Bay of Somme_ walk in the nature with a guide ©CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas BryantBay of Somme, walk in the nature with a guide (Northern France)
©Bay of Somme, walk in the nature with a guide (Northern France)|CRTC Hauts-de-France - Nicolas Bryant

Walk across the Bay of Somme

Escape your regular routine. Open yourself to the elements and rediscover the feeling of being back in nature. Stand in the heart of the infinite Somme bay – recognised as a ‘Grand Site de France’ and ranked among the most beautiful bays in the world. Here, you can connect with the world around you and find a sense of calm.

Northern France _ Bay of Somme _ Walk across the Bay of Somme© Benoit BremerNorthern France _ Bay of Somme _ Walk across the Bay of Somme© Benoit Bremer
©Northern France, Bay of Somme, Walk across the Bay of Somme|CRTC Hauts-de-France - Benoit Bremer

Crossing the Bay of Somme: a feeling of being “elsewhere”

Are you ready to cross the bay and its water channels and sea marshes on foot? Follow our guide, Jean-Luc, who is accredited by Qualinat, a scheme created by the French Ministry of Tourism to ensure guides meet high standards. His local knowledge is invaluable when the bay is shifting and lively with tricky currents.

We leave from Le Crotoy to head across the bay to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The sea air fills our lungs and birds can be seen everywhere. Then, we step on to the sand and the calm of the bay envelops us. A feeling of being “elsewhere” – in the middle of nowhere – prevails. The ground very quickly becomes sandier and then muddy. We focus on our steps as we walk across the wet earth beneath our feet, and savour a sacred luxury: silence.

Take a short break in front of a carpet of samphire, the green beans of the sea that are crunchy when bitten, full of vitamins and minerals. Once safely beyond the ripples and furrows carved by the sea, our guide picks up a black object: peat excavated by sea shells. Then, further along, two plants: sea blite, which is cooked in fritters, and sea purslane, sometimes called the ‘chips of the sea’. Delicious!

Exceptional fauna and flora

Our guide turns towards Le Crotoy, where the Hotel des Tourelles already seems distant. The toots and whistles of the small steam train in Saint Valery barely reach us. Peace. Jean-Luc describes the ornithological reserve in Marquenterre and the sand banks of Le Hourdel, where at low tide you can spot seals through binoculars. A channel gets wider and deeper. The mud is now reaching our calves. We giggle as we slip and slide, trying not to lose our balance – or our shoes. (Although it may be too late for some!)

We continue on our way, passing a large flock of salt marsh sheep en route. It’s now time to visit Saint-Valery. Jean-Luc recounts tales from Courtgain, the town’s sailors’ quarter, and from the medieval city and the market held each Sunday. The water laps at our feet and is ideal to clean us up a bit. Alas, it’s already time to thank Jean-Luc for this invigorating and informative walk and head home. In front of us the bay is there, still alive. We follow it back to Le Crotoy, either by bike or on board the little train that greeted us earlier. Even more fresh air and stunning scenery awaits us.

Local's tip

Lucas JusticeLucas Justice
A very good restaurant in Le Crotoy !

 

“I know the perfect address for a feast in Le Crotoy  ̶  the ‘Bistrot de la Baie’. I recently tasted a sea bass burger there dressed with sea aster (an edible plant from the bay), so good I can almost still taste it… The menu uses locally sourced produce in what I’d call traditional dishes with a modern twist. The setting is really pleasant too. Take the kids – the meals are adapted to suit them and it’s very much a family restaurant where kids are free to move around without a problem.”

Lucas JUSTICE, Nature guide in the bay of Somme
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