Berck-sur-Mer _ Cerfs-Volants © Mairie de Berck-Sur-MerBerck-sur-Mer _ Cerfs-Volants © Mairie de Berck-Sur-Mer
©Berck-sur-Mer, Cerfs-Volants |Mairie de Berck-Sur-Mer

5 great kite‑flying spots

for families and experienced flyers

Between Bray Dunes and Mers-les-Bains you’ll discover more than 118 miles (190km) of wonderful sandy beaches that are perfect for flying kites. Berck-sur-Mer on the Opal Coast is one of the best spots for beginners and families to have some fun. It’s also a great place to admire the incredible freestyle tricks of seasoned flyers who are already masters of their art. It’s both beautiful and impressive.

Northern France _ Berck-sur-Mer_ Kite © Ville de Berck-sur-MerNorthern France _ Berck-sur-Mer_ Kite © Ville de Berck-sur-Mer
©Northern France, Berck-sur-Mer, Kite |Ville de Berck-sur-Mer
Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

01. Le Touquet-Paris-Plage and its chic resort and stunning sunsets

 

 

The seaside resort of Le Touquet flourished in the 19th century thanks to the arrival of the railways. Pretty Art Deco villas line part of the 7.5-mile (12km) stretch of beach. Here, the kids can amuse themselves in complete safety, though look out for kites gate-crashing your picnic on the beach.

Berck-sur-Mer

02. Berck-sur-Mer for its International Kite Festival

The beach at Berck-sur-Mer provides more than a place to fill your lungs with healthy sea air – it’s also a playground for families and friends. There is no shortage of things to do, from building sandcastles and cycling along the promenade to splashing in the sea, feasting on waffles coated in sugar, and flying kites.

Each April, Berck welcomes the International Kite Festival, which magically transforms the sky into a multicoloured canvas. It’s hard to know which kite to follow, given it’s such a varied and dazzling extravaganza of amateur and professional kites. Animals from the underwater world fly alongside dragons, rockets and other over-sized designs. Gigantic creatures from Jules Verne’s fantasy novel ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ also make regular appearances given that book and Verne’s ‘Mysterious Island’ were both written in nearby Le Crotoy (see no.4 below). What’s more, watch the awe-inspiring professionals in action during the International Kite Festival competition. Be awed by their backflips, reverse backflips, double axels, spikes – all stylish tricks that are obligatory for a world champion. It’s a visual treat that will bring smiles and joy to children of all ages.

Dunkirk

03. Dunkirk, beyond the port to a glorious sandy beach… Malo-les-Bains

Dunkirk, port city and gateway to France and Belgium, offers a beach of soft, fine sand: Malo-les-Bains (or ‘Malo’, as the locals call it), which is ideal for families. It’s common to see kites filling the sky here. Laughter is guaranteed as kids armed with kites try again and again to keep their machines aloft, constantly running and looking over their shoulders to see if they fly. To arouse the curiosity of younger children, you could take them to see the shiny ‘Blockhaus miroir’ art installation on the beach at Leffrinckoucke. It’s a local work entitled ‘Réfléchir’, which has seen the artist Bertrand Seguin cover an old World War II bunker with thousands of small mirrors. After all these open-air activities, why not continue with the theme of nature by visiting the local zoo, which has some 250 animals to enjoy.

Le Crotoy

04. Le Crotoy for family time

On the Picardy coast, in the heart of the bay of Somme, Le Crotoy and its south-facing beach has retained its authentic seaside resort feel. The town is easily identifiable thanks to a striking red villa and two towers that overlook what is quite simply one of the most beautiful bays in the world. This ancient fishing port has been a land of inspiration for Jules Verne and Colette, as well as more contemporary artists like British painter Pippa Darbyshire, who has a studio in Noyelles and is best known for her spellbinding paintings of the Somme bay.

The beach comes into its own at low tide, becoming an adventure playground for children, with sandcastles and kite-flying proving popular. Organise an impromptu picnic on the beach and the kids will love whiling away the hours here. After the beach, climb aboard the bay’s tourist train for an adventure on an actual steam train that will bring yet more smiles to excited faces, and perhaps make a dream or two come true.

Cayeux-sur-Mer

05. Cayeux-sur-Mer’s beach huts and boardwalk

Cayeux-sur-Mer is known for its famous wooden boardwalk along the beach. The boardwalk is the longest in Europe, stretching for over a mile (1.8km) and lined by 200 beach huts. It’s at its liveliest from spring to autumn when visitors gather to enjoy the sun and seaside.

Cayeux-sur-Mer also hosts a kite festival every June, drawing hundreds of kite flyers together in a fun and friendly atmosphere. It’s not uncommon for more experienced flyers to allow perfect strangers to have a go at keeping their precious flying machines aloft. The light and consistent wind helps keep the kites gently twisting and twirling around the sky, with each flyer adjusting their kite based on their individual characteristics (static kite, sport kite, etc) and the strength of the wind.