Re-charging road trip: Côte d’Opale

view on Opal Coast, Channel and countryside North of France

The search for a roadtrip that was both limited in distance (as we only had five days availabe) and that put our electric car’s range into practice brought us early August to France’s Côte d’Opale.

Do join me as I look back on this little trip that ticked all the right boxes.

The Opal Coast is more than 100 kilometers of coastline with a mix of sandy and rocky beaches that stretches from the Belgian border to the Baie de Somme.

Wissant

First stop on our route (after a quick re-load at the Ionity charging station near Channel tunnel) was lovely Wissant.

It sits between Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez both of which are designated “Grand Sites de France” for their natural beauty. The small seaside town has a long, flat sandy beach and its waves make it one of the best surfing destinations in France.

We enjoyed a tasty seaside lunch at Les Sirènes-Moules frites sur mer followed by a short promenade walk. With sun on our side and a lovely salty breeze to clear the head and sand off all worries it meant holiday mode on!

collage of seaside photos. woman in fuchsia dress. Opal coloured coast Wissant France

Time to head towards our Airbnb. Le cottage de la bergerie is located in Inxent, lying peacefully in the heart of green Vallée de la Course, situated north of Montreuil and with only a 20′ drive the coast is easily accessible. Such a sublime little cottage! Its greatest asset (besides the comfy bed and warm welcome of owner Annelise) is without a doubt the private garden to enjoy the absolute peace and quiet and colourful sunsets.

cottage white with red roof and garden with pear tree
collage of photos pear in hand, garden furniture rural scenes
purple and orange clouds as start of sunset

A car (or at least some form of wheels) is definitely recommended as this tiny little village of less than 200 inhabitants doesn’t really have a city center nor a bakery. Instead meandering streets, picturesque little cottages, large castle homes and mansions and peaceful countryside…

Montreuil-sur-Mer

The name of this nearby city might be a little bit misleading as the town is located about 12 km from the seaside. A visit of the castle remains as well as a walk on the ramparts is worthwhile.

colourful houses and rural scenes french village with views of castle remains and rampart walk leading into green countryside

And if you are in need for some shopping and/or people-watching one of the closest options (from where we stayed) is to head to Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, though must admit I had visited about 30y ago and thought it lost some of its charm.

Wild horses…

We had the loveliest and fairytale-like encounter on one of our morning drives. Was shooting the misty fields as these beauties made their entrance…wild horses couldn’t drag me away!

white Polestar car and three white wild horses in misty field
whild white horses in field morning mist

Le Crotoy – Baie de Somme

Halfway our stay we decided to take no risk and already charge-up our own white horse 😉

Finding fast chargers is still kind of a puzzle as they are not really widely scattered, at least not in the region we were visiting. We ended up driving almost 50 km southwards towards Somme Bay region for a re-fill at Ionity station of the local aire. In all those years that we have regularly visited France I have never seen such a stunning aire!

collage of nature photos aire de la Baie de Somme france, walkway over water and purple wildflowers in green fields

Definitely worth a stop and even the detour as we combined with charming Le Crotoy.

At some point in history this used to be one of the biggest fishing ports along the Channel. Due to coastal silting however those days are long gone though the town hasn’t lost its charming attraction.

colourful collage seaside town, red and white brick hotel, flowered streets, street art Jules Verne, statue with seagull

Hardelot castle

Neo-Tudor Hardelot castle houses the Franco-Britannic Cultural Centre (hence the mixed flag) and is an attraction on its own, though its surrounding gardens and the landscape of marshes, ponds and hiking trails makes it truly inviting as a tourist stop.

collage of photos walking trail near lake and colourful flowers in castle garden

Wimereux

Of all places visited during this trip maybe the most all-round town. Some lovely Belle Epoque-style houses to spot, holiday souvenirs to shop in colourful shopping streets, a lively and colourful seafront promenade and numerous restaurants and bars. We enjoyed an excellent seafood platter lunch at Paul et Virginie restaurant.

colourful collage of seaside town. beach promenade and beach with people in summertime. Belle Epoque houses and souvenir gadgets
collage of photos of seafood platter with crab, grey shrimps and oysters
man eating crab

Ambleteuse and Audresselles

Neighbouring authentic and highly picturesque fishing villages. Ambleteuse is most-known for its Mahon fortress, surrounded by water at high-tide though accessible at low-tide. Audresselles has a wide beach, several hiking trails and some excellent restaurants. We had a delicious lunch at Au Petit Bonheur and if you have the same table as we did it’ll probably be the closest to Belgian royalty you’ll ever sit! To find out more, sorry, you’ll have to visit yourself 😉 Hubby had grey schrimp croquettes and I had a yummy scallops and foie gras dish both accompanied by some local beers.

collage of photos seafood dishes and seaside town views. Typical houses, blue window shutters
woman with walking stick posing fuchsia dress and behind her blue sea
low tide rocky beach Ambleteuse seaside town France

collage of photos seaside town. tractor pulling fishing boat, people on beach, surfers in the sea, woman taking pictures
woman with walking stick posing in front of seaside fortress
seaside couple selfie both with sunglasses on
people walking on rocky beach view on fortress
Fortress Ambleteuse in background
seagulls flying over rocky coastline, blue sky, opal coloured sea
hikers walking rocks and view on cliffs seaside town France

Cap Gris-Nez

And just like that we’ve reached our final day here at the Opal Coast. Time to commence our drive homewards though not without this true showstopper. Cap Gris-Nez is France’s closest point to England and on a clear day the white cliffs of Dover are clearly visible. Equally stunning views on more northern Blanc-Nez and the typical ‘entre-deux-caps’ landscape.

collage Cap Gris-Nez Channel views, view on white cliffs of Dover, lighthouse and view on cap Blanc-Nez all with blue sky

The site offers plenty of free (!) parking and there are a number of circular well-indicated hikes along the cliff tops and its numerous viewing points. We ended the trip like we started it: with a salty sea breeze and plenty of sun…and body and mind fully re-charged! We’ll be back!

a man fishing standing on a rock at Channel at Cap Gris-Nez, opal-coloured water and seagulls around him

Fyi, since beginning of this year we drive an EV and this was our first road trip where we could actually test out. We made three loading stops during the entire trip, one large one and two smaller ‘charge-up-just-to-make-sure’ stops. That took about 1h15′ in total of our time which we filled up with coffee breaks, stretching the legs and let’s not forget the stunning nature exploring at Aire de la Baie de Somme. Total charging cost was around 45 euros and we did around 700 km.

My health is still a concern and seriously limits the mobility though think this trip proved that there are always ways to explore and enjoy and focussing on what IS possible instead of what’s not is absulute key.

woman smiling at camera, seaside behind her, sunglasses and fuchsia dress

Ingrid

xxx

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