If the buzz and pollution of downtown Paris is taking a toll on you, maybe it’s time for a getaway and there really is no better place than Etretat. Perhaps Deauville as quite a few Parisians tend to go there but I’ve never been so I can’t say.
This charming location, though, is a two and a half hour drive from Paris so you could potentially do a day trip but having a full two days is strongly advised if you don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel!
You can either stay at a hotel or you can go camping at Yport which is literally just a 20-25 minute drive away from Etretat. There are several campsites gathered in one area that cost less than 20€ a night. Of course you would need to bring your own tent, camping car, inflatable bed etc but that’s all part of the fun! You also get to wake up to a spectacular view in the morning!
One thing I would not advise, however, is dining at Le Petit Saint Pierre which boasts a fancy terrasse. We tried the mussels, the shrimps and the whelks and were extremely disappointed by the quality of their seafood. Other customers had also complained about the mussels, to which the waitress apologised and replied, “It’s not the season for them right now so it’s very difficult to find good ones.”
Meanwhile, in Etretat at La Flottille, they said completely the opposite and highly recommended the mussels. The food was impeccable and the service likewise!
Overall, Etretat is divine. Both times I went, there were magnificent sunsets that bathed the entire seaside town in hues of orange, pink and violet. Even the sound of the waves are different in Etretat as the beach is mainly made up of pebbles so each time the ocean retreats, you hear the crunching sound of thousands of pebbles; oddly calming but not pleasant to walk on barefoot.
Some interesting facts about Etretat: many people come here to commit suicide and a famous robber once hid his treasures in one of these caves. This doesn’t stop the hoards of holiday goers each year and it didn’t stop Monet from banging out a gorgeous masterpiece of Etretat back in 1883!