3 Days in Normandy: Deauville, Etretat, and Honfleur
Deauville, Etretat, and Honfleur
For several years, one of my continuous wishes was to make a road trip through France. But, there were always various reasons to postpone this trip. This summer we decided to go for a vacation together with my family. Actually, it’s been our tradition for a couple of years now. We were looking at Montenegro, Croatia, Portugal, Italy, even Turkey and Tunisia. For some reasons, France wasn’t on the list until the very last minute. Spontaneously, one week before we were supposed to meet up, we decided to go to France and make a road trip through its West Coast. We started and ended the trip in Paris, visiting Deauville, Etretat, Honfleur, Arcachon, Bordeaux, Biarritz, and San Sebastian on our way.
In this article, I will tell you about the first part of our trip – Normandy. When I was looking for the information to prepare myself, I could not find much. Here, I want to share useful tips, locations, and apps to use. Enjoy!
Deauville/Trouville Sur Mer
After we spent a day together in Paris, we rented a car and drove to Deauville. We rented an apartment through AirBnB, which is located in Trouville. Trouville is located across the bridge to Deauville. It has its own beach and it only takes 7 minutes to get to the other side of the bridge by car.
Deauville has one of the best beaches on the West Coast of France. It’s wide and ashy white. One of the beautiful things to see at this beach are the tides. They move up and down twice a day, the distance is about a kilometer.
After we exercised at the beach, we decided to go for a dinner. By our AirBnB host we got a recommendation of this place – Les Vapeurs in Trouville-sur-Mer. It ended up being a little touristy, offering menus in multiple languages, but the food was surprisingly good. We tried prawns and mussels, following up with some local red wine.
The rest of our time in Deauville, we spent walking through the cute narrow streets, resting at the beach, and snacking in local bars. In the afternoon of our second day, we headed for a sunset at the Etretat Cliffs.
The trip from Deauville to Etretat has a distance of 62km, however, takes about 1.5 hours by car. From what I noticed, it is hard to find a bus or a direct train, and the best option is to travel by car. The road is narrow, fitting only one car in many places, so be very careful. The road tolls cost about 10 euros in total, however using the Michellin app, you can plan a route avoiding them.
Etretat Cliffs have been featured in Instagram accounts of most of the current bloggers, but this doesn't make them less fascinating. We arrived at 7pm, exactly at the time the garden (with those bubble faces) closed. We headed directly to the beach, which was full of little stones and rocks, almost impossible to walk barefoot. Nevertheless, it was insanely beautiful, we stayed to catch the last bits of the burning sun.
The cliffs are surrounding the beach. We had a lot of hiking routes to choose from. We chose the fastest one, which was quite steep, and therefore fast. It took us 10 minutes walking up before we could observe the fascinating views. It was breathtaking.
We arranged a quick picnic (as the sun was setting quickly), having some local wine, cheese, pate, and bread, which we bought on our way. Visiting Etretat is totally worth it. I would recommend even staying there for a couple of nights, getting enough of hikes and breathtaking views.
Honfleur was a slight detour on our way to Etretat. We heard a lot about this place and got plenty of recommendations to go there. It is located just 20 minutes away by car from Deauville, offering plenty of places to eat and nice views of the sea.
Honfleur turned out to be a very touristy little town. I'm pretty sure in winter it is fascinating, offering a real fairytale. However, during the high-season, it is almost impossible to enjoy those little streets and local authentic food. Due to thousands of tourists, we ran out of the center, looking for a local coffee place, which we found. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name, but this place is located at the exit of the town. It offers a big variety of tea and decent coffee. We tried freshly made cakes and tartlets, I also tried some local cider. In general, Honfleur is perfect for a short coffee break, but in high season - nothing more. At least, for those who appreciate authenticity and peace.
This was the first part of our trip. In the next posts, I will tell you about Bordeaux, Arcachon, looking for good Chateux, and escaping to Spain.
Stay tuned, and if you have any questions about these three places, ask in the comments!
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