The northern French region of Hauts de France is where you’ll find the Opal Coast. Great natural beauty, a healthy dose of fresh air and a whole host of fun activities await the visitor.
10 fabulous family things to do on or near the Opal Coast.
1. Horse riding: romantic rides in the forest, exciting rides along cliff tops or up and down dunes or on the beach at Le Touquet – there are lots of opportunities. Equestrian centres can be found in Hardelot, Le Touquet and in the countryside.
2. Wind yacht sailing: apparently Queen Elizabeth II learned to sand yacht at Le Touquet Paris-Plage – you can too and it’s great fun…
3. Tree top walking for everyone from toddlers to adventurous teens and parents. Aerial climbing is becoming more and more popular in France and the whole family can try this sport in Guines (details: www.passiondaventure.com). There’s also a fun museum, Le Tour de l’Horloge in Guines where you can try on armour and discover all about food and life several hundreds years ago in the area.
4. Hiking Trails: 3000km of maintained and sign posted walks in the area. Take a long walk, short walk, beach or countryside – the choice is yours, pop into the local tourist office for details and maps or just discover your own lovely walk.
5. Cycling: Outside the bigger towns the roads in Pas de Calais are free of traffic though you may get stuck behind a tractor. Check out the Tourist Office website for details of cycling routes, walking routes, rambler’s inns and horse riding centres in the area: www.uk.pas-de-calais.com
6. Fishing with a difference: Early tour of the fishing district in Boulogne-sur-Mer, and we mean early, starts at 04.30 and includes delish breakfast. Book in advance via the Boulogne tourist office.
7. Boat ride on the Marais in St Omer, a rural town with a great heritage (and a fabulous Saturday morning market) – wild life galore, and lots of fun sailing a boat, or take it easy with a captain at the helm!
8. Make bread: at Boubers les Hesmond, Valerie Magniez encourages kids to join in bread making on a Friday afternoon. Eat it with delicious goats’ cheese that she makes with a secret ingredient – passion. Don’t forget to say hi to the friendly goats! (click here for more about “the goat lady”).
9. Ride a steam train at Arques, toot toot through the glorious countryside in style. Check the timetable at: Chemin de Fer Touristque de Vallee de l’AA. You can also take a steam train ride just over the border in Picardy, round the Bay of the Somme, one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
10. Have an adventure in the forest at Opal Aventure. Go ape At Sainte-Cecile, along the Opal Coast, there’a a tree climbing park that’s good for the whole family babies to grandparents, and for every level of fitness. Read our review of Opal Aventure.
Check out Bagatelle Theme Park on the Opal Coast – it’s perfect for waterproof children and patient parents!