© E. Berthier
falaises d'etretat © EV4 / Emmanuel Berthier

The cliffs of Étretat

A world-famous seaside resort

Pedal to the Seine-Maritime department to visit the town of the famous gentleman-thief, Arsène Lupin. Its narrow shop-lined streets, seafront and amazing cliffs have all contributed to Étretat’s international renown as a seaside resort. A small gem on Normandy’s legendary Alabaster Coast


“If I had to show the sea to a friend, I would choose Étretat” was all French novelist and journalist Alphonse Karr needed to say about the small fishing village in 1843 for Étretat and sea bathing to become the height of fashion.

The cliffs of Étretat – words say it all

Learn a few specific French terms used to refer to the various sections of cliff at Étretat and stay ahead of the pack! The terms tell you everything you need to know to become a genuine Étretat cliff specialist. 😉

  • Falaise d’Aval, l’Arche (the arch) and l’Aiguille (the needle): probably the most famous section of the cliffs at Étretat. The archway was formed naturally by waves beating against the cliff.
  • Manneporte: this monumental arch is located on the other side of the Porte d’Aval. It is the largest of the Étretat arches.
  • Falaise d’Amont: this section contains the smallest archway of the cliffs.
  • Courtine: this is the bulwark jutting out into the sea – amazing, isn’t it?
  • Roc Vaudieu and Aiguille de Belval: the Belval needle is to the right of Falaise d’Amont. It is an area that is very exposed to erosion.
  • Trou à l’homme (man’s hole): this cave was given its name by chance. In 1792, a ship was thrown onto the rocks during a storm and only one sailor survived by seeking refuge in the cave. It has been called trou à l’homme ever since! Important: you can only visit this place at low tide, else you may find yourself surrounded by water!

Explore Étretat


Parcours à la carte

Arsène Lupin and Étretat

After Emily in Paris, discover Lupin in Étretat! The adventures of Arsène Lupin often take place here, in his favourite town, steeped in the atmosphere of Maurice Leblanc’s novels. Are you ready hop on your bike and follow the trail of this famous thief?  If so, pedal away!

🔍 A mystery to solve at Étretat Search for and find the letters D and F inscribed near the needle at Étretat – story has it that Maurice Leblanc, creator of Arsène Lupin, commissioned these letters. In 2021, the letter D mysteriously disappeared... See if you can figure out why on your visit to Étretat!


✅ Your to-do list while you’re visiting Étretat!

☐ Take photos of the views from the clifftops
☐ Walk in the footsteps of Arsène Lupin, the famous gentleman-thief
☐ Hike along the clifftops of Étretat
☐ Take a boat trip to enjoy the cliffs from the sea
☐ Treat yourself to a sunbathing session on the beach below
☐ Glide out on a paddle board to explore the foot of the cliffs

ℹ️ Practical information

Towns and cities near the cliffs of Étretat
Le Havre and Fécamp are close by, and Étretat, of course!

Locating the cliffs of Étretat on the map
The cliffs of Étretat are on Normandy's Alabaster Coast, in the Seine-Maritime department. They are about three hours from Paris by car.

Staying in the area near the cliffs of Étretat
Why not book a place in one of the towns nearby, such as Étretat, Le Havre or Fécamp? An early start and you can cycle to the cliffs of Étretat to enjoy your day to the full.