These are some of our favourite Nord Pas de Calais towns:
Description: The town of Boulogne has much to keep the whole family occupied, whether you are in the area on holiday or just visiting on a day trip. The upper part of the town is worth taking some time to explore, especially the narrow streets around the 13th century castle and the fortifications themselves. It is possible to walk right around the old walls (there is even a children’s playground) with magnificent views over the newer part of the town and beyond.
The newer part of the town (nearer to the harbour area) has good shopping and restaurants to suit all budgets. Market days are Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the main square – Place Dalton.
Probably Boulogne’s most famous shop is that of Philippe Olivier where cheeses from all over France can be bought. This is at 43 rue Thiers. Nearby is Les Chocolats de Beussent at 56 rue Thiers, the retail outlet for the chocolate factory which can be visited for tours in Beussent in the Vallée de la Course.
Location: 45 miles SW of Calais
Our recommendations: With the arrival of the high speed ferry – Speed Ferries into Boulogne and the opening of the new link from the port to the autoroute, Boulogne once again is an excellent destination for a day trip.
Description: Although now a hilltop inland town, Montreuil was once a port (hence the ‘Sur-mer’ in its name). Like the old part of Bolougne to the north this small town has lots of character with many old buildings, narrow streets and tree-lined fortified ramparts to stroll around.
Location: Just off the N1 10km inland from Le Touquet.
Website:Marie local website
Our recommendations: Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many restaurants. For fans of ‘Les Misérables’ a pyrotechnically-enhanced ‘son-et-lumière’ show takes place in Montreuil-sur-Mer on selected dates in late July and early August. This is an annual event that takes place near the citadel – the inspiration for a part of Victor Hugo’s play. For more information visit the website.
The magnificent show starts at 10.30pm on selected dates throughout the period and demonstrates an inspiring alternative to the traditional music festival.
Description: Since 1982 Gerberoy has been classed as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. It is also known as ‘The City of Roses’ on account of the mass of colour from the roses (rambling and climbing) throughout the town. The town really is pretty and totally unspoilt. There is not much for families to do in the town, unless they are interested in the town museum that is open weekend afternoons from April-September. However it is pleasurable to wander the streets and there is a very pleasant walk around the town walls which at one point overlooks the impressive Gardens of Henri de Sidaner (a friend of the impressionist painter, Monet).
Location: Situated just off D930 in the NW corner of the Oise department about 25 km NW of Beauvais.
Recommendations: As Gerberoy offers little in the way of entertainment do as we did and stop off for lunch ‘en route’ or for lunch and a wander if you are staying in the area. We can recommend the ‘Ambassade de Montmartre’ a Restaurant-Salon de Thé, at 2 allée du Jeu de Tamis, 60380 Gerberoy, tel no:- 0(3) 44 82 16 50.
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to Nord Pas de Calais:
- Day Trips