Normandy and beyond
The Channel coastline of Normandy and La Manche requires the biggest W swells or locally produced windswell to create any worthwhile rides. It lacks both power and consistency, but it's the closest surf to Paris and the chalk cliff scenery is a stunningly unique backdrop. The most consistent area is the northern part of the Cotentin Peninsula, which faces due W, while the coast of Normandy works mostly in SW storms. The premier spot of Etretat is perfectly aligned to pick up the SW swell and deflect the strong accompanying SW winds in a cross-shore direction, keeping the lefts clean in a gale. Some of the Channel spots also break on short fetch NW-NE wind-chop, when onshore wind is essential to wave creation. Winter is the best time to score anything decent, but the mega tides, heavy rips and freezing water temperatures challenge even the hardiest surfers.