Thursday, June 30, 2016

Balade Nautique a Etretat

Saturday morning I was feeling adventurous. I took the 8 am bus to the fishing town of Fecamp. A short ride and a long walk to the beautiful boat basin for a 2-hour BOAT RIDE around the cliffs (les Falaises) offered by BALADE NAUTIQUE A ETRETAT (29.50€).You must reserve ahead btw.
Beautiful weather too
Our speed boat. There were 8 of us plus guide Stephane.
The 2-hour lecture is in French with translation blow-by-blow provided.
Initially the ride to Etretat was Very choppy. I would have swum to shore if it wasn't for my iPad and paintbox. I don't ride ferris wheels either.
Fortunately things calmed down and I decided to hang in there.
The views are even more spectacular from the boat than from the beach. The associated stories are endless - pirates, black market dealings, Marie-Antoinette required oysters regularly from the fresh water rivulets that stream down the cliffs(no longer available), ship-wrecked sailors survived in its natural caves, their use during the WW II occupation.The cliffs go back as far as B.C.
George Washington? Some cliffs have the profile of elephants.
Every promontory has a name and stories attached. Altogether a terrific experience, especially if you have good sea legs and like ferris wheels.
By our return we were all starving for plates of fruit de mer. Chez Nounout was recommended (32€).
A wander around Fecamp led me up to the Benedictine Palais..closed till 2 or I would have checked out the brandy tour. Still you could picnic in its parks if you hadn't already stuffed yourself with seafood.
Every morning I ate this eggy flan plus hot chocolate for breakfast from the patisserie open at 6:30. Delish except I naively took it down to the beach to look at the cliffs, something one feels compelled to do at all times of the day. Just me and my flan at 7 am. And the gulls (golands). They spotted me, grabbed my flan and ate it for their own breakfast in seconds. Back to the patisserie for another.
Also tempting is the chapel on the opposite cliff.
Take the little train up and down for 6€
Or better yet walk down the well-defined path for more delightful views.
Lunch Of another fruit de mer in a cafe/restaurant along the beach (19.50). Don't get the over-priced trifle but rather an ice cream from the hut further along the beach. I learned to love bulots (welks or sea snails) in the upper left of my plate next to the fab mayo. They taste like clams and are chewy.
Back in my hotel room. I seem to be able to set up a studio in a wink of an eye.
My 14th century hotel, La Residence Salamandre. 54€ a night. I never found the showers, just ran to the pool soon as I returned to Paris..ahem.
The Normande architecture is stunning. Walking around town is great fun.
Definitely wear something stripped no matter your size. Etretat isn't a fancy place. Lots of families and dogs. I plan to return. You should too!
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  1. What lovely weather accompanied your Etratat stay! Carol, I love the looks of your watercolor paintings...bravo to you for being able to set up a touring studio so quickly.

    Your hotel reminds me a little of a place I stayed in Ludlow, UK. The old town architecture looks sooo beautiful. xo

  2. It looks so beautiful..what a fun cracked me up w/ swimming to shore if not for your Ipad and paintbox:)I love the way your paintings are looking.
    And your studio set up.

    1. Thanks! Why is it easier to paint away from home? Less distractions?

  3. Kathleen H10:11 AM


    I will dream of Etretat...

  4. I don't like ferris wheels and sea legs are questionable in choppy water but seeing this famous area by water must be memorable. Love your watercolors.

  5. Kathleen12:28 PM

    Your pictures of Etretat were just like going there. I’ve never been to France but I felt like I just went to Etretat.

  6. Rich and C.12:29 PM

    We're planning to visit there next year. Thanks for the great pics. W

  7. Lovely! Ah... that fruit de mer too!
    Travel on.

  8. Your watercolors are so charming & the seafood platters look so delicous - it really makes me want to visit.

  9. Carol - I was fortunate to be on a tour which took me to Etratat and inside the Benedictine flamboyant Gothic building at Fecamp. It is such an interesting undiscovered area and I have fond memories of my visit. We were there on Armistice Day November 11 and the local celebration was very touching. The French who live in that area have never forgotten that the Americans were the ones who rescued them from the Germans in World War II. They were very gracious and even invited us to their celebration in the evening. Unfortunately, we were back on the bus in an hour or two.
    I, in fact, did buy a cream and navy striped shirt as a gift for my cousin. You can't not find stripes everywhere there.
    I did not get the chance to take the speedboat, etc. And I'm not sure how my stomach would have survived the boat trip. But I am so lucky to have seen that part of France. And I'd love to go back.

    1. Luckily I had some Vichy pastilles in my pocket..they settled the unsettled perfectly.

  10. Deb K1:33 PM

    The tour at Benedictine monastery was fabulous; especially the spice rooms

  11. Ruth S1:38 PM

    It's now on my list! Wonderful!

  12. Loved that house with the turret and balconies. Should have a window seat somewhere and a secret door and my childhood dreams are fulfilled. Along with a striped shirt and polka dot boots.

  13. Leslie in Oregon9:13 PM

    I received two fascinating posts about Étretat today: yours and Ellie O'Connell's (at Have Some Decorum). To take a look at Ellie's post, go to:

  14. Love your hotel studio! Looks like a great plan for the perfect dose of coastal air and inspiration. The seafood platters are calling me. Poor you with the seagulls and your flan - sounds like a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds! Next time we go we must take that boat trip. Looks great!

  15. The rocks look beautiful from the sea and the beach vantage points, Carol.
    The food looks delicious and your watercolors are beautifully done - nice that you did several!


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