Sunday, 30 April 2017

Plage du Cap Blanc Nez

Plage du Cap Blanc Nez - this is the best beach in France according to Paris Match magazine.  I think their reviewer might have wanted to get away from the crowds of Paris that day.

If what you want is beach and lots of it, then it's hard to beat.  The beach here runs from Normandy to Belgium.  Over there is England and the White Cliffs of Dover.   Just behind you is Cap Blanc Nez itself.  Gris Nez is down the coast a little.  The Aire des Deux Caps national park keeps the place rural. 

If your idea of a beach involves palm trees and pieds dans l'eau restaurants then perhaps you need to look further south.  Did I mention  rhat England is about 30 miles away?  Today it's blowing from the north and if you put your pieds in the water you will be snatching them out pretty quick.   The French kids who have been playing in the surf are distinctly blue. 

You park at the top of the cliffs and walk down to the beach.  Take everything with you that you will need - there is nothing down there except for the beach and the sea.  An ice cream van might turn up in the car park come summer. 

It's a broad expanse of sand, though there will be much much less of it at high tide.   At the foot of the cliffs is a 10m wide strip of stones,  fallen from the cliffs and ground smooth twice a day by the high tides. 

Turn left for Normandy, right for Belgium.   There's a WWII bunker at the foot of the cliffs, guarding the pathway up to the top.  Walk away from the bunker and you have the beach pretty much to yourself, although perhaps in high season you may have to walk a bit further. 

Lots of footpaths at the top if walking along the beach hasn't worn you out.  Try the climb up to the top of Cap Blanc Nez and gaze out at England, as famously, Adolf Hitler did before you.  I doubt that the Führer went for a paddle though.  

The village of Escalles is the place to go for things like cafés and restaurants.   You might as well leave your car in the car park and walk back to the village.  In high season I think you might struggle to find a space.  In low season you may struggle to find somewhere open. 

Remember high tide.  If you decide to go for lunch in the village, it might be wise to take your towel with you. 

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