If you’re wondering where to go this year for a French holiday that’s a real family pleaser, then look no further! Just across the English Channel you will find the Opal Coast – long, golden sandy beaches, rock pools where you can fish for shrimps and mussels, secret inlets and sunbathing seals.
Buy some freshly made croissants for breakfast, a crispy baguette and lip-smacking fromage for a delicious al fresco lunch, and a mouth-watering cake for tea!
vibrant seaside towns and fishermen’s hamlets, where you can get fresh fish
straight from the boat. La Côte d’Opale is dotted with picturesque villages and
seaside resorts where you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and more activities than
you can possibly do in a whole week. It’s perfect for family holidays, with an idyllic
coastline, delicious food and fun things to do. Mums and dads can relax while
kids from tots to teens will find plenty to keep them occupied.
Famille Plus label has been awarded
to four towns in Pas de Calais, each very different from the other. They are
all recognised for their outstanding family-friendly welcome and have a
programme that offers lots to do for everyone, no matter what age.
Berck-sur-Mer is a family seaside
resort between the Bay of Somme and The Two Capes (stunning cliffs that
overlook the English coast, which you can easily see on a clear day). The sandy
beach is 12 km long and the fresh air is just right to fly a kite. In fact, it’s
famous in these parts for its beneficial iodized climate.
year, in April, the world’s greatest kite flyers gather here for a spectacular
annual contest. If you missed it this year, pop it in your diary for 2017. It’s
awesome, and the look on people’s faces when they see the colourful kites
flying high is priceless. Right on the French coast, Berck-sur-Mer has an
enchanting retro vibe; from the pastel-coloured beach huts to the outstanding
double-decker carousel on the sea front, and the legendary sweet shop “Le
Succès Berckois” in the town, where scrumptious bonbons and lollipops have been
made by hand for almost a century.
a definite hint of yesteryear, and when the sun starts to go down, there’s not
much that beats eating chips from a paper bag on the beach or sitting at a
terraced restaurant, basking in the laid-back atmosphere.
- The Baie d’Authie where you can see
a colony of grey seals.Tours organised by the tourist office.
- Bagatelle Amusement Park on the
outskirts of town. It’s very French, rather quaint and has rides for both little
kids and thrill seekers, who love roller coasters and the like (entry is
free for kids under 1m tall).
Le Touquet is one of our best-kept
secrets. French families flock here with their cars loaded with toys and bikes
for a break that’s authentic, relaxing and fun. This seriously chic destination
has everything that maman and papa could possibly want and kids are spoiled for
choice with so many things to do. From tennis, swimming pools and waterparks on
the sands, to horse-riding through the forest and across the dunes, sand
yachting, sailing, great golf courses and mini golf – you can find it all here,
on the French coast. There are also several supervised kids clubs (for ages 2.5
– 15 years).
white sandy beach is glorious. The buggy-friendly esplanade is where you can
board the little tourist train that will take you through the town and the
surrounding pine forests, to admire the dazzling art deco style villas, once
owned by the jet-setting crowd who made Le Touquet famous in the 20th century. Although
it’s a little quieter these days, you may well spot a celebrity or two from
time to time, and Le Touquet is still very enticing with dozens of great
restaurants and a chic Paris-like vibe.
are hundreds of events throughout the year, including an eye-popping Sand
Sculpture Festival which is guaranteed to inspire the whole family to build
sandcastles on the sandy beach (July – August) and a charming Flower Festival (19th
- The lovely market (Thursday and
Saturday, plus Monday from June to mid-September). Pick up some fabulous,
fresh local produce and enjoy a picnic.
- Hire a Segway and pootle about
- Pony rides (3 years old and upwards)
and riding for the whole family at the equestrian centre.
walled medieval town has visitors falling in love with its ravishing good looks,
and is ranked in the top 10 of the “100 most beautiful detours in France”.
There are no high street coffee shops or restaurants here, this town is
typically French and proud of it. 15km from the French coastline, Montreuil-sur-Mer has a rich
history and the ramparts that surround it offer stunning views over the local
in the elegant squares, shop at the Saturday morning market, or wander the
cobbled stone streets while you admire the magnificent architecture. There is a
canoe club (note that kids need to be able to swim a minimum of 25m), and
alongside the riverbank there are some lovely picnic spots. Adults will
appreciate the great choice of restaurants and cafés in this Village Fleuri
(flowery village), and kids will love tucking into the tasty pancakes from the
local crêperie, on rue du Clape en Bas.
- Les Misérables, performed by around
500 townsfolk in fabulous costume on the ramparts – it’s an incredible
piece of open-air theatre, complete with charging horses and booming
cannons, and a superb homage to Victor Hugo who based his famous story on
a visit to this town. (29th, 30th, 31st July
and 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
August, 2016. Tickets available from the tourist office.)
- The Antiques Fair on 14th
July. You’re bound to find something for all the family here. In the
evening, join in the fun and enjoy the fireworks because 14th
July is also Bastille Day!
Neufchâtel-Hardelot is a
family-friendly gem. The uncrowded 3km-long pristine beaches are ideal for
toddlers to try out their first bucket and spade. This is the place to go for
those who want to relax in tranquil, beautiful surroundings and let the sugary
sand tickle their toes. Kids will love the wide-open spaces here and the chance
to run about in the fresh air.
a peaceful countryside location that lies in the centre of the regional park,
between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Touquet. Neufchatel is a village and Hardelot
is a lovely seaside resort – so you get the best of both worlds. There is a fantastic
equestrian centre with a pony club for kids aged four years and up, plus guided
rides through the village and surroundings. For more experienced riders, a full
gallop on the beach beckons.
a few of the fun activities include sand yachting, sailing, catamarans, wind
surfing, speed sailing, kayaking and a skate park for teens. Golfers will love
the chance to play while surrounded by scented pine trees, or perhaps you can take
part in a tennis tournament or enjoy a family bike ride on the flat roads. With
several really great restaurants and cafés, this is a terrific chill-out place
where you won’t feel crowded or rushed, but can take your time to truly
appreciate the French way of life.
- Release your inner gourmand at the
Sunday morning market on the beach, which takes place throughout the
summer and boasts fresh produce and artisan goods.
- Chateau de Hardelot – a very
English castle in the heart of rural France. There are concerts and
exhibitions year-round; it’s beautifully furnished (I loved how clothes
were laid out on the beds as if the owners were coming back to get dressed
for dinner) and there’s a very glamorous tea room.
your children like active fun then Parc
d’Olhain is for you and them! Go for a fun-filled day, or go for longer and
stay in one of the onsite campgrounds or cabins. A great place to unwind and
recharge your batteries, there are 200 hectares of countryside to run about in
and let off steam, with dozens of activities that are perfect for any sporting
kids can discover nature and join in fun activities that stimulate their
senses, and give them a big dose of fresh air and exercise.
- Tree top nets – the largest in the
world no less! Passageways, rope bridges and giant trampolines galore,
plus a tree top adventure course with a zip wire thrill ride. You’re guaranteed
excitement and a chance for a selfie that will really impress!
- 37km of cycling routes to suit all
levels and no cars to worry about when you have the little ones with you.
- There’s also paragliding,
mini-golf, an outdoor heated swimming pool, kindergarten, playgrounds,
climbing, tennis, bird watching, a golf course and, hotly anticipated for
this year, an all-season toboggan run! (Open March to November.)
Getting there and around
Office de tourisme Calais Côte d'Opale
12 Bd Clémenceau - Calais
Tel: +33 (0)3 21 96 62 40
Find out more about Calais côte d'Opale
Book your journey