A Summer Weekend : Cannes/Monaco/Island of Sainte Marguerite

 

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During the 18th century when the British upper class was holidaying and chilling under the warm skies of the French Riviera, they couldn’t have imagined that in the 21st century, these spots would turn into holiday hubs, and people would fly in from all over the world, every day, every hour, crowding these beaches along the Mediterranean. The Cote d’Azur, known in English as the French Riviera, is definitely one of the most popular summer holiday destinations of our times. With the Cannes Film Festival pretty much endorsing it every year, tourists are buzzing around all year long. One among them, I finally booked myself in for a southern delight this summer.

Almost the peak of summer, I flew in to Nice on the first weekend of August. Although summer was at its peak in Paris too, but the sun in the South has its own feels. So I landed in Nice, and took the bus to the center from the airport, and took in the sight of people walking their dogs and running along the Promenade des Anglais. The first thing that really struck me was the architecture, which was nothing like what I’d seen before in France. Of course I wasn’t used to seeing house with huge balconies and terraces, because my home city in France, i.e., Paris is known for its almost non existing balconies. Which has its own charm, but let’s not get to that. Nice, on the other hand, was very, very different from Paris. I just couldn’t stop staring at the pretty houses, sometimes painted bright yellows and pinks, looking onto the beach.

But Nice wasn’t the place I was staying the night. I was somehow more excited about visiting towns other than Nice, mostly because I didn’t want to go to super hyped places. But yeah I know Cannes and Monaco aren’t less hyped either. But after a small walk around Nice, I headed straight to the station and boarded the train to Monaco. A cheap ticket, a short ride, but amazing views of seaside towns as the train passed along the French Riviera, towards Italy. Pretty much every small stretch of sand was packed with people. Somewhere hidden on tiny hills were houses, mansion rather, looking like a bird’s nest far from the hustle and bustle of the city ; looking out on to the bright blue Mediterranean, a perfect escape from the world so full of life and troubles. But like dreams, these houses passed out of sight, and soon the train entered the Gare Monaco Ville.

Of course, I should have known that this was another touristy little place. A small country, surrounded by France and the Mediterranean. Monte Carlo- a town straight out of a Hollywood movie set. With its yatch-lined harbor, the belle-epoque casino, and streets filled with high-end fashion boutiques, I did feel for a moment that I was in the wrong place. Monte Carlo is for the rich. But these days you don’t need to be rich to travel. SO, I was pretty happy not spending euros and euros like a typical tourist, but taking in the sights and observing a new place with keen eyes of a traveler. Not concentrating much on spending lavishly, I concentrated on walking around. But the most crazy (in a nice way) thing about this place was that most of it was hilly, and quite interestingly there were public lifts to take help you climb up! It took me 20 minutes to figure out where my airbnb was – even though it was just on the street next to the station where I got off! I thought I was pretty good with maps, but a new realization is that map skills work differently for hilly towns!

Well, I didn’t do much in Monaco except walking around in the old town, in narrow streets, admiring the architecture, window shopping brands that I had never even heard of, climbing till the highest point of the town for an amazing view, and visiting the entrance hall of the casion of Monte Carlo (You can’t go in to gamble unless you’re suited and booted and look rich enough). Drinks and dinner by the harbour, ofcourse, and that was the end of my time in Moncao. Next afternoon, I boarded a train to Cannes, and eager for a day at the beach!

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Post Office in Monaco.

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A view of Monaco.

Cannes, though still a rich people city, had its own charm. Much different from Monaco, Cannes was all about the beach life. I got off further away from the central station, and walked alllll the way from Cannes La Bocca to the hotel, along the beach. Pretty exhausted by the time I reached the hotel, but the beach had to be done. So poof! I was at the beach in no time! What I noticed there was that from where I had started walking, the beaches were pretty empty, but reaching closer to the center, it was a bazar! The beaches at the center seemed no fun – it was just tooooo packed! There was literally no place to sit. These are the beaches of La Croisette. So if you go to Cannes, avoid these touristy beaches and walk further away from the town, where it’s much nicer and peaceful for a beach day.

That night, dinner was not touristy at all. Having taken some local advice from a friend from Cannes, I went to dine at a very fancy place, where apparently only the locals go. Situated in the heart of the touristy area, in a narrow street next to lanes full of exotic restaurants, this little restaurant, if you don’t know about it, you might never find. Its pretty much a local secret in the heart of the buzzing touristy quartier and is quite rightly called “Le Jardin Secret” – The Secret Garden. At the entrance, it doesn’t even seem like a restaurant. You go in, and you ask for a table, and then they take you in to the garden, which is decorated with candles, lights, and hippy stuff. A beautiful place to spend a summer evening, with French food and wine. And that was the end of day one in Cannes. But the next day was going to be the best adventure of this trip!

South of France

At a beach in Cannes.

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Another one.

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View from the hotel room.

I was pretty convinced that all these towns along the Mediterranean are super touristy and with no peace and calm. I wanted to go somewhere quieter. I still hadn’t found a beach where I could just relax, away from the crowds. And then – an island happened. I have this habit of checking google maps all the time to see what is around. Before the trip, when I was looking at Cannes in Google maps, I saw an island pretty close to it. I wondered if one could actually go there. So when I reached the hotel, I made it a point to ask the reception about this island. And turns out – we can go there! Now this island is not an island where people live. So pretty much an island-island! It used to be inhabited during Roman times, and was captured by the Spanish at some point and then recaptured by the French. During the 17th century, the fortress prison which still exists on the island was constructed and it was the home to many famous prisoners including the mysterious prisoner called the Man in the Iron Mask, who has been mentioned in the works of famous French writers like Voltaire and Dumas. The prison was shut down in the 20th century. Today, most of the island is a reserved forest with tiny rocky bays, umbrella pines and ancient eucalyptus forests. And of course, beaches all around! Although most of the beaches are rocky, there is a long stretch of sand beach too. But what makes it even more exciting is that you can pick any small stretch of rocky beach and make it your own private beach for the day!

How to get there? Well, there’s a ferry from the Vieux-Port of Cannes to this island every 1-2 hours from the morning till the evening. A 15-minute ferry ride. But the last one back to Cannes is around 6 in the evening, so if you don’t manage to get back, you’re stuck on the island and you sleep under the stars. Although the rides go pretty full during the summer, the island still seems deserted when you’re walking in the forest. The island is almost 3 kms in length and 900 metres across. So you’re not running into people when you’re walking in the forest. But occasionally you see families setting up picnics, someone reading in peace, and people setting up their own private beach parties on tiny rocky bays. This was definitely one of the most unique places I’ve been to till now, and I couldn’t help but think of Kaho na pyaar hai while settling down on my own private bay. I walked quite a lot during the day spent on this island, but it was impossible to cover the whole island in one day. Not knowing what was next, it was pretty exciting to take random narrow paths, and so often, there was the road-not-taken moment in the forest. I also ended up finding a cemetery of soldiers, and that was really, really spooky. But as the hours passed, the challenge was to make it in time for the last ferry, which I managed and made it back in time for the last evening in Cannes.

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On the island – Read the signs!!!

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One edge of the island .

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Thats me 🙂

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On my private rocky bay , chilling in peace.

The next morning, the last morning before the flight back, I went to the terrace of the Radisson Blu, which has an amaaaaazing view of Cannes and the Mediterranean. Followed by a quick visit to the Palais des festivals where the Cannes film festival takes place every year.

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Rooftop of the Radisson Blu.

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But, well, the island being the highlight of my trip to the South of France, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t discovered it on Google maps. Thank Google for that!

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La Bise : Culture shock in Europe

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First experiences are special. First experiences of living in a new country can result in serious culture shocks too. Not in a negative way, but in a funny, ironic way. When you leave a country like India to go live abroad, the first experience can be full of eye-widening, thought provoking experiences. One of the major culture shocks for me, was La Bise: The cheek-to-cheek greeting that is so common in France. Growing up back home, I had only seen films stars do the cheek-to-cheek kiss, or maybe others belonging to the ‘elite’ class. Chez moi, when greeting an elder, say Namaste or Sat Sri Akal. Sorted. Look at the person, bow your head a little and say it. With friends, just a ‘hey’ or a side hug works. But in France, there was a completely different thing going on.

It took me a while to understand that the bise is a part of the everyday life, and it can be taken very, very seriously. One person would enter the room, and would do muah-muah to everyone sitting there. Sweet, I thought to myself. After a few days of observation, I realized that they also do it while leaving. Sweet again, I thought to myself. Such an intimate way of greeting and saying goodbye! And now, I thought I was ready to greet in the French way too! But then, I forgot to notice which side you have to go to first. The initial weeks of meeting new people was a struggle in my mind. Left first? Or right first? What if I bump into their face? Should I just shake hands? Or hug? Umm, no. But they’re French – they would go for the bise! So then left first? Or right first? The left and right struggle was solved in its own time – practice makes a man perfect! But there were more mysteries of the bise yet to be solved – It is okay to do the bise with youngsters that you’re meeting for the first time, but what about people older than you? This question still haunts me! I might have embarrassed myself a couple of times by doing the bise with a much older lady that I met for the first time. I always wondered if there were rules about how to do the bise with who!

After living, working and studying in France for three years, I learnt a lot about the French culture and was quite comfortable with the greetings. I didn’t have to think left or right anymore! But outside of France, the mysteries of the bise were new, and more embarrassing! Once upon a time, I went to Belgium, and a friend introduced me to his friends. Friends of friends = do the bise. I did the calculation in my head. Went for it, but was left hanging in the air on the other side. Because, as I would learn later, they do one cheek kiss in Belgium! Ahem. One of the most awkward moments of my life, but a useful lesson learnt. ‘Next time onwards, I would be careful about the nationality before thinking one or two, instead of left or right’, I told myself. But when I met an Italian (Roberto! Yes, you!), I realized that the left or right also had to be taken into consideration: because for Italians, it was opposite to that of the French. We met so often, but never came to the decision as to which side to go to first!

After several awkward greetings and meeting people from different parts of the continent, I realized that the bise was a greeting which is similar everywhere in Europe, but distinct in its own style: quite similar to what we have in India, in the sense that the greeting changes from Namaste to Sat Sri Akal to Vanakkam to Khamma ghani, but the bow of the head or folding of the hands remains similar. However, the most annoying part of the culture shock is that it can linger on for a while, and become a part of you if you live in the place for too long. So now the greeting queries have started working the opposite way: I had never put so much thought into how to greet a person while I was living in India, but now my head starts doing the greeting calculations for handshake/hugs/Namaste on its own.

Brittany, France

I’m becoming slow in keeping the travel part of my blog updated. And now I already have two trips to write about! Starting with the first one – Brittany (Bretagne in French). This is a region in the West of France, famous for its beaches. I happened to be on this trip because of one of my really good friends (Jason) in Paris, whose mum was staying in this part of France. He was kind enough to invite us to go visit his place for a week, with his sister, who was going to drive us there from Paris. So thats how me and best friend, Shilpa, decided to hop on, with Anais, to Brittany! Girls roadtrip!

Its about a four hour drive from Paris, and its a beautiful drive through the countryside, as in any region of France. Countryside drives are always beautiful anywhere in the world no? All that greenery, fresh air, clouds, blue sky, loud music and stops for coffee on the highway. I love roadtrips! Well, who doesn’t?

So we got to Brittany late Sunday afternoon and had a wonderful lunch at their first house in a small town in the region, I dont remember the name of. Lasagna, with bread and cheese. And some wonderful cakes from a patisserie in town to follow. Very, very French delicious! It was a nice cozy house; very quiet and calm, with two adorable doggies – Framboise and Jippy.

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The first house we stayed at.

In the evening we went out for a walk around the place. Green fields and narrow lanes. Kind of reminded me of Punjab, my ancestor’s hometown in India, where we go almost every year to visit relatives in the villages. Kind of made me think that life away from the city is kind of the same everywhere. Its all about being ‘en pleine nature’ – In the lap of nature. It was so quiet there, we could listen to the wind and the birds. That is one of my favourite kind of moments in life. When you can listen to even your own heart beating inside you, and the air so fresh, you cant help but breathe deep.

The next morning we moved to the main house, which was the one my friend in Paris had wanted us to see. He was really excited to know about our reactions to that place. And indeed, it was something that would have amazed us! A huge house right in the middle of a forest! For a nature lover like me, that was a heaven. That was my dream house! No doubts about that! I could have stayed their forever.

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The second house.

A white cat joined the family now, and we spent the evening cuddling the cat and dogs, while sitting close to the fire and sipping tea, since it was pretty cold. These few days felt like we were back in time, living away from the new age world. As soon as we stepped out, all we could see were green fields and huge trees. Everywhere.

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Fancy tea party by the fire.

We also went out for walks around the forest, learning about different kinds of flowers and trees. Aunty was really fond of picking and smelling the flowers. And I did the same! We discovered a lot of bluebell flowers, which smelled as good as pretty they looked! We also saw a deer running through the forest!!!! That was the first time I had seen something like that in real life, and it was indeed enchanting!

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In the forest with the cat and dogs!

During the day time, we drove into the city to visit the beaches. We went to around 3-4 beaches. And happily it was quite sunny for the first few days! All the beaches were really pretty, my favourite being the first one, which was completely stranded at that time of the day, and where we also climed a hill for a breathtaking view! The colour of the water was absolutely gorgeous! It always looks prettier under the sun!

 

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Me with Framboise and Jippy at the beach.

On our last day there, we went to the most hyped touristy place around that region. The Mont-Saint Michel. Which isnt really in the Brittany region, but in Normandy, which isnt that far. This is an abbey on the top of an island, which looks like a disney castle. I had actually read about it in one of the posts describing “must-visit-fairtytale-places-in-the-world”. And I wouldnt deny the fact that it actually looked like it had come straight out of a fairtytale. We went all the way up, walking through the narrow streets inside, which used to be a village where the monks lived. This was yet another delight for a history lover like me. But not to forget, the climb all the way up was really, really tiring!


We also went to visit one of their family friends in Dinard, which is apparently called the Monaco of Brittany, being an expensive town, and the beach looking similar to the ones there. No doubt the beach was pretty, with a view of Saint-Malo, where we had been right before getting to this town.

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The beach at Dinard.

Saint-Malo is another famous tourist destination. Its a city inside a fortress! Now really, I hadn’t heard about anything like this before. It was quite different and another good dose history. It was drizzling too, so the town looked even prettier, as we walked along the fortress wall. This area was quite touritsty with too many shops and tourists. I dont really like these kind of places, but you do have to tick off the famous places and see what the hype is all about! The town was also full of ice-cream and waffle shops and we had a dose of that in one of the most famous shops there. Chocolate ice-cream + Real hot chococate + Chocolate waffle = Chocogasm and no chocolate for a week atleast! Haha! It was delicious though! 😀

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Saint-Malo : The city inside a fortress, from the top of the fortress wall.

On the last day, we drove around the capital of the region- Rennes, since thats where our bus back to Paris was from! And that was one chilled out spring break vaction!! 😀

Giverny – Heaven on Earth!

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Okaaaaaay, so finally I’m here writing this blog post. Its been almost two weeks since I visited this heavenly town, Giverny in France, but I wasn’t getting any time to sit peacefully and write this experience down. But now here I am!

For those of you who’ve never heard about this place, let me tell you thats its famous for Claude Monet’s House and Gardens . Its here that you can find the famous water lilies that Monet painted. And thats not the only attraction. That might be the best one, but there’s so much more to it.
So, like any other tourist, I had this town on my list for the very same reason. Claude Monet’s House and Gardens.

I was travelling here from Rouen, so one has to take a train to Vernon, and then a bus to Giverny, which takes you directly near the famous tourist spot.
Its wasn’t just Giverny, but Vernon too, that looked so alluring. The huge windows of the bus allowed a magnificient view of the city around, as the bus passed the streets of Vernon to get to Giverny.
Once there, we had to walk for 5 minutes to reach the ticket counter of Monet’s House and Gardens.
It was quite a pleasant day. The sun was out and undoubtedly were the tourists. For a second, I felt as if it wasn’t an actual town, but just a movie set. created for people to walk by and enjoy. It all seemed so unreal. Like another world. Rue Monet (Monet’s street) had pretty vintage looking houses on either side, and flowers in full bloom. It was May afterall! And this was just the street! Imagine what more would have been in store for us inside the actual garden!!

I couldn’t wait any longer, so I quickly bought the ticket and went in . Funnily enough, the souvenir shop comes before the actual place. But later it seemed justified because we had to go back via the same route to exit.

So, as soon as you step into the garden, all you see is Green. Haha, how stupid of me to say that! But, well, Green makes me very excited, so I’m stressing on that obvious fact. Also, isn’t that absolutely amazing? I love how there are places where all you can see is the colour green! Thats the most peaceful thing that I can let my eyes see.
Being the typical nature lover and tree lover , my eyes went like – Well, Thank you for the springtime treat! Haha 🙂

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We walked around the garden, which was perfectly designed. The inner rows were not accessible to public, since they were quite narrow. Fair enough. So we had to walk only in most of the outer space. The main attraction in the first set of gardens were the tulips. Pretty pink and red tulips. Right in front of the huge house, that was Monet’s.

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Next , we followed the sign board that said ‘Water Lily Pond’. Ahaan! That was what everyone was looking forward to! We had to cross an underground tunnel to reach the other set of gardens. In Monet’s times, this used to be a road, instead of a tunnel.

The other set of gardens was full of small green bridges. (Here you can imagine how I must be smiling at all that green! I love the person who renovated/desigened all this) .. Narrow streams and small bridges. Sounds like fairlyland eh?

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We walked along the perimeter of the garden and crossing another bridge in the middle, we reached the most magnificient bridge and pond, which was in the center of this garden. Yes, that was the famous Water Lily Pond! And yes, it deserved to be famous!

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This birdge was bigger than the others, and was covered with purple flowers. Aaaaaaaah. It looked absolutely gorgeous! And this bridge looked upon the pond which was supposed to be filled with the water lilies that Monet painted. At this point of time they weren’t in full bloom, but we could make out that this was supposed to be it. In any case, it looked heavenly!

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Well, that was all for the gardens. We walked back to the first set of gardens, and then right into Monet’s house. Ofcourse it had all been renovated and open for public. It seemed as if someone actually lived there. It was that perfect! Well, I wish I could live there! And at that point of time, I was SO jealous of Monet! He actually lived here! Like seriously? And he worked on these gardens? He must have been one awesome person!

The house was gorgeous, as I mentioned already. There were small rooms on the left, and a huge living room. On the right side was the dining room and kitchen. On the first floor there were bedrooms, and washrooms. One huge window was open for public to look out into the gardens, which ofcourse looked beautiful.

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The house had a narrow corridor-balcony in the front side of the house. And all that was in green again. (Giggles) 😀

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After looking at the whole place, I could actually cry like a baby, because that was a place so perfect for me to live in! But that wasn’t it. There was more scope to be jealous. Because what we were about to see next was something that I hadn’t planned on, but always dreamed of.

Oh, but before that – The food. We were starving by that time, so we went to eat in the only restaurant (read overpriced) that we had in sight. It was classy. Ofcourse, very expensive because it was in such a touristy place, but it was absolutely classy. La Capucine, it was called.
There was beautifully arranged seating outside. And again, it was kinda unreal. Like a movie set up. Red coloured chairs and tables, pebbles and trees and a small pond with fishes. I had a huge baguette sandwich with Tuna, a bag of my favourite barbeque flavoured lays, a croissant and a can of coca cola. Ah, very filling!

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We had some time before we could get the bus that would take us back to the train station in Vernon, so we decided to walk around a bit.
We were walking a bit uphill, and thats when we came across a very beautiful huge field, next to a row of magnificient houses. And now I wasn’t just jealous of Monet, but also the people who must be living in these houses which were absolutely in fairy land.

As soon as I saw the field, my eyes glowed with excitement. I had always wanted to be in a place like that. You know, sometimes you imagine places that you want to be in? It was something like that for me. And right now, we were just at the bottom of the field. A more thrilling sight was yet to be seen.

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We started walking up the field on the narrow lane next to the barbed wires. We reached the top and thats where I saw a view that my eyes had only daydreamed of. I felt as if I was on a cloud and I was looking down upon this fairyland. There were cows and horses in the fields. The wind was blowing and even though it was a little cold up there, I didn’t feel it at all. The cold wind was soothing and tranquil for me.

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I sat down on the grass, and I said to myself, ‘I don’t wanna leave this place anytime soon.’
There was no other sound, except that of birds chirping, crickets and the wind blowing hard. For a moment I took out my earphones to listen to music as I always do in scenic places. But here, I gave up on that idea, because I realized that the song of nature was much better than any other instrument or lyrics. I think I had tears in my eyes at some point. You might think I’m crazy, but thats what happens when you live your dreams. My home back in India is in a very crowded and noisy place, and I haven’t travelled much. I’ve never seen places like these, even though I’ve always wanted to. So of course, experiences like these would always make me teary eyed, whether it is in France or India. Because nature is the same everywhere . And so are the songs of nature. Though I wish I soon get a chance to see places like these in India, my motherland. That feeling would be so much more special and overwhelming, I’m sure. Because that has been one of my many other dreams since years. Though for this particular experience, I’m very grateful . Because it is not every day that you see your own version of heaven on Earth 🙂

All photos taken by me using iPhone 4, and edited using VSCO.

Le Havre and Étretat – France .

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The beach at Étretat. View from the cliff.

So, during my last few days in France, I decided to visit a few places in Haute Normandie – Upper Normandy region in the North of France. Apparently it is one of the most beautiful regions in France, and I was living in the captial of this region- Rouen.
I was living quite close to the train station, so it was good idea to do some day trips.

Me and my housemate, we decided to go to one of the many seaside towns in the region. The sea in the North-West of France is La Manche – The English Channel, which separates England from France. And there are many small towns that run along the coast. So we could choose to go anywhere for this sea.

Most of my colleagues had suggested going to a small seaside town called ‘Etretat’ . The word sounds beautiful in itself. I definitely didn’t know what they meant by ‘it is beautiful’. I didn’t know what to expect . But I took their word for it, and decided to give it a go.
Now to reach Etretat, we had to go to Le Havre, another seaside town, famous because the during World War II the British bombed the city to prevent its use by the Germans for an invasion of England. It is also a major seaport and inspired many French authors of the 19th and 20th century.
About this town, one of my French colleagues had said : ‘ Either you will hate Le Havre, or you will love it .’ And she was so right when she said that. There was no in between.

We reached Le Havre around noon and went straight to the stone beach, walking most of the distance from the train station.
It was gloomy, I’d say. No, it wasn’t the weather. But just the feel of the town. I knew in that moment that I didn’t like this town at all. Because there was no in-between. It seemed like a ghostly town even during mid day. And then I thought of the fact that this town was bombed during the second world war. .. Maybe places that have suffered reflect the suffering long after its over? Thats the conclusion I could come to.

The Le Havre beach was as gloomy as the streets of the same. Sea and stones. Sea and stones. And those were the only colours – Light blue, gray and white. There was sadness all around. A beautiful sadness. A sadness that touched my heart. I looked all around at the dry colours and mu thoughts turned to the emptiness of life. I wouldn’t say one shouldn’t visit this place. Because it is not everywhere that you get to see and feel the blandness and light shades of life.

Next, we had to take a bus for the much loved French town called Etretat. And what a bus journey that was! All around the French countryside, the small streets, the huge green fields, the pretty houses and what not! I didn’t realize it was quite far because I was loving the bus ride so much, accompanied by music. Music always adds much more happiness to the already existing feeling.

After a while, we reached the destination. Etretat, right in front of the Mairie.
I could already see so many tourists. As we walked into the pretty little streets, it seemed as if this town was only meant for tourists! So many of them! And to please them, you could see fancy restaurants and cafes and souvenir shops, selling the best of Normandy. Bottles of Cider, and the special cups to serve them. Ahem, by the way, I love Cider!

Just like many other towns that I had seen in Europe, this one too seemed like a fairtyale town. There’s definitetly something about these European towns and the streets! A complete contrast from India, the country that I come from.
Soon, we reached the beach, the main attraction of the town. And there, my heart skipped a beat. To say it was gorgeous would be an understatement. It was really, truly, breathtaking!
Now you’d wonder what could be so breathtaking about a beach. A stone beach, actually.
Well, the cliffs were what made the beach look absolutely gorgeous!
Those weren’t just any normal cliffs. They were artistic. As though someone had painted them such. Guy De Maupassant, the famous French author had said that one of the big cliffs looks like its an elephant putting its trunk in the sea. And it really did! Haha. Thats like naturegasm for nature lovers!
I stood there for a long time, looking at the beautiful views and the happy people all around. And ofcourse, since it was stone beach, we spent a long time throwning stones in the water to see who can throw it the farthest. Yes, I can be that kiddish. But come on, its funnnnn! 😀

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Étretat.

Next, we climbed the cliff. From far away down at the beach, I could see the greenery up on the cliff, and that ofcourse, inspired me to go up there, although we were already quite tired by then. But you see, views from cliffs are always worth the effort and energy.

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Climbing the cliff.

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Walking back from the cliff to the beach.

And definitely, it was. One could see the other elephant cliff from above and also, the whole town and the beach, which looked absolutely amazing. And there, I was high on nature. Both physically and metaphorically.