Cycle Touring in Pas-de-Calais

Cycle Touring in Pas-de-Calais

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Cycling in France may be extremely popular and growing in popularity year on year with British tourists, but in the region near Calais it is less so. Many cyclists arriving at the busy and uninspiring port of Calais put their bike straight on the train and head south to areas with better known attractions. What many of them may not know is that the region around Calais is in fact a delightful cycling destination in its own right, rather than just somewhere to be got through quickly.

Cycle Touring in Pas-de-Calais

Cycle Touring in Pas-de-Calais

Arriving in France and disembarking the ferry on your bike, turn right past Sangatte and in less than twenty minutes you will find yourself cycling along the Opal Coast, one of the most delightful stretches of coastal cycling in the country. The white cliffs of the Cap Blanc mirror those found at Dover, though here you will also find long sandy beaches and sweeping sand dunes. The Opal Coast is so named because the chalk cliffs give the water a milky hue. Beautiful vistas over the Channel will have you wanting to cycle off-road and closer to the cliff edge – but do not get too close to the lethal drops – keep your eyes on where you are going or you are liable to end up in the drink rather than looking out over it. Take frequent stops to admire the views as you make your way to Wissant.
Free wheeling: cycling in France

Free wheeling: cycling in France

Photo Courtesy: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Travel/Pix/pictures/2007/04/27/FreeWheel_AlexLloyd460.gif

Wissant was once a busier port but is now just a small fishing village surrounded by dunes. You will find another timeless fishing village, Audresselles a little further on, and beyond that the charming beach resort of Wimereux. This belle époque seaside town 30km from the port is a good place to stop for the night. There are a selection of delightful hotels with beds for the night and plenty of good food – both of which come with lovely sea views.

From Wimereux, head inland the the Parc Naturel des Caps. Many people are surprised to find such pretty scenery so close to Calais. The rolling green hills are surprising to some in this region famed for its flat grimness and enliven a cycling trip with just enough of a challenge. If you are used to cycling in England you may be surprised by the low volume of traffic and the courtesy of other road users towards those on bikes that you will encounter throughout much of France.

Meandering past the châteaux and farmhouses of the region will give you a chance to savour the quiet beauty of this underrated region. Practically every settlement will have a municipal campsite – some more basic than others – or you could find accommodation at one of the settlements of the region. Audenfort is one option for a pleasant place to spend the night.

Information on cycle routes in Pas-de-Calais can be found online or from French tourist information offices. This area, like many areas throughout France, is the perfect place to enjoy travel on two wheels.

 

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