ANGELA BIRD'S

Northern France
What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais

 

ACTIVITIES IN NORTHERN FRANCE

 

 

 


 




Steam train at Le Crotoy; Golf at Hardelot; Sailing at Gravelines; Bird-watching at Marquenterre.
First three © Angela Bird, far right © Luke Smith.

There is no shortage of things to do once you step ashore at Calais, Boulogne or Dunkerque.
Most of these things are already in the book,
but here are some useful links to appropriate websites.

 
Area numbers relate to the section divisions in Angela Bird’s Northern France guidebook
.

 

 


 

 




ACCESSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Many of the seaside resorts in
Northern France specialise in making life simpler for people of reduced mobility.
At Petit-Fort-Philippe, near Gravelines, for example, a painted line along the pavement shows the easiest route for wheelchairs to reach the beach.

Several resorts have Tiralos or Hippocampes on loan during July and August  from the lifeguard station. These are beach-going wheelchairs, that can be wheeled right into the water. Resorts with this facility include Sainte-Cécile, Le Touquet, Merlimont and Stella-Plage.

There are, of course, dedicated parking spaces for disabled users; to keep able-bodied French motorists at bay, they sometimes sport a notice saying, roughly translated: “Take my parking space, but take my handicap with it”.

The blue Tourisme-et-Handicap logo, left, indicates what facilities are specially available (to help with motor, mental, hearing, or seeing problems).

 

 

 

 

BATTLEFIELD VISITING
There is so much scope for this – from Stone Age forts, through the Hundred Years War to both World Wars. 
See the Battlefields page of this site for some suggestions.





BIRDWATCHING
Best sites are coastal ones: near Oye-Plage, Dunkerque jetty, the Deux Caps, and Marquenterre bird reserve; of marshland such as the Marais Audomarois, near St-Omer

 The website Birdwatching in the Calais/Boulogne area
gives a detailed description of what you can expect to see, and where.

 

CYCLING
For the Nord département, you can visit this page of the county tourist board’s website to download maps of cycling and walking trails. Instructions are in English.

If you visit the Pas-de-Calais Tourist Board website and then click on "Download", near the bottom left of the page, you reach a page of free map downloads where you can scroll down to "Bike riding", and then fix on the area you want.

This page from the Somme Tourist Board’s website  gives you the opportunity to ask for “circuits de randonnée” (cycle and walking routes). Tick “VTT” for cycling/mountain-biking trails, and then the word “rechercher” – and  the map below will sprout lots of little symbols, each one representing a route. You can click on these for more information – though as far as I have been able to find, it is usually in French only.



GOLF
Here is a link to a site that takes you to information about the golf courses of the Nord and the Pas-de-Calais.

This page produces a map with the golf courses of the Somme highlighted, if you click first on “Loisirs” and then on “Les Golfs”.

WALKING
For the Nord département, you can visit this page of the county tourist board’s website to download maps of cycling and walking trails. Instructions are in English.

If you visit the Pas-de-Calais Tourist Board website http://www.uk.pas-de-calais.com/ and then click on "Download", near the bottom left of the page, you reach a page of free map downloads where you can scroll down to "Hiking-Walking", and then fix on the area you want.

This page from the Somme Tourist Board’s website  gives you the opportunity to ask for “circuits de randonnée” (cycle and walking routes). Tick “pédestres” for hiking trails, and then the word “rechercher” – and the map below will sprout lots of little symbols, each one representing a route. You can click on these for more information – though as far as I have been able to find, it is usually in French only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORTHERN FRANCE
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