The memorable Cliffs of Etretat which inspired painters and novelists can be reached on foot following the GR 21 hiking path which connects Le Havre with Le Treport. Traveling to Etretat is easiest by bus since there are no direct train connections. From Le Havre a bus ride can take up to 45 minutes. Traveling to Etretat from the capital city, Paris the picturesque cliffs are 180 kilometers away.
Cliffs of Étretat
Current weather nearby
Stord / Soerstokken
- Clear sky
- Temperature: 17 °C
- Wind: West-Southwest, 9.3 km/h
- Pressure: 1017 hPa
- Rel. Humidity: 55 %
- Visibility: 10 km
72.8 km West-Southwest
Tue, 06/18/2013 - 16:50
Probably the most photographed spot in France, the eroded formations called the Cliffs of Etretat have been classified as a Site of Major National Importance and are among the most visited attractions in Upper Normandy. Painted at sunset, at night, after or during the storm this natural panorama on the Celtic Sea coast has been made famous by Monet, Boudin or Courbet. Associated mostly with a galvanizing scenery, the Cliffs of Etretat also bear a drop of mystery with the disappearance of a French biplane in the 1920s.
Sculpted Arches and a Pointed ''Needle''
Located in Northern France next to the commune with the same name, the Cliffs of Etretat are part of the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region. The small resort town with a population of almost 1600 combines both farming and tourism gaining attention ever since the 19th century. Etretat is a former fishing village with an ideal position next to the sea and an elevation of up to 102 meters (335 feet). The limestone formations eroded by wind and waves into three arches and the so called pointed ''needle'' are as high as 70 meters. Two out of the three arches, the Port d'Aval and the Port d'Amont can be seen as you stroll through the small town with an artistic feel. The Manneport is the biggest curved structure but its majestic shape can not be spotted from the relaxed town.
Impressive, Mysterious and Nostalgic
Painting the Cliffs of Etretat the classic impressionist painter Claude Monet was trying to animate his canvas with the emotion he felt observing his muse. He believed that his masterpiece can offer the same feel as the natural site of Etretat only by capturing the ever changing nature of color and light. With oil paintings like ''The Cliffs at Etretat'' (1885) and ''The Cliff, Etretat, Sunset'' (1883) Monet managed to include the French destination into the delicate sphere of art.
From colorful canvases to a destination similar to the Bermuda Triangle, the Cliffs of Etretat were perceived as more than a nostalgic place after the mysterious disappearance of the French biplane ''The White Bird''. In the attempt of a non stop flight from Paris to New York, L'Oseau Blanc was last spotted at the Cliffs of Etretat.
How to Paint your Own Picture
The famous cliffs and the natural surroundings attract the ones looking for the sense of calm and the strike of inspiration. Visiting here, the old local market can remind you of the medieval times, the Gothic Notre Dame Church enhances the harmony of the small town and the special prepared crepes will make you crave for more.
Feel the emotions which inspired artists to portray the Cliffs of Etretat and allow this French destination to add color to your next vacation.