Étretat is a small resort in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It is a tourist and farming town situated about 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Le Havre, at the junction of the D940, D11 and D139 roads. It’s located on the coast of the Pays de Caux area.
Étretat is best known for its cliffs, including three natural arches and the pointed “needle”. These cliffs and the associated resort beach attracted artists including Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet, and were featured prominently in the 1909 Arsène Lupin novel The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc. Two of the three famous arches are seen from the town, the Porte d’Aval, and the Porte d’Amont. The Manneporte is the third and the biggest one, and cannot be seen from the town. The GR 21 long-distance hiking path (Le Havre to Le Tréport) passes through the town.
In 1905, Madame Thebault, then a popular actress, planted the first tree on the cliffs of Étretat, marking the beginning of what has since become the Étretat Gardens. The sculptures are inspired by the Alabaster Coast and designed by leading French landscape architects. Contemporary art throughout the gardens creates a paradise of calm while Étretat’s famous cliff formations, immortalised by Claude Monet, make for a breathtaking backdrop.
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