Our second day in Normandy started off as every day on holiday should, with a long lie-in in an amazingly comfortable bed. After long showers (water pressure is such a novelty…our flat in Paris has the most pathetic shower ever), we wrapped ourselves in fluffy robes and drank coffee out of fancy tea cups. Perfection!
We could have probably lazed there for quite some time, but the dog was getting restless and we were getting hungry! Instead of partaking of the hotel breakfast brunch, which cost an astronomical 21€ apiece (!), we decided to walk along the beach to Honfleur and find food there. The walk wasn’t too long and the views from the beach were beautiful!
Honfleur is a stunning little town- we were recommended it by several different people and it’s easy to see why. It’s old, charming, quaint, and full of secret little streets and restaurants. We only spent the morning here, but I could have explored so much longer. It was marché day, which is always a treat in France.
We started our adventures at a boulangerie where we picked up some croissants and chaussons aux pommes (apple turnovers) to get us started, and then it was time to explore the marché. It was a clear, chilly morning, so when we passed a vendor selling vin chaud (mulled wine) for only 2€, how could we say no? Ten in the morning is a perfectly acceptable time to start drinking in France, right?
We ended up leaving Honfleur with a fairly eclectic collection of goodies: local honey (AMAZING), some saucissons, and flavoured salt.
Following our adventures, we walked back to the hotel, collected our things and checked out. It was time to pack back into the car and drive about an hour up the coast to the town of Étretat. We got to drive over the famous Pont de Normandie, which was surprisingly epic- the bridge itself curves and twists a bit like a roller coaster, it was very cool to drive on!
So why Étretat, you may ask? Well, to answer that, I need to explain something about Marc and I and our style of planning holidays….or our style of not planning holidays, to be more exact. Particularly on spur-of-the-moment trips like this, we rarely plan anything beyond where we’ll spend the night. It’s strange because we both generally like to be prepared and well-researched in most aspects of our lives, except for holidays. I think Marc would like to plan more, but he’s generally pretty busy, and I kind of prefer the freedom of an open schedule and quiet itinerary when we go away. So we knew for this trip that we would have a lot of free time on Saturday and we weren’t sure where to go…so I simply went on instagram, searched #normandie, and found pictures that I thought looked amazing. So that is how we ended up surrounded by the epic chalk cliffs of Étretat (made famous by many artists, notably Monet).
After a fairly quick lunch in town (mussels again), we headed to the beach and wandered around there- the cliffs were so spectacular! We ended up walking up the western cliffs which was a good decision as it enabled us to see the third and largest natural arch, called the Manneporte, which is tucked around the back.
The skies went from blue to very dull and grey over the course of our hike, so we were happy to return to the village and do a little shopping. We wanted to buy a bottle of Calvados, as we thought it would be a neat souvenir, so we stopped at a local shop and began the complicated process of choosing the right one- they certainly had plenty of selection! Some of these were over a hundred years old and cost hundreds and hundreds of Euros.
We also picked up some delicious apple gummies, caramels, and caramel cookies….we obviously needed snacks for the long drive home.
After our shopping we did a quick pit-stop to grab a baguette for dinner, and then it was time to head home. We actually spent the evening watching a D-Day documentary, we were both so interested to learn more about the landing after being on the beaches and seeing all the old German fortifications. It was SO interesting to walk through these places that played such a pivotal role in recent history.
All in all, our time in Normandy was excellent- it was only a short trip, but it was long enough to see a ton of amazing things but still feel relaxed and un-rushed. I can’t wait to go back, I’m sure it won’t be long!
Until then, bonne soirée