Don’t Miss These Hidden Gardens In Etretat (Jardins d’Etretat)

Hidden gardens in Etretat
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If I hadn’t read about these unique gardens in Etretat, I would likely not have visited them and that would have been a shame. These hidden gardens in Etretat, simply called, “Jardins d’Etretat”, are rather unusual, to say the least, but they also offer amazing views of the town and the Etretat Cliffs.  I highly recommend a visit to the gardens and fortunately, they are located right by Falaise d’Amont, Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Gard, and Monument “L’Oiseau Blanc” (which honors the two French pilots who disappeared near Etretat during their flight from Paris to New York City), so you’ll have other sights to see nearby.

Creation Of The Hidden Gardens In Etretat

In the early 1900s, famous French actress Madame Thébault built a grand villa and an even grander garden in Etretat. She hired gardener Auguste Lecanau to begin construction of her garden which she designed with inspiration from Etretat resident and famed painter, Claude Monet. He was also an avid gardener.

The gardens were opened to the public in the fall of 2016 with a combination of permanent and traveling exhibitions on display. The gardens are not designed in your typical fashion with just trees, flowers, and bushes, however. They are rather avant-garde.

Visiting Jardins d’Etretat

When you enter the gardens, you are given a map to follow with an explanation about the various gardens within the Jardins d’Etretat (or you can just wander).  Some of the gardens are interactive and all have a theme or story behind them. Some of my favorites include

1. My Absolute Favourite: Claude Monet

Wiktor Szostalo's twig sculpture of Claude Monet-Jardins d'Etretat
Wiktor Szostalo’s twig sculpture of Claude Monet-Jardins d’Etretat

Polish artist, Wiktor Szostalo, has created a twig sculpture of Claude Monet painting the Etretat landscape. It is reminiscent of Monet’s painting, “Coucher de Soleil à Etretat” (Sunset at Etretat). What I love about this sculpture of vine twigs is that it is perfectly positioned on the edge of the gardens with Etretat and the Falaise d’Aval in the background. You can imagine Monet actually painting this scene of the Côte d’Albatre (Alabaster coast) from this vantage point.

Claude Monet in Etretat-at the hidden gardens in Etretat
Claude Monet in Etretat
Claude Monet and Etretat
Claude Monet and Etretat

On the boardwalk at Etretat are a number of signposts showing works by Monet and they are placed at the spot that he might have stood. This is one of them showing the sardine fishing boats by the Falaise d’Aval.

2. The Clockwork Forest

In this video, you can see me turning a key that is part of the tree. As I turn it you can hear music being played. Whimsical and fun.

3. Le Jardin Emotions

Upon entering the Garden of Sounds, you are presented with sculptures of human faces exhibiting various emotions. These were created by Spanish artist Samuel Salcedo.

4. Tree Hugger Project: Le Jardin des Etreintes et des Arbres

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Artists Wiktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradnik collaborated on this environmental art project which focusses on rediscovering our environment and preserving nature. It has been on display throughout the world over the past number of years.

When you’re visiting Normandy or staying in Etretat, be sure to check out the hidden gardens in Etretat. It will be worth your while as they are so unique.

Les Jardins d’Etretat

  • Open daily 10-7 pm
  • Location: Avenue Damilaville, Etretat

Hidden Gardens In Etretat

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