Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our visit to Monet's white alabaster cliffs

One of the most beautiful places we visited while in France was a small town called Etretat in Normandy. We got there about 9 pm, which was more than an hour before the sun actually set. And, after checking in to our rooms, we spent at least an hour as we watched the sun set. It was possibly the most incredible sunset I've ever seen. And, Monet enjoyed this particular spot, too.

Monet's The Cliffs at Etretat from Wikipedia
I wasn't as familiar with these paintings, but Monet painted the cliffs many times. Etretat sits on part of the coast known as The Alabaster Coast. It encompasses 80 miles of sheer, white cliffs starting at Etretat. We only made it to Etretat, but it was an incredible night... and morning!

This was the first photo I took as we arrived at the beach. By now, it was close to 9:30 and I thought the sun would be down in minutes. The sun had been setting really late while in Europe, so I should have known better! But, my experience at the lake told me that when the sun is this low, it'll disappear fast. But, no! I bet we had another hour before the sun sank below the horizon.

Our hotel was about 3 blocks from the water. We were on the 3rd floor (without elevators and with several heavy suitcases!) and we could see this chapel on the cliff. We had meant to climb up either this side or the other (the town, in the middle where we are, is pretty flat), but my mom's foot was really bothering her. So, we didn't. But, just being on the beach was incredible. (Have I mentioned that already?)

I wish I could take you all with me to hear the sound of the water as the waves rolled out! The whole beach is pebbles and you have to get really close to the water to hear this, but... each time the water rolls out there is this incredible sound! I finally decided it sounded like a rain stick. It's really loud, too, though you have to be close to hear it. Amazing!

I love how you can see the sunset reflecting in Alex's glasses. By the way, these pebbles are hard to walk in! It's quite a workout! But, so worth it.

Alex has gotten pretty good at taking self-portraits... and even photos of the two of us. It was hard to believe that this was the 'middle of summer' and that there were so few people out on the beach! I bet there were 30 or less. We are close to the cliffs on the right side of the beach, so you can get an idea of how long the beach is.

Alex enjoying the sunset. At this point, I think it was actually quite a bit darker than it looks in this photo. This was one of the last few I took.

And, sadly, the sun is finally actually setting...


lahbluebonnet said...

Oh that is oh so beautiful. Thank you for sharing the details and the pictures.

Karen said...

Oh Dana! These are so beautiful. Keilee and I are just loving your pictures and posts about this amazing trip!

Dana said...

That last picture of Alex is so beautiful! And I can almost hear the waves rolling over the pebbles. So beautiful!

lahbluebonnet said...

Oh I love that picture with the purple of the water coming in and the orange of the sunset.

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