Are you going to Le Tréport? Stop by the "funi" (short for funicular in French)!…
No spectacular arrival in Le Tréport, without taking the funicular! Take the funicular railway from the top of the cliff, ride through the chalk tunnel and come out above the roofs.
Impression N° 1: the view is just wow!
Impression N° 2: your visit to this pretty fishing village located at the northern end of Normandy is on the right track…
Le Tréport without its funicular railway, it is a bit like a cake without the icing or an ice cream without chocolate…, something important is missing. We all agree, Le Tréport (and Eu, which is only a stone's throw away) is well worth spending the whole day there. But it would be too bad to miss your entrance.
And so, no arguing, you must see the town from above thanks to its legendary funicular railway (yes, legendary, let's not mince words…).
Here you are in the blue cabin. Before pressing the button "down" with a firm and unwavering finger, let me tell you its story. I promise it won't be long… The construction began in 1907; men started the excavation work with pickaxes. Two month later
(how incredibly quick!), two fine tunnels linked the lower station to the “Terraces”. And in July 1908, big crowds of holiday-makers thronged behind the Count and Countess of Eu to inaugurate the line.
In the wooden railway cars, 48 passengers squeezed together in the 4 compartments. 2,000 visitors bought tickets that day. Already successful… After a long pause, the funicular railway began to operate again in 2006 in response to popular request.
Nowadays, no more ticket, the funicular railway is free! As is the car park on the cliff1 most of the time. Before going down, have a walk along the coastal footpath known as the "customs officers' path" (not too close to the edge, please) and stop to admire the panoramic view next to the upper station. If Le Tréport's motto is “Prenez la vie au grand large” ("Look on the sea side of life"), here, it is rather the sea view that looks at you! On the right, you can make out the massive royal Château d’Eu. In the foreground in front of you, the town and all its roofs, Saint-Jacques church, the white and green lighthouse at the end of the jetty, the esplanade, the inner harbour and the always-busy quays; further away, there is Mers-les-Bains, a beautiful seaside resort. And towards the west, water, lots of water…
The Atlantic Wall
Back to your cabin. And off you go. The ride down lasts exactly 1 minute and 55 seconds. First, it takes you through a tunnel with beautiful brick vaults dating back to 1907.
Once you've been through this work of art, you emerge above the slate roofs of the Cordiers' (Line fishers) neighbourhood. The slope has a gradient of 63% which gives you the impression of swooping down on the town. And while you are here, let me tell you, there is a defensive labyrinth in the cliff you have just been through, the Kahl-Burg, which was dug by the Germans after the Canadians launched a raid on Dieppe in 1942. This is part of the Atlantic Wall. Under your feet, the Cordiers' (Line fishers) neighbourhood is a quite recent one, two centuries old at most, that has been reclaimed from the sea. It was first inhabited by fishermen who were too poor to buy nets and who used to fish with long fishing lines with hooks.
In the Cordiers' (Line fishers) Neighbourhood
Here you are, back on terra firma. You can now start exploring Le Tréport. Wander round the little streets in the Cordiers' neighbourhood and look up to see the wrought-iron balconies, stained-glass bow-windows and the pretty ceramic tiles decorating the facades. Some even bear sweet messages “Jnek Sa”, “San Phe Pah”… Make the most of your day and of the numerous information panels throughout the town. Don't miss the municipal fish market and its stalls full of fish and shellfish, and be sure to take your time. In summer and every Saturday and on eves of bank holidays, the funicular railway will take you back to your car until a quarter to one in the morning. In summer, the cliffs are still lit up. The ride up looks even more beautiful than the ride down…
*1 Charged only on weekends and bank holidays and from 15 June to 15 September (2€50/day).