Getting to the white chalk cliffs and natural arches of Étretat in Normandy is easy by car or by bus from Le Havre with public transportation from Paris by train and bus taking less than three hours. Flixbus has direct seasonal buses from Paris to Etretat.
Etretat with its white cliffs and three natural arches is hugely popular with day-trippers and holidaymakers in Normany, France. Étretat is easiest reached by car but public transportation is also available. For most travelers using public transportation, the easiest option is the direct seasonal buses of Flixbus from Paris to Etretat. A good alternative is to use a train to Le Havre or Bréauté—Beuzeville and from there the local bus service to Etretat. Le Havre has frequent train services arriving from other parts of France including hourly from Paris and Rouen. Etretat may be seen on a rushed day trip from Paris but few would regret staying in Etretat or elsewhere in Normany overnight.
Travel by Car to Etretat in Normandy, France
The picturesque little seaside village of Etretat is in the Département Seine-Maritime in the Région Haute Normandie (Upper Normandy) in France. Etretat is an easy drive on route D940 from Le Havre or Fecamp. The closest autoroute is the A29 – exits 6 and 7 are both around half an hour’s drive from Etretat on small country roads.
Driving distances and times to Etretat are around:
- 30 km / 0h40 from Le Havre
- 16 km / 025 from Fecamp
- 80 km / 1h45 from Dieppe
- 70 km / 1h20 from Jumièges
- 106 km / 1h20 from Rouen
- 140 km / 2h00 from Giverny
- 200 km / 2h30 from Versailles
- 200 km / 2h40 Paris (most likely much longer)
- 230 km / 2h50 from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (most likely much longer)
- 275 km / 3h00 from Calais
From Lower Normandy, cross the Seine on the magnificent Pont de Normandie bridge and drive to Etretat either through the outskirts of Le Havre or for lighter traffic but more country roads leave the Autoroute A29 at exit 6 or 7.
- 60 km / 1h00 from Honfleur
- 110 km / 1h40 from Caen
- 140 km / 2h00 from Bayeux
- 230 km / 3h00 from Mont St Michel
Parking in Etretat is often problematic during the high season but with luck, a place may be found right at the beach at Place du Général De Gaulle (charge). Cheap or free parking areas are on the outskirts of town. (The parking lot near Les Jardin d’Etretat and Chapelle Notre Dame de la Garde is not currently accessible.)
Public Transportation by Train and Bus to Etretat in Normandy
Travelers using public transportation to Etretat usually take a mainline train to Le Havre station and then change to bus 13 or 509 for Etretat. During the summer season, it is often also possible to change to a bus (17 / 504) already at Bréauté—Beuzeville station for a total traveling time from Paris Saint Lazarre station to Etretat of just less than three hours. From Paris, the direct Flixbus is often the best option but this service is also seasonal and does not operate daily.
Trains arrive frequently in Le Havre from Paris and Rouen. However, the lack of bridges across the Seine means that travelers from most other parts of France will have to change trains at either Rouen or Paris-Saint Lazare en route to Le Havre. French train tickets may be bought from the official websites of French Railways such as Oui.SNCF and RailEurope but Trainlines are often far easier to use.
(Etretat station is only serviced by velo-rail – a type of bicycle train for tourists; enquire from the tourist office for details.)
Bus 13 from Le Havre to Etretat
The main bus service to Etretat is line 13 between Le Havre Gare and Etretat (stopping at Marie and Gare in Etretat). The bus runs mostly hourly with traveling time from Le Havre to Etretat of around an hour.
The bus fare in Seine Maritime is only €2 (€1 for children under 10) irrespective of the distance traveled. Buy tickets from the driver. Travel in a small group? Buy a pack of ten tickets for only €15.
An alternative is the Noman Bus 509 run by Keolis for the Normandie region — these buses also continue to Fechamp and other towns beyond Etretat. Double-check departure times as there are long gaps in the timetables.
How to Buy French Train Tickets Online
French railway tickets are available online from many resellers — Trainline is currently often the simplest to use.
SNCF has several official websites: Oui.SNCF is the main site but visitors may be passed on to other SNCF sub-sites with many non-European-based users ending up at RailEurope sites that often sell only long-distance train tickets. Trainline and Omio are generally a lot easier to use and may include searches for competing buses, such as Flixbus, that are price and time-competitive with trains on some popular routes. Try Ouigo for low-cost TGV trains — very good deals are available at quiet times and inconvenient hours.
Trainline and Omio also sell cross-border journeys and tickets for many other European countries. Show-on-mobile phone tickets and print-at-home tickets are generally the best options, collecting tickets at the station is time-consuming. Tickets for short journeys and trains in urban areas (RER & Metro) are usually not sold online.
Transportation from Paris to Etretat by Train and Bus
Travelers from Paris to Etretat have three basic choices:
- The direct Flixbus from Paris to Etretat is usually the fastest and cheapest but the service is seasonal and not daily. Flixbus coaches to Etretat depart from Paris-Bercy but if a second stop is used in Paris, it may often be reached faster by metro than Bercy.
- Train from Paris-Saint Lazare to Bréaute-Beuzeville and then on the SNCF bus 87001 / 504 to Etretat – often available only once or twice per day (or not at all) depending on the season. (See Weekend Break from Paris below for more details on this routing.)
- Train from Paris-Saint Lazare to Le Havre and then on bus 13 to Etretat – the highest frequency and available daily and year-round. (This option is often not listed in online timetables as bus 13 is not bookable online.)
The direct Flixbus is generally the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient way to travel from Paris to Etretat but the service is not daily or available year-round. The train from Paris and change to a bus at Bréaute-Beuzeville is a more convenient and faster routing than traveling via La Havre — and the whole journey may be booked online at Oui.SNCF or Trainline.
Direct InterCity trains (not TGV so no surcharge but sometimes compulsory seat reservations are required) connect Paris-Saint Lazare and Le Havre Gare (and Bréaute-Beuzeville) generally hourly. The journey time is just over two hours.
Day-Trip Transportation from Paris to Etretat
It is possible to see Etretat on a day trip from Paris using public transportation but it requires a lot of travel in a single day and an early start.
On days when the Flixbus service is available, leave Paris-Bercy by bus very early in the morning and return with the late afternoon bus. The Flixbus service is very popular and often booked out – especially on Fridays from Paris and Sundays from Etretat.
When the Flixbus is not available, the best option is the 8:40 train from Paris-Saint Lazare with a change to the bus at Bréaute-Beuzeville to reach Etretat at 11:30. Depart from Etretat at 18:35 to reach Paris at 21:20. This option is usually available daily from mid-April to early September. Only use this option if bookable all the way from Paris to Etretat at Oui.SNCF, Trainline, or any other site or station selling train tickets.
The final option via Le Havre works daily and year-round – online timetables usually only offer the train to Le Havre and very rarely list the bus 13 to Etretat as an option. Start the day early and depart from Paris-Saint Lazare station earlier than 8 am.
On the whole, Paris to Etretat is doable but a lot of travel for a day trip. Few would regret spending the night in Normandy – hotels in Le Havre, Etretat, or even Rouen will almost certainly be cheaper than in Paris.
Transportation from Paris to Etretat for Weekend Breaks
Etretat is a very popular weekend destination from Paris. As a result, many more fast connections are available than on standard weekdays. Flixbus on Friday usually departs from Paris in the afternoon rather than the morning and several special extra train and bus services are available via Bréauté Beuzeville.
Take the train from Paris-Saint Lazare (or Rouen) to Bréauté Beuzeville (a stop shortly before Le Havre) and then bus 504 to Etretat. This routing is usually available daily from mid-April to early September leaving Paris at 8:40 to arrive in Etretat at around 11:30. On Friday and Saturday, several further services are available.
The daily return services depart from Etretat at 18:35 to reach Paris Saint Lazare at 21:23 with extra services on Saturdays and Sundays.
Etretat is surprisingly seldom included in day-trip tours but easy to visit on public transportation.
More on Etretat in Normandy, France
- See Transportation to Etretat for more details on getting to Etretat by car, train, and bus.
- Walk on the White Cliffs and Arches of Etretat in Normandy, France
- Buy tickets online for Les Jardins d’Etretat open-air modern art museum and park.
- See Trains and Bus Service to Etretat at Trainline
- See Flixbus, Trainline, or Oui-SNCF for the exact timetables, and bus and train availability.
- Book Day-Trip Tours and Excursions in Normandy
- More photos of Etretat on Flickr