Whatever you do, don’t let the fact that Picardy has never been a major tourist haven put you off visiting this wonderful province of France. Because, quite simply, what other holidaymakers have overlooked on their way to the south will be your gain.
Only a short drive from Calais, Picardy is very much a region that the French have happily kept to themselves for years. And no wonder! For this is a place of lush, fertile plains, ancient forests, imposing monuments and pretty towns. Not-to-mention robust castles, medieval churches and elegant cathedrals.
Picardy, of course, is also famous for its battlefields. Indeed it was here, way back in the 15th Century, that the Battle of Agincourt was fought.
In the north, near Calais, the white cliffs of Cap Gris Nez lead down to the sandy bays of Wissant and Wimereux - family resorts that retain an Edwardian elegance, while the little steam trains of the Somme Estuary provide a fascinating way to view a vast area that is rich in flora and fauna. Amiens, the region’s capital, was once the home of early sci-fi writer, Jules Verne. But if going back in time is more your thing, head over to the Samara, an amazing historical park.
With miles upon miles of sandy beaches and sheltered dunes, Picardy has all the essential ingredients for a great family holiday. In fact, whether it’s making sandcastles, sunbathing… or trying your hand at windsurfing, sailing or even sand yachting, this is the place. All in all, if you’re looking to experience the real France, you need look no further than Picardy. But like the French do, keep this special place to yourself!
Explore Le Touquet and you won’t be surprised to learn that this is the place where all those fashionable Parisians holiday. A lively Victorian resort with superb beaches, Le Touquet has a casino, a racecourse, a yachting harbour and a seafront waterpark, Aqualud, which the kids will simply adore. There are also three good golf courses.
The capital of Picardy, the jewel of Amiens is, without question, the city’s spectacular Cathédral Notre-Dame. This magnificent Gothic structure is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see during a visit to the city. Other top attractions of Amiens include the ancient St-Leu Quarter with its bars and restaurants alongside the Somme River and the floating flower and vegetable gardens. Amiens was also home to early science-fiction writer, Jules Verne, and his former home can be toured.
Picardy witnessed some of the harshest fighting of World War 1 and throughout the region you will find war graves and memorials to the fallen. Guided tours around the battlefields can be booked locally. Some of the most impressive monuments can be found at Thiepval and Beaumont-Hamel. You can take guided tours around the battlefields where you will also see the cemeteries and memorials. There is also a Circuit of Remembrance, a 40-mile route of the Battles of the Somme, running from Albert to Péronne.
Bustling Boulogne is easily the most important fishing port in France – making it the perfect place to stock up on fresh crab, lobster, mussels, sea bass or whatever else takes your fancy from the morning’s catch. Boulogne also has a superbly preserved citadel, from which you can enjoy wonderful views over the busy port.
A charming seaside resort that will remind you of times gone by, Cayeux-sur-Mer has over 400 pretty green and cream beach huts that are available for hire and offer an enviable way of spending a day by the sea.
If you love seafood, you’ll adore Dieppe. One of France’s oldest seaside resorts, this is the place to sample the local seafood stew or fresh mussels at one of the many quayside restaurants. Alternatively, you can always take some fresh fish back for a barbecue at your accommodation. Dieppe has a chic promenade and many attractions, including a casino. But if you get the chance, head over to the town’s Château Musée where you can find out more about Dieppe’s seafaring history.
Just three miles from our Keycamp parc, this attractive medieval port is a good base for a day spent walking or cycling, St Valéry has ancient ramparts surrounding narrow cobbled streets where you will find brightly painted fishermen’s cottages. The Sunday morning market makes for an interesting stroll and provides a good opportunity to stock up on local produce. There is an ancient garden next to the ramparts where flowers and vegetables are grown. With plenty of quaint restaurants, this is also a good place to get an inexpensive lunch or dinner.
This is a lovely seaside resort in the Somme Estuary region, with a wonderful sandy beach and extensive sand dunes. The bay is popular for crabbing as well as catching shrimps and prawns, plus a wide range of watersports is available during the summer months.
A mesmerising historical park at La Chaussée Tirancourt, just 15km from Amiens, a trip to Samara will take you back over a thousand years to the time of the earliest dwellers of the Somme. Offering the chance to experiment with catapults, cut flints and make fire, as well as flour-making, weaving and jewellery design.
Europe’s largest sea life centre in Boulogne has a stunning recreation of a South Seas’ reef, with 10-feet long sharks and rays swimming overhead!
This popular theme park near Berck-sur-Mer is set in an attractive wooded location and offers something for visitors of all ages. There’s a choice of exciting rides including ‘Le Raft’ which is not for the faint hearted! Bagatelle also has a zoo, boating lake and restaurants.
With its vast glass pyramid, Aqualud in Le Touquet is the perfect place for waterpark fun whatever the weather. There’s a massive waterslide, a scary ‘black hole’, artificial waves and a high speed ‘twister’ – talk about great fun!
Over 250 species of birds can be observed in their natural environments along the Picardy coast. The Somme Estuary is a particularly good spot for bird watching, and professional guides are available at several locations.
This thriving town is just a stone’s throw from the Keycamp parc at St Valéry. The Church of St Vulfran has a superb gothic façade, and just outside the town is an 18th Century château with a botanical garden.
With its beautifully restored old steam trains, the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme (Somme Bay Railway), provides a wonderful way of exploring one of the region’s most beautiful bays. Trains run from Cayeux-sur-Mer to Le Crotoy via St Valery-sur-Somme station.
With a relaxing atmosphere, 3 miles from St Valéry and close to the channel ports, this château parc is ideal for exploring this lovely part of France.
Only a short drive from Calais and the Tunnel, this relaxing parc offers a great location with plenty of places to visit in the local area.
Set in France's stylish north coastal resort of Le Touquet, this bright, two-storey complex is home to spacious modern apartments and an indoor pool.
A truly exceptional eco village tucked into a pristine landscape of pine forests, rolling sand dunes and wide, open skies.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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