La Falaise d’Etretat, Normandy, France by Fabian Michelangeli

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While visiting friends in France, one afternoon I drove to Etretat in Normandy to hike along the beach trail. It was April and had been raining the whole week. Thus I was hoping for a cloud filled sky and a washed cliff. When I got to Etretat it was still drizzling; my friend gave me a lift to a trail head, somewhere near a beach called “les Tilleuls” about 4 miles from the village. As it was too close to the high tide I stayed on the upper cliff trail that for the most part follows the border.

A few years ago I got stranded at high tide and got wet in the middle of winter -very dangerous. The light rain stopped ten minutes after, giving way to beautifully clear sky. From up here the view is spectacular; beach after beach, cliff after cliff. When I got near the sea stacks and the arch, near the village, the sun was casting a golden hue over the white wall. I stopped for I don’t know how long, contemplating the magnificence of nature. Then I understood Claude Monet.

Tip: Hiking along the beach at the base of the white chalk cliffs is a fantastic experience. Apparently, it is now (understandably) prohibited. You can get a taste of it at “La Plage de Tilleuls”. Don’t miss it. Specially during week days and seasons other than summer when it is very crowded.

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