Saint-Omer is a perfect summer getaway! Avoid the struggle of a long plane journey and get some well-deserved time-out in this little haven of peace in Pas-de-Calais which you can easily reach by train or ferry and then a short drive.
Here are 10 activities and events you do not want to miss where you’ll enjoy local French delicacies and take the stress out of your summer.
1. Groovy time at the Saint-Omer Jaaz Festival
Annual jazz festival iin the town each July in different and unusual locations in Saint-Omer and its surroundings. Discover the programme
2. Bière in Saint-Omer
Saint-Omer beer festival each September (details from the tourist office, link above). On the programme: brass band parades, beer tasting in pop-up microbreweries, concerts in Place Victor Hugo, a market of local products, traditional Flemish games and exception open days at Saint-Omer Brewery. Read more about the brilliant brewery in this lovely town.
3. Wander in the historic town of Saint-Omer
Stroll through the romantic ruins of Saint-Bertin Abbey, be amazed at Notre-Dame Cathedral, learn the history of the Jesuit Chapel or the library where Shakespeare’s first folio has been discovered. It’s no surprise that Saint-Omer has been given the label of land of art and history! www.tourisme-saintomer.com
4. Enter the forbidden zone of La Coupole History Centre
An exclusive guided tour of La Coupole bunker usually closed to the public. Get your boots, your helmet and your torch to explore the underground world of La Coupole.
5. Wine at the Chateau
Welcome to Najeti Hotel Chateau Tilques, where the chef will introduce you to a French regional recipe or cooking technique. After the one-hour workshop, enjoy a dinner and wine-testing course. www.tilques.najeti.fr
6. The secrets of Boat Makers
Meet Rémi, a traditional boat maker, born in the Saint-Omer marshlands where he grew up and that he loves fondly. Together with his father, they are currently renovating a boat from the 15th century. Activities and workshops for children and adults are offered. www.lesfaiseursdebateaux.com
7. Retro experience with ‘Les Belles Echappées’
Combine the pleasure of driving and discovering the region behind the wheel of a 2CV, a Mehari beach buggy or a VW combi. Try an environment-friendly alternative with their tandems, cargo bikes, electric bikes, e-solex bikes, beach bikes or Calessino Vespas. A unique retro experience that can last for half a day, a whole day or weekend. www.les-belles-echappees.com
8. Donkey Ride adventure
If you want your kids to burn off some energy, there’s nothing better than a little family hike. But if it is to live up to its promises, you need to plan some breaks and fun companions. How about a donkey ride? At the end of the day, you can even sleep in tipis. www.apetitspas.net
9. Family fun at Dennlys Parc
With more than 30 varied attractions, shows, restaurants, Dennlys park is undoubtedly the perfect place to spend an ideal family day! Read our review of Dennlys Park.
10. Picnic break at the Saint-Omer public gardens
Discover a landscaped garden from the XIX century hosting a French formal garden, woods and arboretum. Since its opening, this public garden with a bandstand, waterfall, animal park and bird house is a place for locals to stroll and meet.