Northern France _ Escalles _ Cap Blanc Nez © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Eric DesaunoisNorthern France _ Escalles _ Cap Blanc Nez © CRTC Hauts-de-France - Eric Desaunois
©Northern France, Escalles, Cap Blanc Nez |CRTC Hauts-de-France - Eric Desaunois

Les Deux‑Caps via the Customs Officer’s Path

From fishing villages surrounded by steep fields to lighthouses at the end of the world, perched on the cliffs facing England… This stunning route climbs (often!) before descending (phew!) – and it’s usually (very!) windy. Electric bikes are a big help around Les Deux-Caps, working your calves just enough to allow you to fully enjoy the experience as you bath in the Opal light. Enjoy a windy ride up among the gliding seagulls – great for the legs, as well as your well-being.

Northern France _ Audresselles © C.Cholez Terre Des 2 Caps TourismeNorthern France _ Audresselles © C.Cholez Terre Des 2 Caps Tourisme
©Northern France, Audresselles |C.Cholez - Terre Des 2 Caps Tourisme

Les Deux-Caps: third-largest Grand Site of France

The openness and magnificence of this area instils a sense of absolute freedom. Enjoy 14miles of protected coast and steep cliffs – the third-largest Grand Site of France, with its collage of clouds in greys, pinks, blues and yellows, and its unique vegetation flattened by the gusty winds and reddened by the spray. The light that bathes it all is almost spiritual and comes in all shades of opal. The Wissant cove stretches along 7.5 miles of sand between Cap Gris-Nez and Blanc-Nez, punctuated by small, hidden villages that run along the aptly named Route de la Corniche (or coastal road), following the cliffs of Audinghen, Tardinghen,Wissant and Escalles. There is so much here to see!

The GR120 – the coastal GR – links the Belgian border to the Authie estuary along the Bray-Dunes coast, running some 108 miles, looping around the south side of Berck and across toConchil-le-Temple. Why not choose to start in Wimereux, a charming seaside resort with wooden mussel huts to the north of Boulogne?

From there to Escalles and the famous Blanc-Nez, it’s 18.6 miles, which you can cover in two days, including a stopover in Wissant.

You can also opt for the Wissant School Painters’ Walk – a 4.3 mile diversion that follows the breakwater, snaking its way through town before diving into the countryside. If your legs feel good, push on towards Mont de Couple, just after Audembert. A small road whisks you up to an altitude of 163m, where a lookout with an orientation table rewards your efforts with breath-taking views of the bay of Wissant.

The Maison du Site des Deux-Caps has created immersive itineraries of between 2.4 and 15 miles for cycling routes that form part of theEuroVelo 4, which runs along the Côte d’Opale for 18.6 miles. Ready to get on your bike?

Local's tip

Caroline Géneau_guide nature©CRTC Hauts-de-France - Anne Sophie FlamentCaroline Géneau, guide nature
Le Châtelet beach in Tardinghen

 

Still wild in nature, I guess you’d call Châtelet beach a locals’ secret since it’s a bit off the radar. You get this magnificent view of the iconic Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez cliffs, and the beach is quite vast so you can choose to gravitate towards one or the other. And for the foodies amongst us, here’s your chance to eat at La Sirène, at the foot of Cap Gris-Nez: great value for money and just steps from the sea. Your alternative is to eat the famous moules-frites [mussels and chips] at Le Presbytère, especially if you can get a table on the sea-facing terrace in summer.

Caroline GENEAU DELCROIX, nature guide
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