From gray pebbles on the beach to white limestone cliffs of chalk, through the three famous natural arches that are Porte d'Amont, Porte d'Aval and the Manne porte, the city of Etretat has all to please.
History of Etretat
Etretat has already been occupied since ancient times. The hypothesis assumes that these occupants were linked to Romans. Indeed, remains of a Roman civilization have been found such as coins, vases, a cemetery or even an aqueduct. Later, Etretat passes under several authorities: the dukes of Normandy, the abbey of Fecamp, Louis XIV, Monsieur de Grandval, etc. These personalities have "exploited" the commune, it is twice submerged by the waters. Formerly a fishing village, Etretat is abandoned by its occupants, because the nineteenth century will make it more than a small town. Etretat evolved a lot to become a seaside resort, to the point where the fishermen left the place to make room for countless holidaymakers who began to flock there or decided to stay and trade fishing nets against more tourist activities.
Indeed, after 1843 (following numerous storms, torrents of mud, floods despite the existence of a lock), Etretat began its seaside activities. The city is then linked to others by horse-drawn omnibus. The roads to Fécamp and Le Havre are improved. A spa building project is being implemented under Napoleon III and three of his friends, funded by musicians from the Paris Opera. In the same vision, villas are built, the village itself is set up using the famous flint pebbles adorning the beaches. The more Etretat is known, the more artists build a residence in the heart of the city. And the more frequent it is, the more the writers have advertised in their works. The wars of the following century, however, will upset the city.
In the First War, Etretat became a rear base and a general hospital of British armies earlier, then American troops. After this first confrontation, living conditions and roads improved in Etretat thus favoring tourism. But the Second War will turn this growth upside down: many battles will take place in front of Etretat. The city will be the scene of several wrecks of warships. Following the war, the seaside village must undergo a major metamorphosis. The old villas that were looted are mostly razed, the seafront is rebuilt mainly in concrete. To trace these stories, we can provide a day rental service.
Today, Etretat is a beautiful tourist place known for its arches and white cliffs. These are the main interests of tourists, including several fan of the gentleman-burglar who come to elucidate the mysteries that their character is confronted in one of his adventures, in the Aiguille hollow. In the city center, you can still see some artist residences, remnants of the world wars but also old traditional houses. There are also old buildings that have been spared by the various conflicts that destroyed the city, such as the Couvert market, the Château des Aygues, the villa La Guillette.
The fishing traditionally practiced there is no longer the case today, although the fishermen are always present, especially in the dark of the night, when the tourists give them a little room to install their fishing rod. It is tourism, above all, that drives the economy in Etretat. Many of the old buildings and old villas of summer visitors have been converted into guesthouses or hotels to accommodate the nearly 1 to 2 million travelers who come to eat in the calm of Etretat each year. This is the case, for example, of the Residence Manoir de la Salamandre.
The beach of Etretat is today a walking place, a dike has been specially designed for this purpose. The pebbles that run along it have an aesthetic role, but do not facilitate walks. Our destination is essentially from the airport to the hotel, but we can take you to see the must-see places in Étretat.
What to visit in Etretat?
The Downstream Cliff
The Aval Cliff is a large natural flint arcade with an 80-meter high needle, visible when you are on the waterfront. It is accessible via a 180-step stone staircase, which will take about a quarter of time to cross. Once at the top of the steps, you will have a breathtaking view of the village of Etretat and the cliff of Amont. The film lovers will surely have recognized it as the background of several scenes of the film Arsène Lupine of Jean Paul Salome.
Cliff of Amont
It is the smallest of the famous arches of Etretat. It is to the right of the sea. It can be accessed by three paths. The first is behind the Roches Blanches building, where a small passage leads to the top. The second is located on the Mont's coast. The third begins on the beach at the bottom by taking the stairs of the Cauldron. In any case, taking one path or the other, you will know that you have arrived at the top if you come to see the old building dedicated to the sailors that is the Chapel Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. From the top of the upstream cliff, you will have a panorama of Etretat and the Aval Cliff.
It is a splendid half-timbered house built in 1850 with a French style garden surrounding it. This place belonged to the author of the adventures of Arsene Lupine, the writer Maurice Leblanc. Before he bought it, the place was called the Sphinx. Then he renamed him in honor of his character and the flowers he planted there, the lupins. From 1999 until today, the Clos Lupine is a museum dedicated to the famous character. Original photos, paintings, writings of the writer are exposed. Effects that belonged to Arsène Lupine, as well as clothes are also part of the objects presented.
The Old Market
Inescapable place of the life of the inhabitants of Etretat, the Old Market is as much for the visitors. With a belfry, carved beams, its wooden structure contains various shops that offer postcards, small souvenirs, craft items. The roof is particularly well preserved, with its frame dating from the Middle Ages. Strolling through its small alleys gives the impression of taking a trip back in time. Before leaving Etretat, go there to buy something to remind you of your stay!
The beach of Etretat
Etretat is still a seaside resort today. Between the cliffs of Amont on the right and Aval on the left, the pebble beach stretches for one kilometer inviting the walkers to ricochet. A dike-walk along the seaside, it is from this dike that we arrive at the staircase of 180 steps that leads to the top of the Aval. During your stay, know that we offer you a professional transfer service of high quality.
Request a private car service to go to Etretat
Etretat is a real tourist trap, national as international. The city is 86.8 km from Notre Dame de Rouen Cathedral and 28.1 km from André Malraux Museum of Modern Art. The distance to CDG Airport is 224.2 km and Orly Airport is 218.4 km away.