Two weeks ago Mr M declared that he just had to get out of Paris for a couple of days and I had to tell him where we'd go. Of course we had to go to the coast, but as we'd just been to Deauville, which is the closest beach to the city, I picked the next closest, nice beach I knew of, Etretat. We had both been before but loved it, so we very excited to spend two days lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean until our skin was all pruney. But, Monday afternoon, as we drove deeper and deeper into Normandy and the sky slowly gave way to clouds and the windscreen wipers had to be turned on on more than one occasion, we realised that this trip wouldn't be the one we had our hearts set on having. I was hopeful as we sat on a great little terrace in direct falling sunlight for dinner of moules et frites, my favourite sea-side feast, and then went to play on the beach in front of the most gorgeous pink sunset, that the next day would bring a little heat and sunlight for us to enjoy.
A little disappointing as on my previous trip, almost three years ago to the day, this vista had looked like this;
So we took shelter in the hire car and just started driving. As we drove through all the gorgeous towns on our way north to Dieppe for lunch, through the drizzle some bunting caught my eye.
We'd happened upon the most amazing brocante and mercerie store I'd ever seen.
Housed in a former grocery warehouse, La Courtepointe consists of an entrance and three different rooms: a large space in the back full of antiques in all shapes and sizes, a small room off the entry bursting with various haberdashery items once treasured long ago and and a room housing ancient fabric and linen opposite. It felt like I'd stepped back in time. There was no way we could have left empty handed; Mr M got himself some used oil cans and we picked an old, slightly tattered educational poster of a map of greater Paris which I can't wait to frame and put up in our entrée gallery.
After dinner at the same place we had eaten at the night before (it was really great!) we jumped in the car and headed south to be able to catch the sunset from the top of the cliffs. By then, luckily, it had stopped raining. We drove around the golf course at the top of the headland to try to access the peak, but, alas, you just can't. Instead we drove through some amazing wheat fields, past some very angry cows, discovered a light house and stumbled across some abandoned Nazi Germany Atlantic Wall bunkers - jackpot for the history-lover that is Mr M.
After shuffling under some barbed wire to go climb over the bunkers, avoiding cow patties, we high-tailed back to Etretat to climb the cliffs from the beach before nightfall.