You are currently viewing Saint Léonard Beach – What’s this little Normandy beach worth?

To get away from it all, we spent 10 days in Saint Léonard, Normandy. Lodging just a few hundred meters from the beach, we went there many times.

See photos of the beach and read our tips and recommendations.

Where is Saint-Léonard beach?

Saint Léonard is a small Normandy town in the Seine-Maritime region. It is just a few minutes’ drive from Fécamp and a quarter of an hour from the cliffs of Etretat.

The beach can be reached via the Grainval road. At the end of this road, you come to a footpath some 100 m long, and a staircase leads down to the beach.

What is the size and surface of the beach?

It’s not a big sandy beach where hundreds of tourists can lie back and sunbathe.

The beach is wild, covered with pebbles and rocks fallen from the cliffs, and narrow.

For safety reasons, you must not walk under the cliffs. However, when the tide is out, you can walk close to the water but far enough away from the cliffs.

If pebbles are neither practical nor totally horrible to walk on, this is not so much the case with rocks. Barefoot, you risk hurting yourself.

Is it easy to park near Saint Léonard beach?

Just upstream from the beach steps, there’s a parking lot with space for around 30 vehicles. At the end of June, it was practically deserted. I have no idea how busy the beach is in summer, but I suspect that holidaymakers prefer the better-maintained, supervised beaches nearby.

Is it possible to swim in Saint Léonard?

Yes, but no! More concretely, there’s the sea, and there’s nothing to stop you going in.

rocks saint leonard beach
The many pebbles and rocks make barefoot walking and swimming difficult.

However, I’ve tried it and there’s one major problem. Once you take it upon yourself to enter the very cool water of the Normandy coast, you soon realize that a considerable amount of rock has fallen from the cliffs and rolled into the water.

As a result, when you walk and swim, you’re constantly coming across large stones and even rocks. Between feet suffering on protruding rocks (despite water shoes) and knees at risk of rubbing against a rock at any moment, I wouldn’t recommend the experience!

If you want to swim, go to other beaches that are freer of cliffs and therefore have fewer rocks. Nearby Fécamp or Yport are good alternatives.

What’s more, as I said earlier, this beach is unsupervised (which makes sense, since apart from me, I didn’t see anyone venturing into the water…).

Is Saint Léonard beach suitable for families?

It may be suitable for a little fishing, but no more. Children can’t swim and can’t play games like Frisbee or ball games. The pebble beach slopes downwards and there are too many rocks, so the balance is precarious for any physical activity.

cliffs saint leonard beach
At low tide, the beach at Fécamp is just a few hundred meters away on foot (on pebbles!).

At low tide, you can walk to the beach at Fécamp. But it’s a walk that appeals more to adults than to children…

Can I take my dog to the beach at Saint Léonard?

On the plus side, as the beach is unsupervised and not very crowded, you can bring your dogs along. Just make sure they don’t run too close to the cliffs, and let them smell the seaweed and have fun putting their paws in the water. Even for them, the sea is no fun to swim in, and hidden rocks are dangerous.

dog saint leonard beach
Allowed on the beach, Jodie took the opportunity to pose like an Instagram girl.

Our bitches ran with great gusto without venturing into the water. I watched jealously as they moved effortlessly over the pebbles while I slipped and slipped…

My overall opinion of Saint Léonard beach

As you can see, the beach at Saint Léonard is not the place for swimming, sports or family fun.

So what’s it made for? The rest! Amélie and I loved its calm. We’d walk down the Grainval staircase, pass a few people and go off-center to enjoy the absolute peace and quiet.

sun saint leonard beach
Alone on the beach, the sunset was very pleasant.

You can look at the horizon, the boats, sunbathe, read and chat without being disturbed. In the evening, we were able to admire a sunset while being totally alone on the beach – a real pleasure!

The beach has its own little star: “La Roche qui pleure.” Continuous water flows from part of the rock face. Although it’s not a waterfall, you can see several streams of water flowing onto the beach. It’s an unusual sight that can’t be ignored, as it’s the first thing before your eyes as you descend the stairs.

rock who cries
La Roche qui Pleure, a natural beauty to be admired on the beach of Saint Léonard.

In conclusion, choose Fécamp, Yport or Etretat for all the classic water and beach activities. For peace and quiet, this is a good option.

As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!