Discovering Normandy’s Unique Departement: Seine-Maritime  

Last week, we fully took advantage of the public holiday in Belgium and hit the road for some exploring in France. Marnick found this super cosy AirBnb in a region neither of us had ever explored before. Talk about a perfect opportunity to discover a new gem in France! So, off we went to Seine-Maritime!  

Seine-Maritime is a department located in the Normandy region of France. The region is known for its rich history, stunning coastal landscapes, picturesque countryside, and charming medieval towns. 

We hadn’t been on the road since we came back after our 7 months in Asia in April. We were stoked to venture into this unknown territory and travel again. When we arrived at our Airbnb, our lovely host was happy to tell us more about the region and gave us all the insider tips. With only three nights in the region, we knew we had to make some choices. 

Day One

We woke up at the local Airbnb, where fresh breakfast was waiting for us. After stuffing our bellies, we drove to the coastal town of Êtretat. We walked up the cliffs on the right side of the town, just like our host recommended to us. There, you have a great view of the white cliffs and the natural arch Êtretat is known for. You can walk along the cliffs even further if you like these views just like us.  


On top of the cliff, we visited Les Jardins d’Êtretat. Inspired by Claude Monet the gardens boast a harmonious fusion of natural elements and artistic touches. Les Jardins d’Êtretat feature meticulously sculpted topiaries, and perfectly manicured lawns, all blending with the rugged coastal landscape.

We walked back down to the town, where we bought a picnic and continued our route. By accident, we found a good picnic spot, which was also the starting point for our walk in the afternoon.  

Walking on these cliffs and having a view over the pristine white cliffs and natural arches is just so nice, we wanted to see another spot at Êtretat as well. At the picnic spot in Rue du Moulin, we started hiking towards the coast, via Golf d’Êtretat up until Pointe de la Courtine. The view from there was on another level, nature’s artwork on full display! Above all, here we also found L’oeil du panda, the coolest viewpoint we’ve ever experienced in Europe!   

Back at the car, we saw that our legs and feet were covered in ticks, so we had to carefully remove them one by one. Have an eye on your skin after hiking in the grasses of the cliffs. The sooner you remove the ticks, the better.   

We ended the day at a small and cosy restaurant with a terrace. The cuisine speciality of Seine-Maritime is deeply influenced by its coastal location and rich agricultural resources. The region is renowned for its delectable seafood dishes, as well as its dairy products and apple-based recipes. Marnick tried the fruits-de-mer but I opted for a safer meal, as I don’t like seafood and choose some pasta.

Day Two

With our round bellies from the big breakfast, we drove to Honfleur on Saturday morning. Honfleur is a charming and picturesque town located just out of Seine-Maritime. We parked our car at the big parking lot just in front of the town and walked to the Tourist Information Point. Our host told us about a walk they made for tourists passing by all the must-see spots and some hidden gems. Little did we know that on Saturday morning it was market all over the town and became a cosy bustle.  

Honfleur is renewed for its historic harbour, Le Vieux Bassin, which has been a source of inspiration for many artists and is the heart of the town. The harbour is surrounded by colourful timber-framed buildings. We enjoyed the lively atmosphere with numerous cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and of course the market. We enjoyed a good, local lunch at Le Corsaire.   

In the late afternoon, we left Honfleur. We planned on visiting Rouen, the capital of Seine-Maritime. But, when we found out we needed a sticker on our car to enter the city, and it was already later than expected, we skipped the historic city with the medieval centre and headed to Abbaye de Jumièges instead.   

Near our accommodation, there are three abbeys open to visit. Our host’s favourite is Abbaye de Jumiège, and as she hadn’t disappointed us with all her recommendations before, so, we listened to her once again.   

The abbey is a historic and majestic Benedictine monastery. As we’ve read, this is the most celebrated and impressive ruins of medieval architecture in France. The abbey’s ruins stand as a hauntingly beautiful reminder of its glorious past. We explored the remnants of its once grand halls and strolled through the serene cloister gardens. In the former residence of Abbots, we enjoyed the photo exhibition.

Day Three

On our final day in Seine-Maritime, the weather seemed determined to be uncooperating. Undeterred, we set out in the morning to visit Veules-les-Roses, a charming town home to the shortest river in all of France. We had a nice stroll along the stream, tracing its path from its source to the coast.

Later, we stumbled upon a cosy spot for a delicious French lunch. As it was our last day, we had to experience once more the rich and diverse flavours of Normandy cuisine. We choose the plat du jour which was based on Camembert cheese 

Unfortunately, the rain decided to join us during lunch and showed no signs of stopping until we were already back in Belgium. We took the scenic route home via Dieppe in the hope to explore some more of the coastal wonders, but the relentless downpour left us with no choice but to admire the town from the shelter of our car.  

More about Seine-Maritime

Seine-Maritime has way more to offer than we had the time to explore it all. We had to skip Rouen, the vibrant capital of this department that is full of Gothic architecture. Also, Le Havre, as we heard, has a modernist flair with cool architecture, giving a mix of old and new. But there’s way, way more to see, but you always need a reason to come back, right 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *