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Perched midway along Normandy's Alabaster Coast, Étretat might look like a spot not worth the detour. However, its end-of-the-world site on the Atlantic coast, its spectacular stone formations famously immortalized in paint by the Impressionists, and the village itself—a Fisher-Price toy village lined with houses covered with picturesque 19th-century sculpted figural carvings—all add up to one of France's most amazing, unforgettable destinations. No matter there are no museums there—the entire village could be a museum exhibit.
The plunging chalk cliffs of Étretat are so gorgeous and strange that they seem surreal at first. The crowds of camera-toting visitors, however, will bring you back to reality quickly. But if you head for the cliffs in early morning or late evening, you'll see what drew artists like Monet, Boudin, and Courbet here. Chances are you'll be just as inspired by this breathtaking natural splendor as old Claude was. For an extensive listing of the town's many hotels and restaurant, log on to www.seine-maritime-tourisme.com.
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