From sandy beaches and historic towns to outdoor activities and gastronomic specialities
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Pick up walking and cycling itineraries – and hire bikes or e-bikes – at the Maison du Grand Site des Deux Caps, or download trail leaflets from the Pas de Calais Tourism website. Join a guided cycle tour of Le Touquet from the Tourism Office. Take a guided walk across the Baie de Somme from Le Crotoy to Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme or follow the old towpath on foot or bike through the Somme valley via Abbeville. For cycle tourists, the Vélomaritime long-distance trail links Dunkerque to Roscoff in Brittany.
Coastal resorts offer a wide range of beach and water sports for everyone from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. Try sand yachting on the firm, broad sands of Le Touquet or Fort-Mahon Plage– or just stand and enjoy watching the experts!
Follow marked trails to explore the wetland nature reserve of the Marais de Condette from the Château d’Hardelot, and the nearby dunes and coastal forest at Écault. Join a canoe excursion from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme to see seals in the Baie de Somme; go birdwatching in the Marquenterre; or take a guided boat trip on board the Commandant Charcot. More information from La Maison de la Baie de Somme at Lanchères.
ART & ARCHITECTURE
Get an inside view from a local by booking a guided walking tour with a volunteer Greeter – free visits for up to six people, some available in English. Or download the Street Art trail to guide yourself round the murals of Boulogne. Stroll beneath the flamboyant facades of the Belle Époque coastal villas in towns like Malo-les-Bains, Wimereux and Le Touquet, and take a tour on two feet or two wheels to discover the Art Deco architecture of Le Touquet. Discover a full colour world of ceramics at Desvres.
The eclectic collections of Boulogne’s Castle Museum are guaranteed to surprise. There’s art and archaeology too in the Museum at Berck-sur-Mer and an important collection of family treasures at Chateau of Regnière-Ecluse, 15 minutes from Abbeville and owned by the same family since 1030. Four towns near the coast are included amongst Michelin’s 100 Plus Beaux Détours de France – Bergues, Gravelines, Montreuil-sur-Mer, and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme.
Nausicaá and the Calais Dragon are firm family favourites, whilst medieval history lessons come vividly to life at the Azincourt Museum. Step back in time too with a ride on the vintage steam train around the Baie de Somme from Le Crotoy to Cayeux-sur-Mer.
Learn how to prepare fish with a cookery course at Maréis, a visitor attraction dedicated to the local fishing industry in Étaples. Visit the chocolate factory at Beussent between Montreuil and Desvres and Le Succès Berckois in Berck-sur-Mer for traditional boiled sweets and lollies. Sample the Bière des 2 Caps at Brasserie Noyon on the outskirts of Tardinghen or try the sparkling Perlé made from red fruit by the Delobel family in the Seven Valleys.
From France Today magazine