Normandy, France: the forgotten coastline across the Channel

Why go there?

Britons usually head south from the ferry ports of Calais and Boulogne, leaving the inspiring 30 miles of coast between them surprisingly quiet. But the views along this stretch are stupendous, and you’ll discover huge sandy beaches backed by miles of mountainous grassy dunes, unpretentious seaside villages and fascinating relics from WWII.

What to do

Avoid the motorway; instead take the D940 that leads closer to the ‘Opal Coast’. On one side, small tracks wind through dunes to the beach; on the other, rolling hills hide pretty villages. Spot Dover’s famous white cliffs on the horizon from the imposing Cap Gris Nez headland and wander Wimereux’s quiet promenade browsing seafood restaurants.

Calais to Boulogne, France

Where to stay and eat

Le Carnot Hotel in Boulogne is perhaps the town’s best hotel. Expect chic double rooms (from €88 per night) and a good restaurant downstairs. Also worth a visit is Château de Montreuil, just south of Boulogne (doubles from €240), again offering great food in classic French surroundings.

The route