Copyright Emilio Del Tessandoro 2017.

Sunrise at the cliffs of Étretat

Let me tell you about the morning I went to photograph the beautiful cliffs of Étretat, France. It was on a cold day in November 2017, when I visited the cliffs for the first time.

It’s never easy to wake up for the Sunrise, especially because you never know how it’s gonna be. In my case it was raining, and you always think in that moment:

Maybe I should go back to bed. It’s cold and rainy.

But you also think that you are there for that opportunity so you give it a try anyway. So you take your rain gear, pack up the few things that are not already in the backpack and go.

You know you made the right choice when you enter the car and randomly, on the radio, there is really good music (I never listened before to Indochine).

After a 20 minutes drive I arrived to the little town of Étretat to park the car. I was very lucky to find the closest possible spot to the beginning of the path up to the cliffs.

I started walking and it was still almost completely dark, and still raining.

But the more you go up, the more light starts to appear around you and the less it rains. You start to realize how freaking amazing is the place you are right now. And the place is there all for you, no crowds, no tourists.

Just you and nature.

And it’s beautiful, it’s comfortable, you feel home. It’s doesn’t matter if it’s cold or it’s freezing. It doesn’t matter if you slept 4 hours, you didn’t eat and you are tired. You just feel you are in the right place.

There is a beautiful phrase by Guido Rey, an Italian alpinist, that says:

La Montagna è fatta per tutti, non solo per gli Alpinisti. Per coloro che desiderano il riposo nella quiete, come per coloro che cercano nella fatica un riposo ancora più forte.

That I guess can be translated to English more or less like:

Mountains are for everybody, not only for Alpinists. For those who desire to rest into tranquility, and for those who search into the exertion a rest that is even stronger.

Sometimes you are so lucky to really feel these words.

When I arrive at the top of the cliff I get the chance of taking some photos, given the rain is not strong as before. No crazy colors, but still an incredible landscape. And you feel so alive and so rewarded for the experience that simply you don’t want to go back. Then, eventually you need to eat something so you have to go back.

From this I learned, once again, to never miss a sunrise. Especially in Étretat.