Autumn holiday in Normandy

During the autumn holiday here in Belgium we headed towards Normandy in France with a rented camping car. An adventure we all looked forward to!

One of the first adventures was walking on top of the white chalk cliffs in Etretat. A magical and unique place with such an endless view on the sea!

The rock in the middle is the famous ‘needle’.

I enjoyed the dried flowers in subtle brown hues that matches so perfectly with the sea and cliffs.

Textures and greyish colours of rocks, shells and pebbles. At Etretat there isn’t a beach with soft sand but it has a thick pebble beach. It was forbidden to collect any of these pebbles! Instead I collected some lovely pieces of seaweed to take with me to dry at home.

Me, enjoying the view and the salt scent of the sea, in front of the ‘elephant’ rock.

Dancing with the waves together with my youngest daughter. Trying to come as close to the waves without getting too wet!

These cliffs were a well known place for artists to paint and so did Claude Monet. His work and the impressionism is inextricably linked to Normandy. Needless to says that his house and garden was one of our next stops. Monet lived in the calm and beautiful village Giverny, surrounded by woods.

It was lightly raining when we arrived but it stopped once we were walking in this wonderful garden. I was surprised by how many flowers that were still blooming and made the garden into a real artist palette!

The house of Monet is colourfully painted in pink and has vivid green shutters. A very romantic and charming place!

This place on the domain was unfortunately not open for public but I was really curious to take a look!

His garden had borders, all in a different colour. They were still very beautiful on this rainy autumn day. I think I was most attracted to those lovely pink hues (as always lately!).

This was the studio of Claude Monet. He had big windows with view on his garden and the light inside must have been perfect.

The house was beautifully conserved with the typical furniture of the 19th century. It felt special to walk around in this house were this famous painter and his family has lived for 43 years.

As it was a grey day, I loved how the light illuminated details in these cosy rooms.

And of course we walked on the fairylike green bridge over the pond, well-known from Monets’ famous paintings ‘waterlilies’!

The garden and the pond were adorned in autumn colours and it looked as if the fallen leaves were the waterlilies at the moment. Still, there was one brave waterlily unfolding her petals!

It’s time to continue our travel towards the ruins of the medieval Château Gaillard in Les Andelys. Richard the Lionheart had really chosen a most strategic place to build this military castle on the chalk cliffs.

It overlooks the lovely meandering Seine. Although it was a grey day, we enjoyed the wide view and this cosy village below.

I’m walking between the dried flowers, looking for beautiful seedpods I wouldn’t find at home. As I love old castles and historical places, it was an inspiring place to be.

Of course we’ve been stopping at some tiny rustic villages where we strolled down the streets and enjoyed the charming and calm atmosphere of these typical Norman villages.

What a lovely surprise to discover these typical French ‘santons’ on a windowsill.

Slowly we had to travel back and our last stop was at Mers-Les-Bains. A charming seaside resort with lovely coloured houses in the artistic style of the Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau architecture.

We walked from this village to the next, Le Tréport, along the coast line. A typical and lively coastal village with a tiny lighthouse. Although the sea looks calm, once we arrived at the white-green lighthouse at the end of the pier we were almost blown away!

In the village we looked for the ‘funiculaire’ to bring us to the top of the chalk cliffs. This funicular railway is unique in France, even in Europe, as it goes straight in a tunnel through the cliffs. This funicular was inaugurated in 1908, but was modernised in 2006. It was a spectacular experience!

The wide view in the funicular railway when going up. A patchwork of rooftops, coastline, white cliffs, fields of grass and a calm sea.

At the end of our holiday we have to leave all this beauty behind but it will live on in our memories.

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