Top ten seaside attractions

Seaside resorts on the opal coast

What to do on the Opal Coast

Dive into NAUSICAA, Europe’s largest aquarium

In 2018, a massive expansion of NAUSICAA, the French National Sea Centre in Boulogne-sur-Mer opened to the public. An amazing destination for lovers of the sea, where you can experience the vastness and fragility of the Ocean.

Built in the shape of a Manta Ray, the new building houses one of the largest aquariums in the World, holding a staggering 10,000 m3 of water (to give an idea of the scale, the equivalent of 4 Olympic pools). Modelled on the island of Malpelo, off the coast of Colombia, this giant aquarium recreates the ecosystem of the high seas. Sharks, manta rays and shoals of other fish will populate this ecosystem, with almost 60,000 creatures in the community!

An 18 metre-long transparent tunnel offers a totally immersive experience with panoramic viewing angles. A vast viewing panel, measuring 20 metres long and 5 metres high, gives spectacular views for the visitor.

The exhibition also features interactive attractions and dazzling new sights.

Explore the crypt in boulogne-sur-mer

One of the largest in all France, the crypt is a veritable maze of galleries that stretch beneath the entire surface of the basilica of Notre-Dame.

In a space that has been completely redesigned, from the floor to the restored frescoes, a trail highlights the collections of tombstones and religious art, evidence of the medieval church and of the cult of Notre-Dame de Boulogne.

Hiking on the Grand Site des Deux-Caps

The 23km stretch of protected landscapes and habitats from Cap Blanc-Nez et Wimereux boasts a rich fauna and flora.

The best thing to do is to explore on foot along the GR 120 walking route and the countless other walking trails.

The Maison du Site des Deux- Caps welcomes visitors with a programme of nature and discovery activities :

  • Nordic walking,
  • Electric bike hire,
  • Departure points for walks and mountain bike trails.

Discover France’s largest WW1 Cemetery

Etaples Military Cemetery is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the whole of France, with more than 11.000 male and female soldiers graves.

During the First World War. The military had extended the largest British base in France.

Over a million men passed through the training camp and hospitals between March 1915 and November 1918 A sign at the entrance summarises in English the history of the cemetery and a QR code provides access to additional content.

Exploring the seafront architecture of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

This resort is over a century old and carries its age with charm!

Beyond the dynamism of its events and sports scene, Le Touquet stands out because of its seafront architecture.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the resort experienced a veritable «Golden Age».

The covered market, the Westminster, the race course, the aerodrome, the town hall, the post office and the Quételart villas all provide precious evidence of this era.

A bike ride is the best way to appreciate the architectural elements of the resort.

An initiation into sand yachting

The Opal Coast is undoubtedly the cradle of this sport that became popular in the 1910s.

With their long expanses of fine sand, the beaches of the Opal Coast provide the perfect playgrounds for enjoying this discipline that requires just one thing: wind.

The enormous advantage of this sport is that that you can very quickly pick up the technique and start enjoying yourself !

Many clubs propose this activity, with English-speaking instructors.
Contact our tourist offices that will help you book your session. 

Sampling the fruits of the sea

Cod, whiting, sole, herring… the fruits of the sea are the pride of local gastronomy!

The port of Boulogne-sur-Mer supplies most of what is served by local restaurateurs as well as supplying members of the public that find the very best fish at the markets and on the stalls on the quayside.

Good to know: in Etaples-sur-Mer, Maréis offers a programme of culinary workshops based on fish, a unique opportunity on the Opal Coast to learn how to prepare the local catch.

Discover the Centre for Lace & Fashion in Calais

Emblematic of a savoir-faire that is unique in the world, this centre is the leading museum of lace woven on a draw-loom.

Housed within an authentic lace manufacture site of the 19th Century, the collections retrace the history of lace from its manual production right up to the most contemporary creations.

The high-point of the visit: seeing the famous Leavers in action, monumental cast-iron machines that allow exceptional fabric to be produced.

Entente Cordiale at the Château d’Hardelot

How could you fail to be surprised by the fantasy of this building with allures of a Tudor manor !

Restored by two English aristocrats in the 19th century, the château became a hot-spot for the British « gentry ».

Nowadays, a visit to the fully-furnished interior plunges the general public into a truly Victorian ambiance.

As well as the château there is the Elizabethan theatre, whose music and theatre programme celebrates Franco-British cultural relationships.

Set off in the tracks of the Second World War

During the Second World War, the coast of the Nord became one of the key sections of the Atlantic Wall, a system of German coastal fortifications that stretched from Norway to Spain.

The beaches of the Opal Coast still retain a number of reminders of these defences.

The Remembrance Museum in Calais, the Todt Battery in Audinghen, the 39-45 Museum in Ambleteuse and the Mimoyecques Fortress reveal all aspects of the conflict along the Opal Coast.

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