Most Brits speed through it, but Pas de Calais rewards those who leave the motorway and spend some time in this corner of north-west France. For a more scenic start to your driving holiday in France, the magnificent coastal road might be a bit of a detour but takes in 75 miles of glorious vistas.
Pas-de-Calais is a fairly flat region, meaning views stretch on endlessly. In the early 1900s, Pas de Calais attracted large numbers of wealthy Parisians and Brits who flocked to the sandy beaches and smart hotels. The region is now often ignored by holidaymakers, who simply pass through on their way to the hotter beaches of the south, but the coastline here is definitely worth stopping off for.
Pas de Calais is a great destination for families with children as the short journey time from the UK means less time cramped in a stuffy car and more time to enjoy your holiday. There are plenty of attractions for kids and the sandy beaches are perfect for paddling and building sandcastles.
Active types will love the array of water sports on offer in Pas de Calais, with sailing and sand-yachting both popular on the region's beaches. Companies offering horse-rides and children's activities can also be found on some of the busier beaches. There's plenty to do off the beach, too. If you're staying in a gite Pas de Calais, you'll be delighted by the number of charming coastal towns in this part of France. Le Touquet is a favourite with well-heeled Parisians and Brits and boasts many excellent eating and drinking places.
The beach here is fantastic too, making this a great place to head for a day out. The town has fascinating architecture so be sure to allow yourself time to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. Boulogne-sur-Mer is another popular daytrip destination for those lucky enough to be staying in a gite Pas de Calais and you'll find attractions for all the family in this vibrant coastal town. As well as boasting historical sites and numerous cultural attractions, the town has an excellent beach. It gets very crowded in the summer months but is a lovely, lively spot for soaking up the sun and taking a dip in the sea. Boulogne-sur-Mer has some excellent bistros and cafes and you'll find a strong American and British influence on menus here due to the town's historical maritime links.