In this installment of our Alphabet series, let’s take a quick trip to the Upper Normandy Coast of Northern France.
After a quick stop at the Bayeux Saturday Market, we jumped into our rental car and headed for the coast. We arrived into Étretat a couple of hours later and found parking on the outskirts of the town proper. The town was heaving with people.
Lunch was at Le Romain d’Etretat Restaurant Pizzéria where my boyfriend ordered the Bolognese (he’s nothing if not predictable) while I enjoyed pizza.
The only set-in-stone plans we had while in Étretat were to visit the Jardin d’Etretat. Because the car was parked on the other side of town, we’d have to climb an hill to reach the gardens. I wasn’t looking forward to it if I’m being honest. And had I known that I’d almost draw my last breath on that hill I’d probably have avoided it all together.
The walk was steep from the start, and felt neverending. Half way up, gasping for air, I moved to the side to catch my breath and let others pass.
Sure, the views were nice but I wasn’t yet able to really appreciate them. We still had more to climb. And so we continued.
Finally we reached the top and I collapsed into the tall grass in relief. After gaining my composure, the views almost took my breath away again. They were stunning, and the soft cool breeze was perfect after my near death experience.
These white chalk cliffs have been featured by several famous painters, most notably Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet.
Here’s a photo of Monsieur Courbet’s painting, The Cliffs at Étretat, that I took at Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Selfie time before we head to the gardens.
After we visited Jardin d’Etretat, we decided to take a different route back down to town and to the car, which consisted of quiet lanes and almost no traffic.
I’m fairly certain our return route was twice as long as the way we’d come up the hill, but the peace and solitude was worth it.
Have you been to Étretat? If so, what did you think?