Sports & Outdoors

Experience the isolated wonder of Grand Site des Deux Caps in France

Ideal for a short break, visit the cliffs and dunes of Grand Site des Deux Caps, just a 30-minute drive from our Calais terminal.

The perfect destination for a short break or stopover in France, Grand Site des Deux Caps has stunning scenery, coastal wildlife, and all close to Calais, making this the easiest adventure to Europe. What are you waiting for?

Where is Grand Site des Deux Caps?

The Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez cliffs combine to form the Grand Site des Deux Caps nature reserve. This area is the closest point in France to the British coast and you are only around a 30 minute-drive from the Calais terminal. The names of the two cliffs translate into grey nose and white nose, which will make sense when you see their shapes jutting out from the coastline into the water, just like a nose!

white cliff under a blue sky with the sea surrounding the base of the cliffs

Driving to Grand Site des Deux Caps from Calais

You have a couple of options to drive from Calais to Grand Site des Deux Caps. The A16 D191 route is the fastest, keeping you a little inland. However the A16 allows for a turn off onto the D940, which takes you much closer to the coast and allows for a stop in Wissant, just one of our favourite beachside villages from our Calais by the Coast guide. We mention Wissant and other places to visit further down in this guide too.

Exploring Grand Site des Deux Caps

The capes of Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez face each other on the Côte d’Opale (Opal Coast). A very scenic path connects the two, making it easy to explore, but be sure to see as many of the sights as possible.

The Cap Blanc Nez cliffs

Cap Blanc-Nez is a white chalk cliff towering over the coastline. It’s around 135m high, so you get fantastic views from the top, but also looking up from the beaches below. There are hiking paths available and on clear days you can see the English coast across the waters.

grey stone building with red tiled roof set on a sandy beach under blue skies

Exploring the dunes of Fort Mahon

Nestled between the communes of Sangatte and Blériot Plage, the dunes of Fort Mahon are ripe for spotting flora and fauna. They are ‘Dutch style’ dunes, narrow and shallow covered in marram grass and sea holly as well as lots of other coastal plants. Fort Mahon itself was once the highest military fort in Europe and, according to historians, was named after the French conquest of Minorca in 1756.

Platier d’Oye nature reserve

Escape the hustle and bustle in this glorious nature reserve, which has ample parking nearby and guided tours on the first Sunday of every month. Bring your binoculars as you can spot over 230 different bird species here, even rarer breeds as the reserve acts as a safe haven.

Hiking between Ambleteuse and Wimereux

Some particularly beautiful hiking trails lie between these two coastal villages. They lie 5.6km from one another, Ambleteuse to the north, with trails suitable for all abilities winding through the landscape. To walk from one to the other will take you around an hour and 15 minutes. To choose some paths to tackle, try online guides such as Komoot or outdooractive.

large stone path leading down to sandy beach and blue sea under a sunny sky

Villages to visit near Grand Site des Deux Caps

Picturesque glimpses of traditional French culture, visit the nearby villages to immerse yourself in coastal life and enjoy local foods.

Wissant

Wissant means white sand in English, which you can see spread across its enormous beach. Perfect for families and with dog-friendly beaches, there is a lot of protected landscape here, meaning plenty of unspoiled natural beauty. The village has restaurants and cafes to enjoy too.

Ambleteuse

Ambleteuse is a small town sitting right on the coast and surrounded by Caps et Marais d'Opale natural park. A lovely place to admire local architecture and try the freshest of seafood, it’s close to Fort Mahon and the Slack river, both excellent for exploring. For rainy or colder days, visit the World War II Museum to see original uniforms and weapons.

blue green red and yellow painted terrace of detailed houses with blue skies above

Wimereux

The very first resort on the Opal Coast, Wimereux has a long seawall promenade and Anglo-Norman-style houses from the Belle Époque era to enjoy and no doubt capture pictures of. Art lovers will enjoy the many galleries here, but ultimately this is a fantastic place to relax and unwind on the pebble beach and sandy dunes.

The Maison du Site des Deux-Caps

This is the place to go for all the practical information, including hiking maps, bike rental, restaurant, and toilet facilities. There’s also a small museum featuring interactive exhibits to teach people about the area and its history.

Experience Grand Site des Deux Caps with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

If you plan to explore more of northern France, here are some must-see stops to help you plan your trip. This part of the country is also well stocked with gorgeous golf courses, so if you need to practice your swing, check out the best of the best.

Get started with your journey to Grand Site des Deux Caps with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. We can get you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes.

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Experience Grand Site des Deux Caps with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

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