Hey friends. Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend.
When I was in Europe a few weeks ago, I got to meet up with my friend Caitlin a few different times over the course of my trip. She lives in Berlin so we don’t get to see each other as often as I’d like, but I can always guarantee it will be an amazing adventure whenever the two of us travel lovers get together! To bookmark the end of an incredible journey, she joined me for road-trip through some of the most beautiful bits of north-western France. Our first stop? Étretat.
Before I dive into this destination, let me caveat by saying my goal for this road-trip that Caitlin and I embarked. There are tons beautiful destinations near Paris to visit, and we wanted to showcase them. Don’t get me wrong- Paris is an incredible city (one of my very favorite in the world). But I’ve learned that smaller, more remote destinations offer such a unique + special experience that I believe is really valuable for travelers. So when you find yourself booking tips to the “heavy hitter” cities, my hope is that you’ll find a day or two to venture out to some other, less “popular” destinations.
Étretat was made famous when impressionist painters like Monet captured the seaside landscape on canvas. Today, its three natural arches and white chalk cliffs that soar high above the sea attract visitors from all over the world. It wasn’t until one rainy afternoon in Berlin when we started scheming up this trip that I even knew Étretat existed (I think one of us found a photo of the arches on Pinterest) but it didn’t take long for us to commit to visiting this breathtaking coastal town.
Étretat is a popular day-trip destination for tourists visiting the D-day beaches, thus your average visitor won’t spend much time here (we stayed for one night). The town itself is quite small, though offering plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from no matter the length of your stay. But it goes without saying the real showstopper of any visit here is the natural landscape. One of our favorite parts of this trip was hiking to Falaise d'Etretat (a giant archway lurking over the sea and Chemin des Douaniers) and taking in the breathtaking scenery.
We stayed at Domain Saint Clair: an idyllic Anglo-Norman style castle from the nineteenth century that’s nestled in a picturesque park overlooking the cliffs and the sea. While we only stayed in Étretat for one night, Domain Saint Clair showed me I could easily spend a week retreating, relaxing and embracing the French “art of living” where people know how to take their time. It’s an ideal place to relax, read, have a drink, play a game of cards or just listen to the crackling fire in the hearth on winter days. Overall, this place offers a tranquil energy that feels like you’re in a novel and seems to soothe the soul.
We loved the beautiful design of the rooms, the incredible food served at the restaurant, the hospitable staff that made our stay unforgettable and most importantly, the stunning views.
Overall, Étretat is one of those locations where you simply feel like you're in another world and I highly recommend that you pay a visit yourself. As I said before, we drove here from Paris (only 2.5 hours by car) so it's very easy to do. Just be sure to plan ahead for tolls, because they are expensive in France (we spent ~€40 just from Paris to Étretat).
Want to know some other destinations you should add to this road trip? Stay tuned, because Caitlin and I hit 2 more beautiful spots that I'll be recapping soon!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and feel free to ask any questions about Étretat in the comments below!