If you want to stay a weekend in the north of France and you love nature, food and the smell of salty sea, then a visit to the Bay of Somme is highly recommended. This beautiful piece of untouched nature is located in the Pas de Calais region in the department of Picardy and is known for its delicious dishes of seafood and beautiful beaches. In addition to nature, this 70 square meters of marshy river delta offers on both sides of the bay also a number of small touristic hotspots. Such as Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, Le Hourdel and the small town Le Crotoy, where I have been a lot since my childhood and still love to come when I’m in France.
Le Crotoy is perhaps best described as a fishing village. Upon arrival you can already see the boats lying on the dry, waiting for the water level to rise. In the back the sound of the seagulls high above the Bay. Le Crotoy has a beautiful sandy beach but also a dangerous tidal current, therefore there isn’t much beach tourism through the year.
The village has a specific artistic atmosphere with picturesque buildings, pastel-colored facades and many restaurants where you can eat delicious fish. In this village you’ll find also the house where Jules Verne lived for 5 years. Yes, that same novelist who also lived in Amiens.
Besides the fact that you can have a good walk in le Crotoy and its surroundings, you can also enjoy excellent food here. Along the Quai Courbet and the Place Jeanne d’Arc, you’ll find a lot of fishmongers and restaurants where you have a wide range of fresh fish and seafood. We mostly like to sit between the locals at La Bonne Franquette around lunchtime (between 1pm and 3pm). Perhaps not the first choice when you see the interior, read French food shed, but believe me the atmosphere is good and the Fruits de mer you get here is sublime and very cheap.
After an extensive lunch, nothing is better than go out for a good walk. We always like to stroll through the picturesque streets of the village before we end at the beach. Along the coast you can also find many hiking and cycling tours, a perfect way to explore this beautiful part of France. Another option is to take a ride with the Somme Bay Railway or to book a trip with a horse. Very nice when you want to explore the area with kids.
It’s also possible to join a two-hour trip on the mudflats, guided by a nature guide to spot special birds and seals. The trip can be booked in Le Crotoy, but the starting point is the lighthouse in Le Hourdel on the other side of the bay, next to Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme. Keep in mind that you’ll bring boots or old shoes with you.
Spending a weekend in this beautiful nature reserve is highly recommended, there is plenty to do for all ages. Around the Bay of the Somme there are many camp-sites where you can stay with a tent, caravan or camper. The area also offers numerous holiday homes and hotels that are located next to the bay or in one of the many beautiful villages. Like Les Tourelles, which you can recognize by its striking red color and green tower.