The Pas de Calais region is often overlooked as a tourist destination, simply passed through on the way to another part of France. But this area has a lot to offer visitors, from natural scenery and bustling seaside resorts to battlefields and historic towns. Much of the space between Calais and Boulogne is part of a natural park, including the Opal Coast, where communes such as Wissant and Wimereux sit amongst 120km of sandy beaches, dunes and cliffs.
Pas de Calais’ battlefields can be explored via the Remembrance Trails, a network of tracks that span the countryside and follow various aspects of the war. But the First World War is not the only conflict this region has seen – the battles of Agincourt and Crecy also took place here during the Hundred Years War. In contrast to these desolate sites, Pas de Calais has a number of beautifully maintained gardens with diverse species of trees and flowers, fine topiary, duck ponds and winding paths.
The Bas Pays is fairly gentle terrain, making for easy walking and cycling, while the Haut Pays is a more undulating, beginning from the Ardennes mountains and extends into the Boulonnais.