Hi there! My name is Norina Ruzsa (@norinaround). In this travel article I would like to share with you my experiences in Etretat – a beautiful town on the north coast of France. But before I do so, allow me to introduce myself.
I’m a full-time travel content creator and influencer based in Budapest, Hungary. I grew up in a small but well-known city called Gyula. I have always been addicted to travelling. I guess this passion came from my love of dancing. We used to travel somewhere new every summer to dance at different festivals. I danced Hungarian folk for over 10 years.
Later on, during university, I worked in a children’s camp in the USA. After that I continued my life in Slovenia as an Erasmus student. When Instagram came on the scene, I started posting. At the beginning it was a gallery of my adventures for myself, friends and family. But then it turned into something special. Now my passion is to inspire others to travel!
A Wonderful Day Trip to Etretat
Visiting Etretat was an unexpected adventure as I had never heard of this place before. I visited Paris with my buddy Timi (@themacarongirl.travels) and we were searching for special day trip destinations near Paris. This is how she found Etretat. There was no question that we were going to visit.
We ended up spending half a day there and had a fantastic time. Etretat is a magical place. It’s all about feeling close to nature. We hiked around the surrounding cliffs and visited the beach as well. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation almost everything was closed in Etretat except for a confectionary shop where we could buy some delicious French sweets.
Next time we visit Paris, I’m sure that we will come back. There is a garden called Les Jardins d’Etretat with unique face sculptures that we wanted to explore. Unfortunately, it was closed at this time. That just gives us a great excuse to come back some day to see more of this beautiful town.
Highlight of our Trip – Porte d’Aval
For me the highlight of this place was seeing Porte d’Aval. This famous arch is carved from the beautiful white chalk cliffs of Etretat. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the arch enjoying the midday sun. This came after a year of not travelling and to be honest I loved every minute of it!
The sound of the sea was also breathtaking. It was amazing to hear the sounds while taking in such an incredible view. All in all, our trip to Etretat was fantastic as it fed my soul with lots of good energy and memories.
Best Things To Do in Etretat
Obviously, the first activity everyone to Etretat should experience is exploring the cliffs. Hiking there is fantastic! You feel so close to nature. It takes approximately one and a half hours to walk around the cliffs where you can see the highlight of Etretat – Porte d’Aval, a photographer’s dream!
Then I recommend exploring La Falaise d’Amont which is located north of Etretat. On top of these cliffs you can find Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Garde. There is also another arch to photograph – Porte d’Amont.
After spending some time hiking around the cliffs, taking in the rugged nature and capturing photos until your heart’s content – it’s time to wander around the little Etretat town. You can head to the local confectionary shops and try delicious sweets. Of course, once the COVID-19 situation is finished and the restrictions are lifted, you will be able to visit more places.
The next must-do experience is visiting Les Jardins d’Etretat. As mentioned before, this garden showcases stunning face sculptures and offers beautiful views of the cliffs and beach below. Make sure you do your research before coming to ensure Les Jardins d’Etretat is open to the public.
Visiting Etretat from Paris in a Day
Etretat is located two and a half hours drive (208 kilometers) from Paris. It’s the perfect place for a day trip to go see the white chalk cliffs and arches. If you start your day early in Paris – say around 7am – then you will be able to arrive before 9:30am for a full day of activities. I recommend visiting by car as for us it was the easiest way (especially during COVID-19).
I don’t know of any great hotels to stay in at Etretat. However, I can recommend some nice places in Paris like Maison Albar Hotels (Le Pont-Neuf), Pley Hotel and Hotel Elysees Union. The latter hotel is less expensive than the other two and offers rooms with views of the Eiffel Tower.
Need to Know Before you Go
If you are visiting Etretat from Paris be sure to start your trip early in the morning. Also, give yourself enough time to stop along the way as there are some beautiful small villages in the countryside between Paris and Etretat.
The weather was a bit windy for us but also sunny. So don’t forget your sunscreen, hair tie and blanket to use for a picnic. And of course bring your camera equipment – camera, drone, tripod and batteries. You will be taking many photos here because Etretat is just stunningly beautiful!