The department of Seine Maritime embraces the high chalky cliffs of the dramatic ‘Alabaster Coast’.
On this stretch of the north Normandy coast, major ports rub shoulders with charming resorts such as Etretat where the cliff formations are at their most amazing.
The 18 hole links course at Golf d’Etretat, rated amongst the top 25 best courses in France, has fabulous views over the Channel and a club house restaurant serving fresh local farm produce.
Visitors arriving in Seine Maritime should not be in a hurry to leave the department as there is plenty to enjoy here - historic buildings, charming countryside, and comparatively empty roads as the majority of holidaymakers head further south.
Le Havre, the second largest port in France, was rebuilt along twentieth century lines after suffering heavy damage during World War II. Its Musee Malraux is one of the best designed art galleries in France.
The smaller port of Dieppe is also a resort. Originally popular with nineteenth century Parisians, Dieppe’s commercial docks are thriving and the long beach and bustling shops are still a magnet for English day-trippers.
The fishing port of Fecamp is close to the Abbey where Benedictine monks first produced their now famous liqueur. If you don’t fancy a sample neat, try it poured over a traditional crepe. Inland, historic Rouen, famous as the place of Joan of Arc’s martyrdom, has many fine buildings and the Beaux Arts museum.