While tourists in general flock to the French Riviera when summer arrives, we decided to find out what the French West Coast had to offer. Turns out it’s a region of great variety, miles and miles of wild and unspoiled coasts and small islands, offering great food and some (much needed) peace and quiet.
Our first stop was Fécamp and later on Etretat in Normandy, both famous for their white chalk cliffs, which make them popular daytrip destinations. You might recognize one of the two natural arches (the elephant dunking its trunk in the ocean) from a series of Monet paintings. It is no wonder these poetic landscapes inspired the painter and in the decades to follow, inspired many more artists.
Cliffs and pebble beach at Etretat Next, we discovered the Charente Maritime region, known for its seafood, historic landmarks and windy beaches. We spent most of the time on Ile d’Oléron, which, contrary to the more posh Ile de Ré, is unaffected with a laid-back vibe.
If you’re in for a stroll among well-heeled Parisians, Ars-en-Ré on Ile de Ré is the place-to-be. This enchanting place was voted one of France’s most beautiful villages and it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by the sea and salt marshlands, Ars en Ré has an immense charm combining simplicity and elegance.
Cabanes des Créateurs, Ile d’OléronIle de Ré
Ars-en-RéSunset at Bourcefranc-le-Chapus