LE TOUQUET PARIS PLAGE (3 miles)
Heri Solitudo hodie civitas (Yesterday in solitude, today urban). This sentence written in 1930 by Edouard Lévêque is a perfect summary of the city’s history. Yesterday, there were a desolate moor with nothing but warrens and hares; today it is one of the most welcoming seaside resorts in Europe. The whole story started in the shade, or rather far from the world, in the middle of uninhabited dunes swept by the wind.
MONTREUIL SUR MER (6 miles)
All the monuments in Montreuil-sur-Mer are open to the public: the city walls, citadel, abbey… all those places that have inspired so many writers. Commanding the former Canche estuary, Montreuil was the only port in the kingdom during the Capetian era. The town is surrounded today by 3km of city walls from where there are superb views over the Canche valley. In spite of the destruction and ruin that the town has suffered over the centuries, Montreuil is in fact noted for the charm of its picturesque byways, 18th century residences, cobbled streets and religious buildings, all evidence of its rich medieval past. Montreuil is moreover the departure point for a walk in the Course valley, where the river cheekily meanders between weeping willows, through the surrounding villages and across the fields.
BOULOGNE SUR MER (19 miles)
With a rich heritage deserving of its enviable classification as a « Town of Art and History », the old fortified town bears witness to this name in stone: a 12th century belfry, wonderful 13th century city walls, a fascinating castle-museum, an impressive cathedral and a medieval crypt. Boulogne-sur-Mer is also the first fishing port in France, bringing together all types of port activities: a fleet of fishing boats, preparation, sale and distribution of fish, as well as a marina, now with extended and modernised facilities. Its maritime importance is also confirmed by the National Sea-Life Centre, Nausicaa, located between the port and the beach.
LES 2 CAPS (29 miles)
When you visit Calais area, you will be surprised by the diverse and unspoilt landscapes.
On the coast, proudly facing the white cliffs of Dover, the Caps Blanc-Nez (134m high chalk cliffs) and Gris-Nez (45m high sandstone, clay and chalk) stand on either side of the Bay of Wissant. Off the coast, on the straits of Dover, the busiest sea channel in the world, the non-stop ballet of ships dancing to and fro between Britain and the Continent is conducted by the tall Cross Gris-Nez radar station.
SAINT OMER (50 miles)
Saint-Omer, where marsh water washes around the traditional houses in the Lyzel and Haut-Pont districts, is a medieval-style town, which has retained its architectural splendour.
With its 18th century bourgeois architecture, a Flemish influence and clear remnants of its medieval history, Saint-Omer is a charming town, just waiting to be discovered in each street, each nobleman’s residence, each town house. As a « Town of Art and History », it is dominated by an impressive gothic cathedral, and is proud of its heritage such as, the Sandelin museum, the ruins of the St Bertin abbey and the park. Saint-Omer has managed to combine in perfect harmony the development of its tourist activities with its cultural heritage and marshlands.
CALAIS (38 miles)
Calais is the main French ferry port, with a non-stop ballet of passing boats. But it is also the capital of the lace world! Calais has preserved three constructions by Vauban which bear witness to its history as a stronghold: Fort Risban, the Citadel and Fort Nieulay. Visitors also come here to admire Rodin’s work, the famous “Bourgeois de Calais », and of course the magnificent panorama looking out towards England from the top of the lighthouse.
BAY SOMME (19 miles)
The Bay of Somme is a member of the ‘Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World’, with its expanses of open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows where the sea and the land seem to merge... It is one of France’s major sites for migrating birds. Open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows make up a landscape where water and dry land seem to merge. The bay’s particularly wide mouth into the English Channel offers exceptional vistas that are constantly changing with the tides and the seasons: monochromes in grey, beige or white, vast skies, light effects reminiscent of opal and mother-of-pearl, and walks that will leave you light-headed from the bracing sea air.
MARQUENTERRE PARK (19 miles)
The Parc ornithologique du Marquenterre is THE place to find out more about fauna. A unique wealth of animal and plant life. An unforgettable spectacle you can enjoy all year round. In the heart of the Baie de Somme Nature Reserve, the Parc du Marquenterre offers a completely fresh experienceConcealed by planting screens or observation blinds, you can move across the dunes, marshes, forests and meadows in silence to encounter an extremely diverse fauna and flora.
SAINT VALERY SUR SOMME (25 miles)
Its strategic position on a limestone promontory facing the Bay of Somme means that Saint-Valery-sur-Somme has had a rich and vibrant history. There’s much more to see than the attractive waterside walks, for the curious visitor who is prepared to explore the town’s many other picturesque neighbourhoods. The upper town is a fine example of a mediaeval citadel: the Courtgain, set behind the harbour, is where the sailors lived in their little, brightly-painted, close-set cottages, while the Abbey neighbourhood is more rural with working farms.