Ambleteuse Fort Vauban © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Sébastien SpellerAmbleteuse Fort Vauban © Crtc Hauts De France Sébastien Speller
©Ambleteuse Fort Vauban|CRTC Hauts-de-France - Sébastien Speller

France’s 10 favourite beaches that transport you to another world!

Given how adored and loved the beaches in the Hauts-de-France region are, it’s pretty much impossible to rank them. And they are certainly every bit as good as France’s, or even the world’s, more popular resorts! They all boast long sandy beaches, seamlessly endless horizons, ever-changing light spectacles, refreshing ocean spray and striking landscapes that make the stresses of daily life seem nothing but a distant memory. Here’s a 10-stop itinerary as recommended by Trip Advisor, Le Figaro newspaper, Les Vadrouilleurs blog and many others. Take your pick!

Northern France _ Le Touquet-Paris-Plage _ Dunes © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Ishak NajibNorthern France _ Le Touquet-Paris-Plage _ Dunes © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Ishak Najib
©Northern France, Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, Dunes |CRTC Hauts-de-France - Ishak Najib
Le Touquet

01. Beach and shopping

This seaside resort has been highly popular with Parisians for over a century, earning itself the name Le Touquet-Paris-Plage and a place in France’s top 10 resorts on Trip Advisor. With almost 4 miles of fine sand between the Thalassotherapy Centre and the Bay of Canche, Le Touquet offers a reinvigorating detox of maritime treatments, spas and wellness experts. The resort boasts a variety of surroundings that are perfect for contemplative and revitalising walks, whether it be along the seawall, in the wild Bay of Canche or in the forest. It’s also a paradise for Sports enthusiasts, with a wide range of water sports on offer, as well as a golf course to practice their swing against an incredible natural backdrop. And for any shopaholics, there’s the unbeatable rue Sean-Jean! After all that fun, enjoy a refreshing drink or meal in the sublime Art Deco hotel, the Westminster.

Wissant

02. Between Les 2 Caps

 

 

You’ll find Wissant beach nestled between two capes (or Cap in French), Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez, in the aptly named area of Les 2 Caps, which is certified a ‘Grand Site de France’. No other than Victor Hugo said that it “has the most beautiful landscape”, while others have called it the ‘wild pearl of the Opal Coast’ and it was also classed as one of France’s most beautiful beaches by Vogue magazine in 2019. Its 7.5 miles of fine sand is not only a pure delight for children, who can safely splash about in the shallow water pools, but also for sport enthusiasts who are spoilt for choice with land sailing and wing foiling, the latest water sport craze. Wissant rocks!!

Quend-Plage

03. A sandy paradise

Here’s what Les Vadouilleurs blog has to say: “There’s a good reason we are regular visitors to this nature destination. It’s not only because it helps us disconnect, but also because we can recharge our batteries in the resort’s natural surroundings…” And if, on top of that, we add that this is where mussels are farmed and that the beach is 9 miles long, we don’t really see how you could resist!

Fort-Mahon

04. Seals on the horizon

At low tide, it’s awesome to watch the grey and harbour seals lounging around on the fine sand amongst the dunes of the Authie bay. The children will be transfixed, but be sure to admire them from afar with binoculars so as to not disturb them. Or you could even get a guide! They will tell you all about the bay’s history, its fauna and flora, and the work of the shore fisherman. They will also take you to some truly unforgettable nature spots, where you’ll be captivated by the colours and lights that ebb and flow with the seasons and tides. And we haven’t even mentioned the sunset, which is something else! After so much contemplation, you might want to get the blood flowing with some water sports or sea wading with your family and friends. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to take home some great memories! Or why not play a round of golf amongst the remarkable scenery of Le Marquenterre and combine nature and sport into one? Once you’ve worked up an appetite, time to enjoy some seafood from the morning’s catch.

Malo-les-Bains

05. Popular and lively

Malo-les-Bains is perfect if you fancy mingling with the Dunkirk locals, who love going for a walk along the seawall whenever the sun comes out to play. It’s also great for family holidays, with trampolines and bike tours for younger children and many activities such as kiting and land sailing for the older critters. Or if the whole family wants to stick together, there’s sea wading, which was invented on this very beach. The restaurant terraces are also ideal for a seafood platter or ice cream. And let’s not forget that this beach, which served as the arena for the Battle of Dunkirk, was also where Christopher Nolan filmed his blockbuster, Dunkirk.

Mers-les-Bains

06. Façon Belle Époque

Immerse yourself in the Belle-Époque with the colourful and fantastical houses along the Mers-Les-Bains seafront before getting the best view of all from atop its chalky cliffs that tower 80 metres above the water. Sunset brings with it an idyllic panorama, bathing the sea in a dramatic iridescent light. The beauty is simply enthralling!

Cayeux-sur-Mer

07. The delights of nature

Cayeux definitely has some surprises up its sleeve. Why not stroll along Europe’s longest boardwalk, decoratively lined with 400 beach huts like in the Belle-Époque on one side, and the Big Blue on the other? Or perhaps you’d rather oxygenate your mind with an invigorating walk along the 8.5 miles of beach, pebbly at high tide and covered in fine sand at low tide? There’s also no shore-tage of activities for more sporty visitors, including paddle boarding, surfcasting, seawading (extremely popular on the Hauts-de-France coast) and kite surfing. In fact, it’s one of France’s most renowned water sport locations, and the country’s national kitesurfing champion actually comes from Cayeux! At the tip of the small port of Le Hourdel, at the far end of the beach, you can also watch the seals go about their lives as well as the ballet of traditional boats made for catching shrimp, flatfish and scallops. Time to rush to the restaurant to make the most of the fresh haul!

Ambleteuse

08. Calm and energising

Ambleteuse sea fort was built by Vauban and sits between the Caps et Marais d’Opale Regional Nature Park and Boulogne-sur-Mer, not far from Europe’s largest aquarium, Nausicaa. At its feet lies Ambleteuse beach, whose high tide comes with crashing waves. As the sea retreats at low tide, the pebbly beach gives way to reveal a long strip of fine sand. A nearby family-friendly trail weaves its way through the wild dunes and provides a fantastic view of the Pointe aux Oies cliff.

Berck-sur-Mer

09. A whale of a time!

The birthplace of land sailing and also just as popular for kite surfing and paddle boarding, Berck, with its long fine sandy beach, is known around the world for its international kite festival that usually takes place in April. The resort has also been a renowned wellbeing retreat since the last century, so it should be no surprise that you can combine the fresh sea air with exceptional views and yoga on the beach every summer. A relaxing break for the whole family.

Plage de la Maye

10. A world apart

This secret beach is teeming with authentic charm. It can be found in Le Crotoy, on the border of the bay of  Somme’s Marquenterre ornithological park, and is home to all sorts of aquatic plants such as glassworts and saltbush. But the true star of the show is the sea lavender, whose pale purple flowers set the park ablaze in summer. Standing on the Plage de la Maye, in the middle of the bay’s 27 square miles, you’ll feel a deep calm and tranquility wash over you as you admire the impressive view where sky and sea appear to become one. If you truly want to immerse yourself and enjoy the full experience, you could even take the bay of Somme’s small train. Rejuvenating to say the least!