The Vaches Noires Cliffs, a paleontological treasure in Villers sur Mer

The Vaches Noires Cliffs, were featured on the French television news broadcast Monday July 12, 2021. Discover the report by clicking on the link below:

The Vaches Noires Cliffs in Villers-sur-Mer in the spotlight at the news broadcast on the French televison TF1 on July 12, 2021


Over 100 meters high, the Vaches Noires Cliffs, stretch for 5 kilometers along the beach between Villers sur Mer and Houlgate. They are distinguished by their exceptional geological and paleontological richness and by their natural beauty. The cliffs originate from the accumulation of marine sediment deposits from the Jurassic period, 160 million years ago. In these different geological layers, many fossils have been and continue to be discovered: pliosaurs, ichthyosaurs, marine crocodiles, ammonites, sea urchins, sponges … The deposit even delivered dinosaur remains!

The name « Vaches Noires » literally « Black Cows » does not come from the cliffs themselves, but from the large blocks of chalk collapsed at the foot of the cliffs on the beach and covered with algae, which reminded sailors, seen from the sea, of a herd of bovines grazing quietly by the sea.

Classified « Natural Area of ​​Ecological, Faunistic and Floristic Interest » in 1995 by the Ministry of the Environment, it is from the beach, but only at low tide, that we can discover this exceptional site and collect the 160 million years old fossils that it conceals. Guided tours, with fossils research, are offered all year round by the Tourist Office of Villers sur Mer. Some fossils found during walks on the Vaches Noires cliffs are presented at the reception and in the tearoom as decoration in the boutique windows areas of our hotel.

The Falaises des Vaches Noires offer a unique geological heritage in the world, where geologists from all over the world come to carry out research. Curious and passionate about paleontology, young and older, will be able to learn more about this exceptional geological heritage at the Paléospace museum in Villers sur Mer.


Located a 10-minute walk from the Hotel Outre-Mer, the Falaises des Vaches Noires are accessible by the beach at low tide only. Access from the cliffs themselves is prohibited in order to preserve the biodiversity of flora and fauna and to ensure the safety of visitors from the risk of landslides.