It was three years ago this month when I first discovered the magnificent and yet quaint village of Etretat. I was so enamored with Etrertat, I longed to visit again and I returned two weeks ago.
Growing up, I spent my days on the beaches of the Jersey shore-Wildwood, Seaside Heights, Bradley Beach- and once summertime comes I get beach fever and have to get myself to a beach to quench my desire.
It was the perfect time to go to Etretat, as Paris was experiencing a heat wave with temperatures in the 90s. It’s an easy one hour and forty minute train ride to Etretat (the train stop is Breaute) from Gare Saint Lazare, followed by a 40-minute scenic bus ride through the gentle grassy hills of Normandy.
I checked in to Hotel Ambassadeur, where I stayed last time, a basic, no frills hotel in a converted Normandy house, right in the center of town and a 5-minute walk to the beach. After slipping into my bathing suit, applying my sunscreen and gathering all my beach gear, I made my way as quickly as possible to the beach.
Once I arrived, I was again awestruck by the beauty of the petrified cliffs and midnight blue water, standing still for a long moment to take it in. I parked my towel close to the water and then put on my rubber shoes, so I wouldn’t destroy my feet walking on the large rocks. Dipping my feet in the icy cold, refreshing water, I was too chicken to go all the way in, so I held my breath and braved it up to my waist. I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between soaking up the shore and sunshine and reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, an engrossing novel about two sisters living in France and their struggles to survive during the Nazi Occupation in WWII.
My favorite thing from my last visit to Etretat was the life changing sunset. Etretat is further north from Paris, so sunset wasn’t until a few minutes after 10. Dinner at a beachfront restaurant was a pot of mussels steeped in apple cider and bits of apple along with crispy frites and after I prepared my camera to capture sunset. It was such fun to see kids still playing on the beach and frolicking in the water in broad daylight even though it was 9:30 at night. I set my camera to focus on a wooden dock in the water, shooting the swimmers diving off it. As the light faded and the sky took on a stunning orange hue, the divers were in shadow, making for some terrific shots.
I spent most of the next day relaxing again on the beach and took a 5:18PM train back to sweltering Paris, but was bronzed and well rested.
One of the things I like best about Etretat is its authenticity-It’s cute without being cutesy or Disney-like and doesn’t try to be anything else but a simple beach town. It’s doesn’t have luxury hotels with Michelin star restaurants and has not been invaded by hipsters. Best of all, Etretat put me in touch again with the same innocence and wonder I experienced as a child at the Jersey Shore.
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.