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This post about traveling from Paris to Étretat was last updated on the 22nd of August 2022 by Lena
Are you planning to take a trip from Paris to Étretat, but are not entirely sure how to get there and what to do in Étretat in the first place? Read on because you found THE Paris to Étretat guide that you will ever need!
No matter if you are longing for a fresh sea breeze during the hot Parisian summer, or just want to enjoy an outdoor and nature escape from Paris, Étretat has you covered! Traveling from Paris to Étretat is easy and Étretat is equally great for a day trip, but also an excellent weekend getaway from Paris. Trust me, I did this trip around 10 times already, and I am already planning No.11.
You are hesitant about a trip from Paris to Étretat? Get inspired by these articles:
- Quick Weekend Guide to Bordeaux, St.Émilion & Arcachon
- 21 Best Day Trips by Train from Paris
- 12 amazing Weekend Getaways from Paris by Train!
Where is Étretat?
If you want to spend time by the sea, you should head to Étretat. The little coastal village lies just 200 km northwest of Paris and is one of the closest towns by the sea that you can reach from Paris. Click here to see if rental cars are available for your travel dates!
Luckily, Étretat is not only close to Paris, but it’s also a gorgeous destination. It’s right on the magical Alabaster Coast in Normandy and absolutely worth a day trip from Paris. It is even considered one of the best cities to visit in France, and I couldn’t agree more.
What is Étretat famous for?
Even though Étretat is indeed just a little village by the sea, it is one of Paris’s most popular day-trip destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, it is one of the destinations, that is rather visited by Parisians and French travelers, and less by foreign tourists that are staying in Paris for a few days.
But what has Étretat that attracting so many visitors each day? There are many reasons why visiting Étretat is worth it.
… for the beautiful white chalk cliffs of Étretat
The Alabaster Coast is well-known for its white chalk cliffs, and Étretat lays just in a recess between rock formations. It is breathtaking scenery, with white cliffs rising 70 m (ca. 230 feet) high above both sides of town.
… for inspiring many famous impressionists painters
Normandy is a beautiful region and acted as a strong source of inspiration for many painters. Hence, it’s not surprising, that the distinct cliff formations in Étretat provided a popular motive. Claude Monet is probably the most famous impressionist, that was drawn to these majestic cliffs.
Tip: If you are traveling to Étretat by car, Giverny lays just on the way! It’s where Monet lived most of his life, and you can visit the famous garden with the waterlily pond.
… for the Oysters of the Queen
Marie Antoinette had more than a soft spot for oysters and loved especially those from Étretat. Luckily, the fisher village was just close enough to deliver fresh oysters every day. The ruins of the oyster park are uncovered at low tide, and you can set off exploring them.
… and of course for Arsène Lupin
If you are a fan of TV series, you are probably familiar with the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin, the protagonist of the very successful Netflix series Lupin from 2021. Parts of the first season were filmed in Étretat, mainly because the writer of the original books, Maurice Leblanc, originated in the region.
Top 5 things to do when traveling from Paris to Étretat
You can visit Étretat and spend a laid-back day on the beach. Enjoy ice cream and crêpes, have a stroll in town, or maybe go for a splash, and by the end of the day return to Paris and have spent a perfectly fine day. OR: you can fill your days with some top activities in Étretat!
1. Admire the white cliffs of Étretat
The most prominent features of Étretat on the Alabaster Coast are the steep white chalk cliffs that are conceding the village. Apart from being a beautiful photo motive, they are great for short as well as long hikes.
Small leisure hikes in Étretat
The cliffs on both sides of Étretat are easily accessible. A short hiking trail is leading up the cliffs, and even inexperienced hikers with no particular gear can enjoy the walk. Some parts of the trail are even just stairs, so totally suitable for families with kids.
Long hikes in Étretat
The Alabaster Coast is a wonderful place to go for longer hikes as well. You can even hike along the entire coastline, 186 km from Le Havre to Le Treport!
However, if you are not up for a multiday hike in Normandy, there are still options for hikes that fit into a day trip to Étretat.
The best option is to take a circuit hike that starts right on the left-hand cliff. The one that is suggested here covers 8.6 km and is easily done on a day trip. Alternatively, you could also just hike up along the cliff until the next village – Yport, 20 km come and return.
2. Visit the Jardins d’Étretat
Buy your tickets for the garden here
This amazing neo-futuristic garden on top of the cliff of Étretat is well worth the visit. Inspired by Norman nature, the architect Alexander Grivko created the garden in 7 different sections, each dedicated to different aspects of the region. The garden opened in 2017 to the public and received the European Garden Award in 2019/2020.
3. Enjoy a day by the beach
Spending time by the sea is certainly not a bad choice. Especially not in Étretat. The tides are uncovering secret ancient areas and inviting for exploration. Étretat has no sandy beach though, it’s rather pebbles that are extremely uncomfortable to walk on with naked feet.
4. Follow the tracks of Arsène Lupin
Knowing that the creator of Lupin is originally from Étretat, it’s not surprising to find a Maurice Leblanc Museum in the village.
If you plan to extend your day trip to Étretat to an overnight trip, check if the Detective Hotel is available! It is a very original Hotel honoring Maurice Leblanc and Lupin but has also all kinds of themed rooms: Colombo, Sherlock Holmes, just to name a few.
5. Immerse yourself in the local food culture
One thing that I really like about France is that every region has its very own specialty, which is served and celebrated in every shop and restaurant.
Normandy is of course no exception. The region is overall famous for delicious cheeses and apples, in all shapes and forms. Make sure to stock up on it before heading back to Paris.
When eating out, you should make sure to eat some of the following, though:
Crêpes and Galettes
The very thin pancakes are a typical thing to eat when in Normandy, even though you get them all over France. The sweet type is usually called Crêpes, while the savory version made with buckwheat flour is often filled with cheese and cold cuts.
Fries with mussels are a specialty in the north of France, but also in Belgium. It’s a typical dish to eat in Normandy. The most classical version comes with wine, butter, parsley, and onion topping. However, you can order your mussels as well with Camembert, cream and curry sauce, and beer sauce, just to name a few.
Cider and Calvados
As the region is famous for apples, it’s not surprising that Normandy is the source of Cider and Calvados. Cider is a light alcoholic drink that is served in bowls and fits perfectly with Galette and Crêpes. Calvados – named after a department in the Normandy region – is a strong liqueur, mostly from apples, but sometimes also made from pears.
When is the best time to visit Étretat from Paris?
Étretat is an extremely popular destination for day trips and weekend trips from Paris. Paris is just a couple of hours away, and many Parisians are using this proximity for a few relaxed hours by the sea. Hence, Étretat can become extremely packed on the weekend, especially of course in the warmer months, but even in winter.
My experience: I traveled from Paris to Étretat around 5 times, in summer, but as well in winter. Every time on the weekend. It was, of course, full and with quite some traffic, but we always found a parking place and a seat in a restaurant. However, if you prefer a deserted beach and some solitude, avoid the weekend and/ or arrive as early as possible.
Based on my experience, there is no time or season where you should avoid Étretat. But keep in mind that it often rains in Normandy, and it’s cold in winter. However, the weather in Etretat tends to be milder – yet more humid – than in Paris.
How to travel from Paris to Étretat?
It’s often difficult to decide which is the best way to get to Étretat because, whether you are renting a car or taking the bus or train, all have their pros and cons. Read on to find a quick overview:
Independent: Visit Étretat by car
Compare car rental prices here to score the best rate!
As Étretat is really not too far from Paris, the easiest is to rent a car in Paris and drive the 2h distance by yourself. This allows you as well to take a short stop in Rouen or to explore more of the coastline in Normandy. You can use the form below to compare rates for car rentals in Paris:
Just know that the highway is not free. You can expect to pay around €40 for the round trip.
Parking Étretat: Where to park in Étretat?
As mentioned before, Étretat can be pretty packed on weekends. As most visitors arrive by car, finding a parking spot in the city center can be tough. However, just outside the city are many parking places, and it is really just a short walk to the center.
If you see that the sides of the streets are getting used as parking spots, don’t bother to drive down until town, but find a place outside. If you drive into town, you will be just stuck in traffic and won’t find a place anyway. Just park alongside the street for free.
It allows you to save time, and you get the opportunity to enjoy a walk through the city before heading to the beach.
Budget-friendly: Visit Étretat by bus
Click here to reserve your bus tickets
If you would rather not rent a car to drive to Étretat, you can also take a bus from Paris to Normandy. The Flixbus from La Defense (west of Paris) takes around 3.5h and prices start at €25 roundtrip.
Important: direct busses run mostly on the weekend, especially during the low season. If you plan to head out to Étretat for 1 day only, you might run out of time when traveling by bus because the earliest arrival in Étretat will be 11:50, and you need to catch the latest bus back to Paris at 16:45.
Think about extending your trip by making it a weekend getaway to Étretat. The Hotel La Residence Manoir de la Salamandre is excellently located just 100 m from the beach and is also the most budget-friendly hotel in Étretat. Check here now if they have free rooms on your travel dates.
Eco-friendly: Visit Étretat by train
Even though there is no direct train from Paris to Étretat, the journey is rather short. It takes only 2.40h to travel to Étretat from Paris – considering traffic and rush hours, it might be even the quickest option at times. Check here for tickets.
However, there aren’t many trains a day connecting Paris with Étretat. The easiest way to travel from Paris to Étretat by train is taking the train to Breaute-Beuzeville and from there a bus to Étretat for 30 min.
Also, take a look at our article about the best and easiest day trips from Paris by train to get more ideas.
FAQ – Travel from Paris to Étretat
Is Étretat worth visiting?
Even though Étretat is a very popular destination in Normandy and at times saturated by tourists, it is absolutely worth the trip. The white cliffs are stunningly beautiful, and the town offers a plethora of activities for everyone.
How do you get to Etretat France from Paris?
The easiest way to get to Étretat from Paris is by driving in your own or rental car. It takes roughly 2h. You also can go by bus or take a train. However, there is no direct train from Paris to Étretat.
Is there a train from Paris to Étretat?
There is no direct connection between Paris and Étretat. If you want to travel from Paris to Étretat by train, you best take the train to Bréauté-Breuzeville and transfer to the bus to Étretat. The bus from Bréauté-Breuzeville takes 30 minutes.
How tall are the Cliffs at Étretat?
The Cliffs of Étretat are 70 m (ca. 230 feet) high above sea level.
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