Places to visit | Local area map | where to eat


Entre deux Caps...

Small coastal towns - Wissant, Ambleteuse, Wimereux
Inland towns -
Marquise, next to Rinxent and Hydrequent (not shown on map)

 On the flat sandy beach at Wissant you may see the strange sight of a tractor driving out of the sea, dripping with water.

This is how the fishermen launch their boats along this coast - in the old days, they used horses. Their small fishing boats are called 'flobarts'.They bob around on the waves in coastal waters, while their crew busy themselves catching fish.

flobart and tractor

The name of "Wissant" comes from 'white sand' - how the French locals heard English holiday-makers describe it. This coast was very popular with English visitors in Victorian days, when steam trains and paddle-steamers made travel to the Continent easier. They loved the headlands and the dunes, and the fine salt spray of the Channel, and pretty little fishing villages, and sun and sea and sand and fresh air.

When it was again possible to visit France from England after the Napoleonic Wars, English artists such as Turner came to this coast, attracted by the wild natural scenery and the colourful scenes of the local peasants and fishermen at work. See "Artists of the Côte d'Opale".

The area still keeps its attractions - most of the land between Cap Gris Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez is protected coastland. The flat beaches are safe for children, and have the extra amenities of a "KID Station". A 19th century watermill is preserved and open to the public next to one of the town's hotels. It contains roller-grinding machinery about a century old.

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Ambleteuse is another fishing village, on the sand-dunes along the coast between Boulogne and the cliffs at Cap Gris Nez. It used to be a naval base, and Napoleon kept part of his fleet here whilst preparing for a possible invasion of Britain.

On the beach, you can see an old coastal fort - the work of 17th century military engineer Vauban.

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Near Ambleteuse, the estuary of the river Slack is a nature reserve.

Wimereux is a holiday resort on the coast, surrounded by beautiful countryside. The nearby inland village of Wimille has a working watermill.

It has a beautiful beach, and beautiful cliffs all around it. It is "away from it all", and yet amazingly near the Channel Tunnel Terminal.

Wimereux is a 'KID STATION', i.e. a holiday resort that is particularly safe for children. Wimereux is particularly well known for: windsurfing, land-yachting, horse-riding, golf, and walking.

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Marquise and Rinxent are just off the Calais-Boulogne autoroute.

The towns are famous for their quarries, where the local "marble" was mined. There used to be big cement works there as well, using local chalk - but these are all closed now. You can find out about the rocks and the quarries at the Maison du Marbre.

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Web links and more information
Tourist information - OFFICE DE TOURISME:
Place de la Mairie - 62179 WISSANT
Tel: 00 33

Local area map
Calais area map
Click on places for more information

Places to visit
Maison du Marbre - museum of marble & geology, near the quarries of Marquise
Museum of the Atlantic Wall - World War 2 gun turret by Cap Gris-Nez
V3 Base, Mimoyecques - World War 2 secret weapon site
Transmanche Museum - history of crossing the channel
Watermill Museum, Wissant - century-old mill
Wimereux Golf course - spectacular cliff views
Club Nautique, Wimereux - great sailing school

Boulonnais Nature Park - the hills around Boulogne, and the coastal area between the two Caps
Coastal Walk - long-distance path from Dunkerque to Berck


Where to eat in "between 2 caps" - we recommend:
le Grand Cerf, Marquise
or the
Thomé de Gamond, Cap Blanc-Nez

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QUICK TOUR round the Côte d'Opale, starting with Nausicaa...
Background Information
Artists of the Côte d'Opale
How the Channel was formed
Seaside holidays



Calais Last updated 28th August 2007 © Copyright Invicta Media 1999-2007