Alphonse Karr, Guy de Maupassant, Maurice Leblanc, Victor Hugo, André Gide, Isabey, Corot, Courbet, Monet, Boudin, Jules Michelet, Félix Faure, Massenet, René Coty, Jérôme Bonaparte, Luc Besson... all have been attracted by Etretat, his resort and its spectacular landscape.
Although having suffered from WWII bombing, Etretat conserved its charms with architecture style originating centuries ago.
Some houses are typically half-timbered and thatched.
It means the houses have a roof with dry vegetation functioning as insulation. It is a very old roofing method.
Half-timbered architecture is very common in France but you will find a lot more of them in Haute-Normandie, although WWII saw many historic urban centres destroyed and replaced by concrete.
Stone architecture is not uncommon in Normandy. Anglo-Normand style can be found in Etretat.
Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque are obviously present in the resort.
Typical walls made of pebbles.
The market is actually not that old. This place was first occupied by a farm, a puddle, a channel and a small bridge.The puddle was filled in after heavy rains. Wooden huts were built and it became the marketplace.
It is not before 1926 that the market was built. It now shelters shops.
Manoir de la Salamandre
Do not be fooled by this beautiful mansion. It was not built in situ but imported piece by piece from Lisieux. And apparently it is not even its real name. This said, its architecture is amazing.
Check the agenda to know when markets are held.
Arsène Lupin is a fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise created in 1905 by French writer Maurice Leblanc.
Leblanc had a house in Etretat, now a museum called Le Clôs Lupin. There, Arsène Lupin will be your guide through an audioguide. It is a great way to discover the world of the author.
The seafront is disfigured by ugly concrete buildings but the beach is really nice and the view amazing.
Notre-Dame de la Garde
The original chapel was destroyed in 1942 and a new one was built and inaugurated in 1950.
There are some fantastic views from up there.
The Etretat Chalk Complex includes three natural arches and a pointed formation called L'Aiguille (Needle) and rising 70 metres above sea.
The Porte d'Aval, and the Porte d'Amont are visible from the town, while the third arch, the Manneporte, is not.
There are stunning walks and views along the cliff tops.
Be very careful when walking under the cliffs. Stay as far as possible from them to avoid accidents. Rocks are constantly falling. Read the signs. They are not there for decoration.
Also, always check tide schedules, especially when walking though the passage "Le Trou à l 'Homme".
Taking pebbles is strictly forbidden as they protect the coastline from erosion.
There are caves made by Germans during WWII all along the coastline. Some can be visited (Le Treport has a very interesting one). Most of them are not open due to instability. Do not go explore them. It is very dangerous. Chalk is very fragile.
Etretat is a very touristy place. Prices are high but it is possible to find some nice souvenirs. There are beautiful magnets and funny mugs in this shop.