found it. I didn't even know when it was going to go online.