Fécamp is situated in the valley of the river Valmont, at the heart of the Pays de Caux, on the Albaster Coast. It is around 35 km northeast of Le Havre, and around 60 km northwest of Rouen.
According to its late medieval founding legend, the trunk of a fig tree (ficus) carrying the Precious Blood of Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea was washed ashore on the riverbank at Fécamp in the 1st century. Immediately, a fountain of holy blood gushed from the site; the relic attracted many medieval pilgrims, enhancing the reputation of the city.
The monks' legend justified the artificial etymology of the name to Fici-campus, the camp of the fig tree. Fécamp, however, is mentioned in 875 as Fiscannum and in 990 as Fiscannus and as late as 1496 which stem from the Germanic root fisc (English "fish") with an unknown suffix. It used to be the name of the Valmont River.