Etretat on the Alabaster Coast in Seine Maritime, was particularly prized by the Impressionist painters, due to its spectacular cliffs. Monet and Corot came, tempted by descriptions of the reflected light from the sea playing on the cliffs, and their work brought others in their wake, to build extravagant villas and give even more extravagant parties.


The town is framed by two cliffs - Aval and Amont, ("downstream" and "upstream" in French), and has an impressive rock needle, called, unsurprisingly, L'Aiguille ("the needle"). Arsene Lupin, the famous fictional French detective, once unearthed a band of smugglers in their hideout in the Aiguille - sadly, only in the imagination of his author, Maurice Leblanc!

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