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A day on the Alabaster Coast from Dieppe to Etretat

Some ideas to enrich your programmes

© Ville de Dieppe - Lesné Erwan

Falaises de Dieppe

The Alabaster Coast, with its spectacular white chalk cliffs and its seaside resorts, were often painted by the Impressionists.

A renowned seaside resort in the 19th century, the town of Dieppe attracted high society and numerous artists.

Located in a 15th century chateau, the museum of Dieppe illustrates local history with its collection of works in ivory, old maps and paintings. The Impressionist movement is well represented, with works by Renoir, Pissarro, Boudin, and Gonzalès. Also worth seeing are the paintings by Sickert, notably of the church of Saint-Jacques de Dieppe, which he painted in a series just as Monet did with Rouen cathedral.

The church of Saint-Jacques de Dieppe, built between the 12th and 16th centuries, served as a subject for Pissarro, as he composed a stunning series of urban views from his room in the Hotel du Commerce.

The “Dieppe and Impressionist Period Artists” guided tour explores the historic town centre, the marina and the seafront. It is an ideal way to find out about the lives of artists who frequented Dieppe during the Impressionist era.

Impressionist walks, accompanied by a guide, follow the cliffs exploring places depicted by Impressionist painters. They include an introduction to the natural landscape, and the formation of the cliffs. The walks are organised by Dieppe’s service Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (Town of Art and History Service).

© Andrea Sölter

Falaise d'Etretat

From the church of Saint-Valéry at Varengeville, the whole of the Alabaster Coast can be seen in a single panorama. It attracted not only the Impressionists, but also many artists in their wake (Braque, Picasso, Miró, Cocteau).

In the 1870s, Veules-les-Roses attracted an entire colony of Russian painters who came here to learn about open-air painting. Later, in about 1910, American painters arrived in Giverny. The village is crossed by the Veules, the shortest river in France, measuring just one kilometre in length!

A fishing port and seaside resort, Fécamp attracted numerous artists with its authentic and natural charm. A number of guided tours of Fécamp and its surroundings bring Impressionism to life through the writings of Guy de Maupassant, the paintings of Claude Monet, and the places that most greatly inspired the artists.

Between Fécamp and Etretat, the village of Yport, with its beaches, rocks and cliffs, inspired other artists: Corot, Renoir, Schuffenecker, Laurens, Fourié, Dieterle.

In the course of the 19th century, Etretat became an artistic centre where painters met (Isabey, Le Poittevin, Delacroix, Courbet, Monet, Boudin), as well as writers (Guy de Maupassant, Maurice Leblanc) and musicians (Jacques Offenbach). With its spectacular white chalk cliffs, and breathtaking views out to sea, it frequently featured in paintings.

Don’t miss


To extend your stay…

…between Dieppe and Varengeville-sur-Mer

… from Fécamp to Etretat


© eliophot - JF. Drean

Hôtel des Ifs - Barnevile-Carterêt (Manche)

© Calvados Tourisme

Noix de Saint Jacques

(c) Yuri Arcurs - Fotolia