When visiting the Alabaster Coast in Normandy, Cap Fagnet is a must-see as it offers some of the best views of the cliffs.
You can also admire the whole city of Fécamp and travel in time with the bunkers of the Second World War.
Here is our guide to help you plan your visit: map, tips and photos.
Why visit Cap Fagnet near Fécamp? (Cape Fagnet)
Cap Fagnet is one of our favorite stopovers along the Alabaster coast.
Located just north of Fécamp, it offers :
- A view of the town of Fécamp, its beach and the cliffs on the opposite side
- Beautiful views of the high white cliffs sculpted by the elements – one of the most beautiful landscapes in Normandy (in my opinion).
- World War II bunkers, including the impressive Mammut
- A charming chapel
Below is a short video to give you an idea of what your visit might look like:
More photos after the planning tips.
Tips and Map – Cap Fagnet, Normandy
How to get to Cap Fagnet
- Located on the northern coast of Normandy, called the Alabaster Coast
- Just north of the town of Fécamp, see my article on what to do in Fécamp
- Fécamp to Cap Fagnet = 5 min drive
- Rouen to Fécamp = 1h drive
- Le Havre to Fécamp = 50min drive
- Easy to access
- Here is a map of the location of Fécamp to orient you:
- Large parking lot after the chapel (coming from Fécamp)
- But you can also go there on foot from the city center (uphill) – 30min
- Toilets near the parking lot
- Short walk from the parking lot to the tourist sites
- A flat path all around
- Allow 30min to admire the view or longer to sit and relax
- Always be careful. Do not walk to the edge of the cliffs, they are not very stable. Pieces fall out regularly.
During the high season there is a snack bar.
Otherwise, you have a good choice of restaurants in the city of Fécamp.
There is no hotel at the cliff top.
The city of Fécamp offers a good range of accommodation with charming apartments for rent, bed and breakfast and hotels. For example:
- Hotel Le Grand Pavois – with view on the sea, the city or the harbor – lots of light – see prices, pictures and availability
- The Sunset Beach – apartment directly on the beach – See photos and availability.
- B&B A la Maison Blanche – located in the center of the city – See photos and availability
- Front row seats – modern apartment with great sea views, further from the city center – See photos and availability
- or see the best rated accommodations in Fécamp
Chapel of Our Lady of Salvation
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the cape is the charming chapel with its golden statue.
It is closed but you can appreciate the architecture and the exterior style with the colored rocks.
This is what the legend says:
Robert the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy (1027 – 1035) was saved from a shipwreck. He vowed to build 3 chapels: La Délivrande in the city of Caen, Notre Dame de Grâce in Honfleur and Notre Dame du Salut in the city of Fécamp.
After its construction, this one in Fécamp became a rich priory. A part of the surrounding wall can still be seen.
The more recent history follows:
During the 16th century, the chapel was partially and progressively destroyed by the wars of religion. The roof of the nave disappeared and then, the vault was about to collapse.
It was saved, not as a religious building, but as a useful recognition point for sailors, because it was located on a cape.
When walking around the cape, be aware of the noises. Sometimes you can hear three horns blowing from a boat. It is the crew that asks Our Lady to grant them “a good wind and a beautiful sea”.
A little more patience…
our travel guide to Normandy is under construction!
Bunkers of the Second World War – Blockhaus of Cap Fagnet
Afterwards, the path will lead you to well-preserved bunkers dating from the Second World War.
About the German occupation
Fécamp was occupied by German troops from June 1940 to September 1944.
For fear of invasion, Hitler built a series of protective buildings along the coast (in 1942) called the “Atlantic Wall”.
Some of them were built here. They are reinforced with concrete.
Due to the strategic location of this cape and with a port to defend, the navy built a complex including:
- a lookout post with a direction finder for shooting
- a Mammut bunker
- a light shelter
- several positions in Tobruk
The “Mammut” Bunker
It is a special bunker. It was built to include a Mammut radar antenna, used for long range detection.
It was to be installed on a V143 bunker. However, in 1944, the installation was not completed.
But you can still see the bunker with its 3 concrete blocks above which the radar antenna was supposed to be positioned (a very large antenna, you can see a drawing on the explanation board on the site).
Other radars were to be installed around the Mammut radar. For example, the bunker below was for a Freya radar.
There are many other defensive elements to see around the area. I let you explore and discover them (for example the Tobruk bunker and its holes). Explanatory panels have been installed.
Contact the tourist office for a guided tour of the bunker area.
Panorama on Fécamp
If you continue walking along the boardwalk past the bunkers, you will reach a viewpoint. It offers a splendid view, as the cape reaches 105 m above the sea water.
On a clear day, the view extends to Yport and Etretat.
From here, you can admire the whole city of Fécamp with :
- the big valley dug in the cliffs,
- the port with several bays
- the grey pebble beach
- the cliffs on the opposite side
- and the town of Fécamp – if you look carefully, you can see the famous Benedictine palace, the abbey and the Pecheries museum
The valley cutting the cliffs in 2 shelters the Valmont river. It is 14 km long.
The chalk cliffs in this area are about 100 m high. Around Fécamp, as in Etretat, they are mostly white (other colors appear in other regions).
Like most of the beaches of the Alabaster Coast, the beach of Fécamp is made of grey pebbles.
Cliffs of Fécamp – Alabaster Coast
The high cliffs of Fécamp
Then you can walk a little along the cliffs. A portion of the walking path may be closed.
Looking north, all you see is a wall of cliffs. This is very impressive.
Always be very careful. Do not walk to the edge of the cliffs!!! They are made of chalk and are not very stable.
I recommend you bring binoculars to appreciate all the details.
A nature reserve for birds
The area is also protected for its abundant birdlife (Natura 2000). The cliffs and pastures are perfect for birds looking for a nesting place.
Depending on the season, you may be able to spot them:
- Northern Fulmar
- the Great Cormorant
- the herring gull
- Black-legged Kittiwake
- the great black-backed gull
A wind farm
Above the site, you will also notice the wind farm.
The region is very windy all year round. I recommend that you bring layers of clothing. You never know what the weather will be like.
This is one of my favorite views. Wonderful!
Plan your trip to Normandy!
Semaphore and GR21
Cap Fagnet is located on the GR21 hiking trail that runs along the Alabaster coast (179 km, for about 9 days).
The last building you can notice on the Cape is the Semaphore. It was first built in 1906 under Napoleon I. It was established for defense purposes to detect any potential threat arriving by sea.
Today, it is managed by the French Navy (Marine) and has different surveillance roles such as assistance to navigation or regulation of maritime traffic and fishing.
Don’t make the same mistake we did!
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So our trip started with a “blocked card” call… Not funny at all!
Learn from our mistake, make a small VPN investment to surf without worry.