Hemispheres Europe France Normandy Galleries

Explore Étretat


Étretat

At Étretat

The ocean beats against the stern, dumb shore
The stormy passion of its mighty heart, —
The sky, where no stars shine, is black above,
And thou and I sit from the world apart.

We two, with lives no star of hope makes bright, —
Whom bliss forgets, and joy no longer mocks, —
Hark to the wind's wild cry, the sea's complaint,
And break with wind and sea against the rocks.

Sore-wounded, hurled on the dark shore of Fate,
We stretch out helpless hands, and cry in vain, —
Our joy went forth, white-sailed, at dawn of day;
To-night is pitiless for all our pain.

We are not glad of any morn to come,
Since that winged joy we never more shall see, —
But in the passion of the winds and waves
Something there seems akin to thee and me.

They call! Shall we not go, out on that tide,
To touch, perchance, some shore where tempests cease,
Where no wind blows, and storm-torn souls forget
Their past disasters in that utmost peace?

-- Louise Chandler Moulton

The small and delightful village of Étretat’s dramatic coastal scenery – it’s framed by twin cliffs – made it a favourite of painters such as Camille Corot, Eugène Boudin, Gustave Courbet and Claude Monet. With the vogue for sea air at the end of the 19th century, fashionable Parisians came and built extravagant villas.

-- Lonely Planet