It is said that when you arrive in the Pas de Calais you cry twice, when you arrive and when you leave. For a long time, when one evoked this region, images of closed mine shafts and ageing corons inevitably came to mind, in short, a region where nobody would have thought of going on holiday. However, in just a few years, this image has fundamentally changed and the people in charge of tourism have fought to highlight a considerable heritage, with the help of a certain... Dany Boon. There is nothing to stop you from going on holiday, quite the contrary, especially as there are over 220 campsites waiting for you.
A nature holiday
Choosing the Pas de Calais for your camping holidays is first and foremost the promise of a great breath of fresh air. Whether you decide to take advantage of the immense beaches, follow the hiking or cycling trails, or discover the amazing landscapes, you will go from one surprise to another.
- Côte d'Opale: from Calais to Berck sur mer, 120 km of coastline awaits you with a choice of high cliffs or immense beaches where you can go for a walk, try your hand at sports such as sand yachting, or fly your beautiful kite. The Opal Coast is also the "Site of the two Capes", Gris nez and Blanc nez, which stretches for nearly 25 kilometres with "La Pointe aux oies" which is home to over 250 species of birds. Finally, there is the Bay of Canches and its 500-hectare nature reserve or the Bay of Authie and its colonies of grey seals and sea calves.
- Marais Audomarois: this classified wetland of more than 3500 ha obtained the UNESCO "Man and Biosphere" label in 2013. It is the result of 13 centuries of work to transform a swamp into a cultivable marsh. As proof, some forty market gardeners produce 50 different vegetables here.
Full of eyes
Your holidays in Pas de Calais can also be an opportunity to discover real architectural treasures, some of which are listed as Unesco World Heritage sites. This is the case, for example, of the Citadel of Arras, built by Vauban, but also of the belfries of Calais and Lille for example. It is also the historic city centre of Arras and in particular the Grand Place and the Place des Héros with their Flemish baroque style facades, but also the town hall and its 15th century belfry.
In the north... it was the coalmines
The image of the Pas de Calais cannot be dissociated from that of the mining industry, which is still present everywhere today. For example, you can discover the life of the miners by visiting the "11/19" site which operated between 1884 and 1986 near the Louvre-Lens museum (a very daring challenge), the 9/9 bis in Oignies dating from the 1930s or the pithead of Wallers Aremberg. If you had to visit only one place, it would be the Centre Historique de la Mine and the Fosse Delloye in Lewarde to discover what working in the mine was like and to meet former miners. But the heritage of the mines is also to be found in Lens with the current Jean Perrin Faculty of Sciences installed in the former Grands Bureaux of the Compagnie des Mines de Lens or in the arts-deco style swimming pool of Béthune-Bruay which was financed by the Charbonnages.
But history in the Pas de Calais also includes the many traces left by two successive world wars, such as the "Ring of Remembrance" at Notre-Dame de Lorette, where some of the bloodiest battles of the Battle of Artois took place during the First World War, the Canadian Memorial at Vimy, a piece of Canadian land overlooking the Artois plain, or the many remains of the Atlantic Wall, etc.
Swimming, hiking, visiting mining sites and museums are all good, but enjoying the food is not bad either. From this point of view too, the Pas de Calais has everything to seduce you, starting with seafood, Boulogne being the first French fishing port.
In another domain, "La 2 Caps", "La Blanche de Wissant", "Noire de Slack", "Belle Dalle" are all proof of the very long brewing tradition of the department.
Finally, to say that Pas de Calais is a huge... Cheese plate" is close to the truth. From the now famous Maroilles to the beer-ripened Bergues cheese, not forgetting the Boulette d'Avesnes, nearly a hundred cheeses have been listed, some of which are almost confidential.
Through these lines, we hope to have given you the desire to head north for your next holiday. In addition to all the sailing spots mentioned, there is one last asset of the Pas de Calais that we have not yet mentioned, the quality of the welcome you will receive, this welcome once sung by a man from the south...