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Travel guide
Pas-De-Calais

Need to flee the city and disconnect from everyday life? The Pas-de-Calais is full of small green paradises to recharge your batteries in the countryside. Discover an authentic rural and natural heritage. Escape into the heart of green landscapes and let yourself be seduced by the local biodiversity. With 150 kilometres of coastline bordered by the sea, Nord-Pas-de-Calais is an ideal holiday and holiday destination! 3 territories, the Opal Coast, Marshes and Valleys and Around the Louvre-Lens. The largest beaches in France such as Escalles and Wissant, small picturesque fishing villages, attractive seaside resorts such as Berck or Wimereux, classified landscapes, preserved fauna and flora. The northern coast has all the assets to seduce you, the lovers of the sea. Arras is also an exceptional city thanks to its two magnificent squares of the Belfry and the Citadel, both listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Finally, let us not forget Calais, the gateway to England, well known for its lace.

What to see, what to do Pas-De-Calais?

When to go Pas-De-Calais ?

When to go to Pas-de-Calais? Whether you are more interested in festivals, sales, carnivals, or sporting and cultural gatherings, the major festivals follow one another all year round on the regional agenda. Borrowing the famous cobblestones of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Paris-Roubaix is one of the most beautiful bicycle races in the world. It is also a great popular festival that attracts spectators from all over the world every year in April, all along its route. Every 1st weekend in August, the crowd settles in Aulnoye-Aymeries and gives it the look of an intramural Woodstock version. The Secret Nights Festival has been part of the regional landscape for almost 15 years. So many events in the Pas-de-Calais!

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Practical information for travel Pas-De-Calais

Pour profiter des plaisirs de la Côte d'Opale, de nombreuses possibilités de séjours s'offrent à vous, que vous soyez seul, entre amis, en couple ou en famille. Côté randonnée, de nombreux itinéraires vous feront apprécier nos paysages, des Deux caps, au Boulonnais, en n'oubliant pas la Baie de Somme, parmi les plus belles baies du monde. Le GR120 comporte ainsi de multiples étapes à découvrir en un ou plusieurs jours. Les amateurs de la petite reine pourront échauffer leurs mollets le long de notre littoral, et les familles trouveront un terrain idéal pour vivre de belles aventures. Des familles qui pourront aussi s'émerveiller devant la faune et la flore de la Baie de somme, ou dans les 120 hectares du Parc du Marquenterre. Et pour ceux qui aiment mêler visite de la ville et échappée naturelle, n'oublions pas nos jolies villes comme Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Le Touquet... Bienvenue chez nous, nous vous souhaitons un très bon séjour !

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Discover Pas-De-Calais

The department of Pas-de-Calais takes its name from the Pas de Calais, the strait that leads to England. It was created by a regrouping of Artois and a former part of Picardy which is located towards the coast. These two regions are therefore very different. You will appreciate Arras, its chief town, a former cloth-making city with its Place des Héros. A stop in Lens is essential for the Louvre museum. And don't miss the World War II museum, near Saint-Omer, housed in an impressive bunker. But the Pas-de-Calais is also the whole Opal Coast, with the unmissable seaside resorts such as the very chic Touquet-Paris plage, or Beck, a famous sand yacht spot, or the magnificent cliffs of the Griz-Nez and Blanc-Nez capes which attract more than two million visitors per year. Finally, a visit to Boulogne-sur-Mer, home to the largest aquarium in Europe, is a must. In short, there are so many things to discover!

Pictures and images Pas-De-Calais

Chars à voile JERÔME BERQUEZ - AUTHOR'S IMAGE
Plage du Cap Gris-Nez JERÔME BERQUEZ - AUTHOR'S IMAGE
La côte d'Opale à Tardinghen Eric DESAUNOIS
Lens et le bassin minier du Pas-de-Calais JERÔME BERQUEZ - AUTHOR'S IMAGE

The 12 keywords Pas-De-Calais

1. Belfry

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Testimonies of the autonomy of the cities in front of the local lords, these big stone towers became a symbol of the North. If you are a lover of architecture, you will take great pleasure in admiring the many belfries located in the area, notably the magnificent belfry of Calais, that of Dunkirk and that of Gravelines

2. Carnival

The most famous carnival on the Opal Coast is of course the one in Dunkirk! It has its roots in the festive evenings that marked the eve of the departure of the fishermen at sea. It takes place every year around Mardi Gras and lasts several months. Don't miss the herring toss and remember to learn the songs before you come!

3. Grand Site de France

The Deux Caps site has been labelled a Grand Site de France since 2011. It stretches from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Calais along 23 kilometres of coastline. Among the remarkable sites to see, the famous Cap Blanc-Nez and its white cliffs, as well as the Cap Gris-Nez named for its greyer coasts. It is a magnificent spot for bird watching.

4. GR

GR as in sentier de Grande Randonnée. The GR120, also called Sentier du Littoral, allows you to walk along the coast from the Belgian coast to Berck-sur-Mer over 175 kilometres. Between dunes, cliffs, pine forests, fishing villages (Audresselles, Wissant...), the landscapes are exceptional and unique. Be careful, it goes up and down a lot!

5. Herring

Herring is as famous as it is celebrated on the Opal Coast! Traditionally launched at Carnival time, it is also particularly celebrated in November, the month during which it flees the Gulf Stream to arrive on our coasts and is then celebrated in many ports: Calais, Berck-sur-Mer and especially Étaples with the King Herring Festival.

6. Henson

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Henson, as in the Henson horse from the Bay of the Somme. It is a breed of horse created and bred in the Bay of the Somme in the 1970s. Today, it is an emblematic breed of the Bay of the Somme and the Marquenterre Park, recognized for its qualities in the practice of horseback riding. As beautiful as majestic, you will love it

7. Coastal lanyard

If you see people "walking" in the water along the coast, don't be surprised! Created in the early 2000s, this activity consists of walking along the coastline with water up to your waist with or without a paddle. Today the craze is such that there are officially marked water walking trails

8. Tide

The tides give rhythm to the days on the Opal Coast, and change the landscapes as the days go by. Some sites appear totally different depending on whether the tide is high or low, such as the two capes. Each year, the high tides also attract many tourists who come to admire them, but be careful!

9. Operation Dynamo

Also known as the miracle of Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo resulted in the evacuation of nearly 340,000 men. For several days, the battle raged on land and sea, allowing the evacuation of men while resisting the enemy's assaults. Today, this episode remains anchored in our history, inspiring books and films

10. Seal

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It has become the star of the Bay of the Somme, but should be admired from a distance and preferably with binoculars. As cute as it is, the seal remains a wild animal, which you should not try to approach within 300 m (and even less to touch). At low tide, they can be seen basking on the sandbanks in various places.

11. Port

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Punctuated by numerous fishing villages, the Opal Coast also has two major ports: the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the port of Dunkirk. The port of Boulogne-sur-Mer is the first French fishing port, it is the ideal place to get fresh fish and to treat yourself in one of the many fish restaurants.

12. Waterzoï

Waterzoï or "boiling water" in Dutch! It is a Flemish recipe originating in Belgium, which was exported to the north of France and is part of our traditional dishes. This dish consists of a simmered soup based on fish or chicken, with vegetables, whose broth is linked to fresh cream and egg yolk.

You are from here, if...

You've already dressed up for carnival and know the carnival songs by heart (or one or more of your friends do)

You're not afraid to grab a French fry at the local"eul'baraqu'à frites", no matter if it looks like it's straight out of the 1990s. Besides, you know that "French fries are a party" and you often order a "mitraillette"!

You always have something for all weather conditions, from bright sunshine to "draught".

You know that when the sea fog (or "heat fog") is there, then it can stay for a few hours as well as a few days and you will have to deal with it.

For you, Belgium is more a charming neighbour with whom you like to party than an "other country". Besides, you may even have experienced the border crossing with customs at some places if you were born before the 1980s.

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