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  • Writer's pictureClaire

The beaches of Normandy Part 1: Etretat; Trouville sur Mer and Cabourg

Updated: 3 days ago

Part of our 12 day stay in Normandy was the ability to relax into the place we were staying. Usually in the UK over a two week holiday we will go somewhere for one week, and another the next, and explore loads, but this time staying in one place afforded us to have some glorious relaxing days in and amongst exploring and that was brilliant. Sometimes, so eager to see the world in the limited holiday that I have, I had somehow forgotten to luxuriate in relaxing. Not this time, dispersed in our days of outings I had earmarked three beach days. Being a south coastal UK girl I had grown up over-looking the English Channel, now it was time to swap and get to see different beaches Normandy has to offer, overlooking la Manche. Our first beach was Etretat, our friends had arrived and we wanted a spectacular beach with super views and cliff walks, and this was the recommendation. It is stunning to look it and reminded me very much of Durdle Door in Dorset, thanks to the wonderful cliff formations that enter the sea.

This one is a pebble beach but the views are unsurpassed to any beach we saw on this trip. Coupled with walks up both ends of the beach to two stone arches on either side. On the seafront is a plethora of eateries, we had a lovely meal overlooking the sea in the late evening, in a place that had some live french music. The atmosphere was great, we were sad we had to depart to get back to camp, thinking a hotel stay here would have been great to experience the night properly. A few days later we wanted to visit another beach day, a more classic beach with sand so the kids can spend most of the day in the sea or building sandcastles. This time we chose Trouville-sur-Mer. This beach has a vast expanse of golden sand, and a wonderfully wide promenade to walk around. The town had some great shopping in the alleys and some lovely town houses leading up to the hotels that span the beach line. My only one complaint was no picnics, like others we did sneak some snacks in the bag but once on the beach we could see why. It is absolutely bombarded by seagulls, which made for some funny photos. After most days at the beach, I wanted to get some seafood. We found an absolutely delightful restaurant that ticked every box. It wasn't on the seafront, but amongst the charming back alleys, and was called Brasserie Les Bains. The menu was great and I plumped for a Seafood Platter to start, Sole Menuiere for main followed by cheese with a cheeky Monbazillac sweet wine for dessert.

The last beach we visited was Cabourg. Again, a wonderful promenade, with its big casino and grand hotel. The long sandy beaches made another great day for the kids. Both sandy beaches are also famous for their connections to the artist Marcel Proust. Cabourg has a permanent carousel in front of the casino that leads to an alley of shops and restaurants, which is nice to visit after the end of a long sunny day at the beach. Why cook when you can eat out? Relaxing indeed!

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