Nord Pas-de-Calais is one of France’s unsung travel destinations, but its coastal shores, deep historical roots and architectural wonder make it worth a visit. Three days in this area at the northern tip of France is the perfect amount of time to sample the Dutch influence, explore the outdoors and dig into the World War I and II past, too.
Day 1: Remember on a Visit to the Memorials
Kick off a visit to Nord Pas-de-Calais with a visit to the famed Newfoundland Memorial. One of only two Canadian historical sites that exists outside of North America, this well-kept memorial offers travelers an interesting, interactive outdoor experience that doubles as an homage to thousands of fallen soldiers. Afterwards, head to Calais, a town that most travelers argue is a gateway rather than a destination. Visit the World War II museum that’s housed in a former Nazi military bunker and explore an extensive collection of photographs and memorabilia that brings the past back to life.
Day 2: Dunk into Dunkirk Culture
The community of Dunkirk played a vital role in World Wars I and II. Spend the day exploring the army and military memorials that dot this northern destination, then head to some of the architectural highlights such as the Liar’s Tower, Dunkirk Town Hall and the Church Siant Eloi. Enjoy the Flemish flair on display at the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Dunkirk’s top art museum and, if you’re lucky enough to visit during Carnival, dance in the streets while you enjoy one of France’s largest (and most colorful!) festivals.
Day 3: Relax Like a Millionaire
Some 250,000 people find their way to the shores of Le Touquet each summer. Because of the town’s crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, riding clubs and golf courses it’s quickly become a destination for travelers seeking a luxurious escape. Spend the morning relaxing on the beach before wandering through town and taking in the Roaring Twenties architecture from a seat at one of the many outdoor bakeries and cafes. Afterwards, catch a race at the horse track before a late-afternoon round on the back nine.