Some say that the Cran d’Escalles is the most beautiful beach on the Côte d’Opale! It’s quite true that this discrete little cove, hidden away from prying eyes, is wildly charming. Depending on the tides, it is either a narrow pebble beach or a vast expanse of fine sand, but it is always dominated by Cap Blanc-Nez …
Reaching Cran d’Escalles
To get there, take Rue de la Mer, pass the holiday homes and walk along the fields, on the edge of which there is parking available. Then slip through a notch in the cliffs, created naturally thousands of years ago.
Another flight of steps to the right or to the left, and there you will find the beach of Cran d’Escalles… and above all a guaranteed wow factor! The beach is at the foot of the Blanc-Nez cliffs, with an impressive view of these majestic and fragile walls of white chalk.
Highlighting the beach of Escalles
At low tide, the sea uncovers the large sandy beach of Escalles, which you should walk along as far as possible before turning around and taking in the whole of the Deux-Caps site. On one side, the brilliant chalk cliff face, constantly being eroded by the waves. Meanwhile, over the sea the White Cliffs of Dover stare back across the ballet of ferries and the breathtaking views of the bay of Wissant and beyond. It’s a real eyeful! You are treated to an enormous breath of fresh air and, at dusk, you can enjoy a sunset that is almost always magical.
Here the sea rises quickly and at high tide you find yourself on a narrow pebble beach with your back to the cliff. Those who are crazy about swimming will still throw themselves into the water. Others will play at being Robinson Crusoe, marooned at the edge of the world.
Dominated by Cap Blanc-Nez
The beach at Escalles has one more advantage that makes it truly unique. It is dominated by Cap Blanc-Nez, the jewel of the Côte d’Opale and the Holy Grail for any hiker exploring the area.
Just before the beach, a staircase leads off to the right, offering the most courageous the opportunity to climb the cliff side and reach a summit that culminates at 133 metres. Our very own Mont-Blanc! Unless you go the other way, towards Wissant, Tardinghen and Cap Gris-Nez, and take the GR 120 trail, which overlooks the sea from the clifftop.
Escalles, a village with true charm
But the beach is not the only thing in Cran d’Escalles! The village is not lacking in charm either. It lives quietly, sheltered by the hills, illuminated by the yellow of the rapeseed fields, the green of the meadows and the red of the poppies. Escalles is a village shaped by agriculture and its windmill that has been without blades since the Second World War and stands as a reminder of this conflict.
Ramblers love Escalles
A curious little village with 233 inhabitants, split between Escalles-centre, Haute Escalles and the oddly named Tape-Cul, it rises, falls and snakes its way through the countryside.
Hikers love it and, thanks to them, tourism is going strong. All year round, and even more so in the summer months, Escalles is full of visitors at its various accommodation sites. It also offers them a summer market, from mid-June to mid-September, every Saturday in the late afternoon.