The busy seaside village of Étretat draws huge crowds thanks to the Falaises d’Étretat –gigantic limestone arches protruding into the sea. In the classic Normandy way, the top of them is lush green and flat and as always the contrast is quite dramatic.
The 70-metre-tall natural wonders won admiration of such grands as Gustave Flaubert and two Spanish Queens, Marie- Christine and Isabella II, who set a summer residence here. The arches resembling elephants dipping their trunks in the sea became featured on paintings by Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and ubiquitous Claude Monet.
Guy de Maupassant spent his childhood in the area: it was here that, in an infamous incident, he ate a roast monkey with Algernon Charles Swinburne, a decadent Victorian poet famous for his depiction of sadomasochism, Sapphic love and bestiality.
A good example of the aristocratic excesses that provoked the French Revolution, the Oyster Park – a series of stone basins – was built here for Marie- Antoinette of the “let them eat cake” fame. Two sloops were in charge of carrying oysters from Cancale in Brittany for a several months of affinage: soaking alternatively in salty sea water and fresh water from the underground springs to acquire a particularly delicate taste. Then they were carted away to Versailles. Right was Talleyrand saying that "those who have not known the Ancien régime will never know how sweet life can be".
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- Lille - The Closest Bit Of France
- Mer-les-Bains - Bourgeois Seaside Resort Par Excellence
- Dieppe - Maps, Ivory And Scallops
- Fécamp - Liqueur, Seafood & Norman Vestiges
- The Limestone Arches Of Étretat
- Rouen - The Duck, The Pots & The Cathedral
- Richard the Lionheart's Château Gaillard
- Monet's Japanese Garden in Giverny
- Honfleur - A Picture-Perfect Port
- Mont St.Michel - The Marvel Abbey
- Côte Emeraude - Brittany's Emerald Coast
- St. Malo - The Granite Jewel of Brittany
- Dinard & St. Lunaire - Hangouts Of The Rich
- Jersey - The Bulwark Of Englishness