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Beaches and waves as far as the eye can see

Beaches and waves as far as the eye can see

The Côte d’Opale’s 120 km of beaches, dunes and cliffs unfurl between Calais and Berck-sur-Mer.

It’s a landscape full of contrasts, mixing the bright green of its meadows with the blue-grey of the waves: a region which lives from the sea and plays with the wind.

The Côte d’Opale is traditionally both influenced by the sea and rooted in the land, an alliance that, although often violently broken throughout history, has always been repaired, to form a fragile balance between the waves of the Channel and the furrows of the fields. 
  • Villa Hardelot © E-Desaunois
  • Ville fortifie Boulogne-sur-Mer© S-Flament
  • le touquet-la plage © Anne-Sophie Flament
  • Audresselles © M-Harmel
  • Etaples © M-Harmel
  • Le Touquet-Architecture ©YANNICK CADART CD62
  • Ville fortifie Boulogne-sur-Mer© E-Desaunois
  • Baie d Authie ©A.Chaput Pas-de-Calais Tourisme
  • Wimereux stand-up paddle © A.Chaput - Pas-de-Calais Tourisme

Focus on: The Boulonnais - countryside with a sea view

For centuries, the Denâcre Valley south-east of Wimille has been a favourite walking spot for the inhabitants of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Wimereux and their environs during the summer season. Here you will see a few country houses, farms, mills... Everything exudes calm and beauty just a short hop from the sea and its energising air. The Boulonnais countryside has something very unique; a certain force that blows in from the coast and a sweet life that you only find in the country.
As you enjoy a stroll, you can admire the waterfalls and drink in the wild beauty of the undergrowth, home to rabbits, deer and a variety of owls. The Boulonnais countryside is the unmissable rendezvous for all nature lovers. It shelters an exceptional biodiversity, with its limestone hillsides, its system of bocage hedgerows enclosing orchards and pairies, its wetland areas and its forests. No less than 17,330ha. is listed as an area of natural and ecological interest for their plant and wildlife. The Regional Nature Park of the Les Caps et Marais d'Opale is a unique spot where you can recharge the batteries. Finally, leaving the countryside and heading to the coast, you can walk as far as Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez to fully enjoy the dizzying beauty of the Boulonnais.

Focus on: Around Wissant, head to the fishing villages !

Anchored to Wissant, Audresselles or Tardinghen, little fishing villages located between the Deux Caps and the Boulonnais bocage hedgerows, it is easy to understand why this destination is a dream for tourists attracted by the wild beauty of the Côte d'Opale. Not far away, Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez watch over them. On the beach at Wissant, with twelve kilometers of fine white sands, 'Flobarts', traditional boasts used in the stranding method of fishing, await the tractor that will drag them back up to the village. You can then buy fish fresh from their nets.
The little fishermen's houses and villas of the last century make Wissant a village brimming with charm. Here, activities focusing on the wind, the beach and the fresh air found in abundance. What is more, Wissant is an internationally renowned windsurfing and kite surfing spot. The waves along this coast are not easily tamed and they offer water sport pros a thousand and one big thrills! Sailing along the coast you can explore fishermen's houses that dot the many hamlets, as well as other villages facing the sea. You simply have the cast your net and sample an authenticity that is particular to the straits of Pas de Calais.

Focus on: Berck sur Mer, mixing small pleasures and big thrills !

Walking along the dyke of the Bay of Authie, you can explore the wild beauty of the seaside resort of Berck sur Mer. A former fishing port where the stranding method is practiced and reputed for the quality of its sails, Berck became a health and wellbeing resort during the Napoleonic era thanks to its Maritime Hospital. Nowadays, Berck is still renowned for its therapeutic benefits, although the town is more focused on tourism that is based on leisure activities and biodiversity.
Its immense beach of fine sand (a dozen or so kilometers) is the ideal spot for wind sports: international sand yachting and stunt kite competitions are regularly held here to the delight of all those who love big thrills.
There is no shortage of equestrian clubs taking advantage of the dunes and the beach to offer long promenades on horseback for those who want to get away from it all! Berck is, above all, a place where you can encounter the well-preserved nature of the Côte d'Opale Sud: natural dunes as far as the eye can seen and the Bay of Authie, the last wild bay in Europe, where the flora and fauna provide an extraordinary spectacle.
The charm and tranquility of the town further enhance this idyllic vision of Berck, a re-energising resort where life is a joy.

Focus on: The Trois Pays - life here is three times more intense

At the heart of the Côte d'Opale, you can delight in being surprised by the diversity of the Trois-Pays area. By bike, on horseback or on foot, it is wonderful to travel the countryside around Guînes, whose origins stretch back to the High Middle Ages that followed Roman colonisation. Later on, after the Hundred Years'War, the Field of the Cloth of Gold was set up between Ardres and Guînes in June 1520. King François I of France met King Henry VIII of England there. Guînes was then English, just like Calais until it was reclaimed in 1558.
Situated between Calais and Boulogne, the Trois Pays has been strongly marked by historic events due to its strategic geographical position. Made up of 15 communes and 3 burgs (Guînes, Hardinghen, Licques) and home to nearby 14,000 inhabitants, the Trois Pays is a rural area that can be summed up in three words: Green, Authentic, Living!
Visitors realise immediately that the locals have their feet planted firmly on the ground and that they love helping tourists discover the Trois Pays and enjoy a slice of its authenticity.
With the sea and the forest, the countryside and the village, history and nature, the Trois Pays has only just begun to surprise you.

Zoom : Calais : City of Lace

From the top of Calais’ lighthouse, you can contemplate the sea that blows you away towards the English Coast.

The fine sandy beach is the perfect setting for a myriad of thrilling activities: fly-kiting, sand yachting, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, but also for a family picnic or a walk between sea and land.
Not far from there, the Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin are the guardians of the city hall’s belfry, listed as UNESCO World Heritage site.

The fortified town of Calais is famous for its citadel and suspended fort built up by Vauban.

The IXth century “Bassin du Paradis”, located at the heart of Courgain Maritime district, is also a place to visit which gives a better understanding of the lives of fishermen from past to present. But Calais holds even more surprises… The International City of Lace and Fashion is an outstanding museum where lacemakers and fashion designers savoir-faire is celebrated.

Calais is a fantastic getaway destination and the starting point to your journey through Pas-de-Calais.