By a curious coincidence, or perhaps bad planning, or rather, good planning, I've spent the last two weekends on the Normandy coast.
The first weekend I went to Trouville and Deauville, which are two separate towns so close that they actually share a train station. Deauville is where swanky Parisians go for their weekends at the seaside and is rather posh. Trouville, on the other side of the river, is not quite so posh. Naturally, I stayed in Trouville, at the excellent campsite where, if you get a good spot, you can unzip your tent door in the morning and get a fabulous view over the sea before scrambling down to the beach for an early morning swim. Having bought my tent for 25 euros in Decathlon the weekend before, and given that my last recent purchases from said shop include the bike with the dodgy brakes and an inflatable mattress that automatically deflated itself in the course of the night, I was rather relieved to wake up each morning and find that the tent was still standing. Despite many early expereinces swimming in the North sea and off the west coast of Scotland, I wasn't actually brave enough to dive into the water first thing in the morning, but we did manage a swim on Sunday afternoon and it actually felt quite warm! We spent most of the rest of the weekend wandering on the beach, barbecueing, picnicking and drinking cider, which in Normandy is considered to be a soft drink.
The next weekend, I found myself admiring the cliffs at Etretat, which are the French version of the white cliffs of Dover. The rock is so vulnerable to the relentless attack of the sea that all along the coast there are natural arches and vertiginous precipices. Unfortunately, I left the memory card for my camera in the computer that weekend, so you'll either have to imagine it or Google it.
I like Normandy a lot. It's green and pretty and looks like the countryside, and it has the kind of vast, sandy beaches that I remember from my childhood, but a few degrees warmer. I'm not sure it would be healthy for me to stay there for long though – along with the cider, the local specialities are cream, cheese and calvados, and I enjoyed them all!