10 Reasons to Visit Pas-de-Calais

Pas-de-Calais promises stunning coastal views, intriguing cultural pursuits and a fascinating heritage. Discover miles of golden sandy beaches, countless restaurants and extraordinary nature. Ten great reasons to visit Pas-de-Calais from Calais to Le Touquet and Arras.

Learn all about marine life © Nausicaá

1. Nausicaá: Europe’s largest aquarium

Discover 58,000 sea creatures on an exciting family day in Boulogne-sur-Mer with lots of hands-on activities to keep the kids busy. Wander through the immersive 18-metre glass tunnel and marvel at the rays curving overhead.

Discover the beautiful Les Deux-Caps © Eric Desaunois

2. Chic eateries in a secluded paradise

Located 5 minutes from the sea, the Domaine WE farm complex offers individual gîtes perfect for groups and families who want to celebrate together. The farm has been beautifully renovated respecting the environment with sustainability at the center of the land.

3. Beer Bonanza

France doesn’t just offer exceptional wine. In the heart of Arras, next to the historic Place des Héros, sample the best local beers at Chez Marcel under the guidance of beer expert Luka Antonic. If you’re more into dessert, pair your drink with charcuterie plates and local cheese or desserts.

Further north, La Brasserie La Bréche is not only a small brewery, but also sells locally made kombucha and many activities for toddlers so the whole family can spend the afternoon outside.

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After a few beers or non-alcoholic alternatives, both Arras and Béthune have bell towers to visit nearby that are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

4. Château de Beaulieu

A five-star boutique hotel and restaurant in a historic setting just an hour from Calais. Two restaurants, the Michelin-starred Le Restaurant Gastronomique and the contemporary brewhouse Côté Jardin, cater to all tastes, and the luxury accommodation makes it the perfect place for a romantic weekend.

5. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve: Isnor

Ô Experience breathtaking natural beauty at Marais by Isnor. Created during the Middle Ages, the man-made Audomarois marsh spans over 3,700 hectares intersecting 700 km of waterways.

6. Star Cuisine: Bacôve

Enjoy the exquisite French cuisine of Chef Camille Delcroix, award-winning Best Chef 2018, tucked away in Saint-Omer’s old town. Delcroix named his restaurant after the large flat-bottomed boats used in the marshes by Saint-Omer’s vegetable growers, so it’s no surprise that he makes many of the wonderful local ingredients for his meals, from fish to gin.

7. Rustic Retreats

The 13-hectare Wolphus Farm is the perfect place for an active holiday. Set up your tent in a peaceful setting or stay in the gîte. D. The owners regularly organize activities for children such as woodland orienteering and scavenger hunts. For a one-of-a-kind vacation idea, try one of the weekend packages to build practical skills, from repairing dry stone walls to the basics of plumbing.

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Located in the small village of Ecquedecques, Domaine d’Hélant offers six bright, comfortable rooms as well as an on-site gourmet restaurant and small brewery. In winter, warm yourself by the wood fire in the large conservatory.

Wellington Tunnels © Bastien Pradeau

8. Incredible History

Less than 500 men at the New Zealand Tunneling Company created a 20km-long network of underground tunnels to connect the medieval chalk quarries beneath Arras. 24,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers hid in tunnels known as the Wellington Tunnels (Carrière Wellington). In the early hours of the morning of April 9, 1917, near the German front line, soldiers came out of the tunnels and poured into the battlefield.

The Palais de la Cathédrale is a charming 18th-century mansion near Saint-Omer’s stunning gothic Notre Dame des Miracles Cathedral. Learn more about the place and the area thanks to owner Jean Luc Montois’ guided tours that take you through the antiques, art and artifacts displayed in the lovingly restored rooms.

Enjoy a unique evening at Cool K’cahuète

9. New Experiences

Discover a culinary adventure at the Cool K’Cahuète dinner club, in two luxurious geographic domes. As you move between different picturesque places along the coast of Opal according to the season, there is always a new sight to admire. With seasonal, socially responsible food inspired by French cuisine, blended with imagination and authenticity, you’re sure to have a one-of-a-kind evening. The warm ambiance promises new friendships, exchanging tips with fellow travelers on the best places to visit.

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Head to Wingles to try a variety of outdoor activities, from archery to water sports, at the Marcel Cabiddu nature and amusement park. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, opt for ball or mini golf. When you get hungry, sit down at Relais Bien-Être for delicious meals and cocktails in a converted fisherman’s cafe.

10. Sleep in an Extraordinary Stay

after a fun day exploring departmentPut your feet up for a warm stay. Escape from civilization in private woodland and Scandinavian-style hostels in Domaine de Fresnoy, just 15 minutes from Le Touquet. Fast WiFi and ample workspace make it a great option for digital nomads.

Located in the center of Calais, Le Cercle de Malines is an elegant B&B set in an elegant mansion. Enjoy a fresh French breakfast before exploring the city. We recommend the City of Lace and Fashion (Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode) as your first stop.

Grand Place, Arras © Bastien Pradeau

Find out more: www.explorerealfrance.com

Pas-de-Calais Tourism is a partner of the C-CARE project. The C-CARE project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. C-Care aims to measure the impact of the initial recovery plans that went into effect after the curfew in the spring of 2020, and to create support actions to stimulate the economic recovery.

Principal photo credit: Cap Blanc-Nez © lescoflocs

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