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FRANCE | NORMANDY: Etretat – Honfleur – Bayeux – DDay

We resume our journey along the splendid cliffs overlooking the English Channel. Just about 20 minutes from Yport we find our next home for one night: Etretat.

We arrive in the early afternoon when the sun shines on the beach framed by the cliffs that characterize the Alabaster Coast. The seaside town is in turmoil, the small center full of bars and restaurants is crowded with tourists; We leave our luggage at the elegant La Villa 10 hotel to begin our patrol tour.

Etretat

We walk up a small road that leads us uphill to the entrance of Les Jardins d’Etretat, a magical place dedicated to art and naturalistic imagination from which it is possible to observe the cliffs of Aval, the famous Aguille and the silver roofs of the village. We leave the Gardens behind to continue with a walk on the pristine cliff top where the cows graze enjoying the sunlight, the splendid view and clean air. At the top of the cliff, leading the way, is the Nordic Church of Notre Dame de la Garde. This same panorama caught the attention of Monet and Matisse who both immortalized it in their paintings.

Summer is cool on the beach of Etretat, we return there for a snack overlooking the sea and the inevitable walk on the large pebbles that characterize it. Wearing our denim jackets, we relax by observing the bravest bathing in the frozen water and, when the sun begins to go down, we push ourselves towards the elephant carved into the cliff to observe it closely.

The wind and the water have shaped the cliffs in wonderful ways, the low tide has made the usual space on the beach so one can have a closer look to the marine fauna that has come out into the open. The temperature slowly drops as the sunrays pass through the famous trou à l’homme (the hole) and highlight the streaks on the stone, creating a unique atmosphere.

There is nothing left to do but stay along the promenade to observe the arrival of the evening and its splendid sunset in warm tones. The beach begins to empty and glows with a warm light while the sky turns orange and pink. A wonderful sight!

In the cold waters of the Channel there is only the trampoline rocked by the waves and the wind, the same one that a few hours earlier – the little ones – used to dive.

We find a place in the first restaurant that allows us to calmly watch the evening go down while we have dinner before it gets late and the cold wind picks up.

Our warm bed awaits us like a restful sleep before leaving the next morning.

Honfelur

We travel for 46 km (about an hour) to reach the small village of Honfleur. On our way we cross the sea along the 2141 meters of the longest bridge in France: the Normandy Bridge.

Honfleur is a real gem of small colored houses and a maze of alleys that run around the old port crowded with boats and small boats.

The fishing town overlooking the Seine estuary has enchanted travelers and painters, thus becoming a city of art with many small galleries, restaurants and boutiques that – even today – make it an unmissable destination for those exploring the beauties of Normandy.

Una passeggiata tra le stradine acciottolate, tra le facciate a graticcio e un paio di morsi a delle madeleine appena sfornate e siamo pronti a ripartire. 

A few hours will be enough to savor the still lively atmosphere of this ancient port.

Bayeux

Just over an hour from here is the second stage of the day: Bayeux.

The pretty town, famous for lace, porcelain and the Bayeux Tapestry embroidered over 1000 years ago, retains a rich medieval heritage and its center is a small jewel that allows visitors to step back in time.

The elegant Notre Dame Cathedral dominates the city center which opens up between the main street and the small streets overlooked by colorfully colored doors, restaurants and small shops. We order bagels at the tables of the picturesque Chez Paulette and we find ourselves in the colorful 60s.

The sun warms Bayeux and highlights all the elegance of this small town, elegantly preserved and with a very long history.

Omaha Beach / D-Day

Before reaching our home for two nights, Caen, we cannot miss the opportunity to see the famous D-Day beaches up close.

The afternoon sun is not enough to warm the temperatures because on the beach of Omaha beach – where parts of the tanks are still kept on the sand – the wind blows strongly.

Despite the natural beauty it is impossible to remain impassive in front of the dramatic and glorious history that has taken place in these places.

We continue by car to also visit the American cemetery where an infinite expanse of white crosses expands, aiming straight at the windy beaches overlooking the ocean.

As the evening falls, we head to Caen where we will spend two nights as guests in the chic attic of the B&B: Clos Saint Martin.

We stroll through the streets of the center illuminated by the sunset and look for a place to dine to enjoy a romantic evening.

NEXT STOP > Caen > The house of Dior > Mont Saint Michel > Giverny

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