Day Trip from Belgium. Opal Coast! - Traveler's ChildTraveler's Child

Day Trip from Belgium. Opal Coast!

Opal Coast

Cap Blanc Nez

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When talking about the northern France and its coastline, first name to pop-out in mind is Normandy and its beauties: Mont Saint-Michel and Etretat. However, the thing that me and P. have learned this year, is that each and every kilometer can offer something spectacular in France. Especially the coastline! And since we have already seen a bit of the beauty, that Normandy and Picardy offers, it was time to explore probably the most significant1 part of the North Sea coastline. Yes, I’m talking about the Opal Coast – the gate to the La Manche2

Opal Coast

Our company while walking on the North Sea cliffs

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Opal Coast3 starts from Belgium-France border and continues for another 140 kilometers. Coastline is located in Hauts-de-France4 department, but is still better known by the former name: Nord-Pas-de-Calais or Pas-de-Calais. As the titles of the region suggests, the center of this coastline is Calais – the city, that is practically gate both to the Europe and to the United Kingdom.

Opal Coast

There are a lot of directions to the nice places, that can easily be reached by bicycle or by foot.

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There are three main cities in this part of France: Dunkirk, Calais and Boulogne Sur Mer. However, they weren’t point of interest for us. When we decided to go on a day road trip to Opal Coast we knew what we want: the North Sea and its cliffs. So we turned Google Maps on and dropped a pin in the middle of the Opal Coast. And here is what we found in a two and a half hours drive from our home in Belgium.

Sangatte

Opal Coast

Trail from Sangatte to the Cap Blanc Nez is super nice!

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Sangatte, a little town less than 10 kilometers away from Calais, was a starting point of our Saturday wanderings. It was the first town that we entered from the highway and it made a really nice impression. It is a cute resort town on the edge to the North Sea with the peaceful atmosphere and sea salt smell in the air.

Opal Coast

As I said, SUPER nice trail!

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However, we didn’t stop for a stroll there, because we noticed something much more interesting just around the corner of a cute white houses… It was a path on the cliffs above the sea! In other words, it seemed like a thing we were looking to find that day, so we parked our third travel companion just outside the Sangatte and went for a very relaxing expedition on the green North Sea cliffs. 

Opal Coast

How cool these cliffs should look with the waves splashing against them?

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P. S. Mr. Internet knows how to surprise me.  While writing this post I found out that Sangatte, a town that has less than 5000 residents, was one of the most tensed spots in the region back in 2000s. In 1999-2002 here was located a refugee camp, where more than 1500 people from Middle Asia have founded a shelter in. It’s really hard to believe, considering how peaceful and cosy this place is now.

Cap Blanc Nez

Opal Coast

In English this place is called White Nose Cape. Does it remind a nose?

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Cap Blanc Nez is probably the most famous cape in Pas-de-Calais region. In English the name of this cliff means White Nose. I’m not sure, if it resembled a nose to me, but it definitely stands out from the over cliffs around here.

Cap Blanc Nez is in 5 kilometer distance from Sangatte, so it is easy reachable by foot. Considering how nice the path along the sea is, I think that the best idea is to leave car in the parking lot. If you want to enjoy a sea weather for a longer time, there are all the conditions to do that – the path continues to go quite further than the Cape Blanc Nez.

Opal Coast

There is not only the North Sea, that looks nice from the Cap Blanc Nez

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Escalles

On the other side of White Nose Cape is another cute, but even smaller town than Sangatte. It’s called Escalles and it is basically a village, which hosts the wanderers, who came to admire the Cape and the scenery itself.

Opal Coast

Escalles has a really nice beach, doesn’t it?

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Escalles is located in a hollow at the shore of the North Sea. Village has super awesome beach, and could it be not superb, considering how nicely sandy it is and how awesomely the Cap Blanc Nez stands there?

Opal Coast

Flowery streets is a total classic in France

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Besides the beach, the hiking and walking paths and a salty sea weather, this little village hasn’t got any other attractions to offer. However, with its beautiful flowery streets and houses, it left us really nice impression. I think it’s a perfect place to have lunch in-between the wanderings around the Opal Coast.

Opal Coast

Love flowery French houses!

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Audresselles

After some time spent at Escalles beach, we jumped back to the car and continued driving through the Opal Coastline. Sadly, the beautiful weather started to transform into something more grey and cloudy. The last place we were able to visit before it started raining, was Audresselles, a little town by the sea almost 20 kilometers away from Calais.

Opal Coast

Rain made us leave the sea earlier, than we wanted!

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Audresselles is a typical little resort town. It has several small, but nice promenades by the sea, where you can enjoy the view while sitting on the cute blue benches in front of it. However, I have to admit, that the beach we saw at the Escalles was many times better! 

Sadly again, all the nice little fish restaurants were closed by the time we reached this place and the whitely blue town seemed quite abandoned. With the rain drops starting to fall on us, we decided, that our relaxing day trip in the nature will end here, in this sleepy, but beautiful town5

Opal Coast

There are several nice and private promenades, which offers really nice view to the sea in Audresselles

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When you are staying in Belgium or in other Benelux country, it is super easy to plan a wonderful day trip to France, Germany or other places inside the Benelux. Distances here are ridiculously small!

However, if you want to spend a day at the sea, there aren’t much to think of. Opal Coast in France is destination you have to choose! I have to admit, that the cliffs and capes aren’t such a majestic like in Normandy, but… In only two hours drive from central Belgium, you will reach really nice beaches with, still, spectacular landscape, cute fishing villages and resort towns. And if you will have a little bit more time than we did, I’m sure, that you will discover the beauty of Calais and Boulogne Sur Mer, or the cuteness of other small towns, like Bergues or Saint-Valery-sur-Somme.

Opal Coast

I’m very excited, that we can capture this colorful time of the year in such a blossoming country like France!

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To sum up, if you have an opportunity, you have to get to know the Upper France. It doesn’t matter, if you’re planning a longer road trip through Europe, or you’re looking for a day / weekend destination, I’m sure, that Opal Coast won’t let you down. 

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for your thoughts or experiences about this part of France in the comments!

Yours, L. 

BTW, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram:

  1. In terms of geography, logistics and history.
  2. Yup, it is the same Channel, that you can reach UK through!
  3. Or Côte d’Opale in French.
  4. Upper France in English.
  5. Well, technically it ended  ten kilometers later at McDonald’s in Calais.  We were hungry as wolves after such a long walks!

About L.

She has a serious mental disorder, which is associated with the Harry Potter world. It is stated, that symptoms of uncommon behavior started when she read about the Hogwarts and the Wizardry World for the first time. Now she’s in her mid-20’s and is in constant search of magical signs all other the world.1 Another thing is that while travelling L. is acting like a little child in a toys shop – she is super excited and she wants everything. Due to this, she knows and sees a lot, but has difficulties in simply stopping and enjoying a moment.

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