One hour from the capital Hauts-de-France, the English Channel or North Sea coast offers a break from nature, easily accessible for a day or a weekend. Our track record.
The sea, the sand, the sea air … Located less than 100 km from Lille, the English Channel and the North Sea can be reached in just one hour by car. In the North, Pas-de-Calais and even in Belgium we have classified the seaside resorts according to the minimum distance on the road, with each time the alternative route by train.
Mileage and duration of car journeys are those indicated by Google Maps for departures from Lille on weekends (Friday evening or Saturday morning) under normal traffic conditions. Traffic jams that are unavoidable at certain times of the year will, of course, prolong the trip. During periods of high departures, it is advisable to consult Bison Futé’s traffic forecasts.
For the train, we indicate the best travel time as indicated on the SNCF Connect website. Good to know: the main cities of the Côte d’Opale are served by TERGV, regional trains provided by TGV twice as fast as conventional TER. In addition, every summer, as part of the éTER operation, the Hauts-de-France region offers train tickets for € 1, especially for the coast.
Bray-Dunes (North, Hauts-de-France)
The northernmost beach in France, Bray-Dunes, is also the nearest on Lille by road. The seaside resort, located on the Belgian border, is an ideal destination for families, with activities and restaurants available for all budgets. Its dune landscapes make it a popular place for hikers. Bray-Dunes is the starting and ending point of “Vélomaritime”, a cycle route that connects it with Roscoff in Brittany over 1500 km. The section between Bray-Dunes and Dunkirk (12 km) is built on an old railway line.
With car : in 55 minutes via the A25 and D917 motorways (76 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free DK’Bus city bus (line C1 then 20, 50 minutes).
De Panne (Belgium)
Like its neighbor Bray-Dunes, on the other side of the border, La Panne is characterized by a landscape of dunes gathered in the Westhoek nature reserve. The seaside resort is also ideal for families and is home to one of Belgium’s largest amusement parks, Plopsaland.
With car : in one hour via the A25 and D947 (80 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free DK’Bus city bus (line C1 then 20, 1 hour).
Malo-les-Bains (North, Hauts-de-France)
With a casino, a bowling alley and an ice rink, Malo-les-Bains is Dunkirk’s largest beach. Belle Époque villas, beach huts as well as brasseries and ice cream parlors along the seawall that stretch to the town of Leffrinckoucke. There is no shortage of cultural sites around the beach. The Frac Grand Large, built in 2013 on the site of former shipyards, showcases contemporary art, as does the adjacent LAAC. The Dunkirk 1940 Museum, installed in former casemates, looks back on a significant episode of World War II, Operation Dynamo. The Radisson Blu Grand Hotel & Spa Malo-les-Bains, a four-star hotel with 110 rooms with balneotherapy area, was to open in September 2022 on the seafront.
With car : between 50 minutes and 1.20 at the A25 motorway (84 km).
And by train? In 30 minutes by TERGV or in 1h10 by TER to Dunkirk, then free DK’Bus bus (line C3 or C4, 15 minutes).
Gravelines / Petit-Fort-Philippe (Nord, Hauts-de-France)
The only city in France with ramparts completely surrounded by water, Gravelines is characterized by the presence of Vauban fortifications. A former military building that can be visited on foot or by bicycle, but also by rowing boat or pedal or electric boat. The seaside resort of Gravelines, Petit-Fort-Philippe, 3 km from the ramparts, is accessible on foot by taking the dike off the canal. The beach is ideal for sandyachting at low tide and kitesurfing at high tide.
With car : between one hour and 1.30 at the A25 motorway (92 km).
And by train? About 1:04 at TERGV with connection to TER in Dunkirk. From the station, the beach is a 45-minute walk through Graveline’s ramparts.
Belgium’s largest seaside resort is only 90 km from Lille by road. If the modern constructions of the seafront remove a bit of charm from the queen of Belgian beaches, it is enough to take Kusstram towards the western part of the city to find the dune landscapes. This tram line covers the entire Belgian coast over 67 km, from La Panne on the French border to Knokke on the Dutch border. To fill up on culture and learn more about Belgian maritime history, board the Mercator and Amandine, two museum ships moored in the marina of Ostend.
To discover the city in an original way, follow the digital walk dedicated to singer Marvin Gaye. In 1981, after a great artistic decline, the soul legend found inspiration in Ostend to compose his last album. MidnightLovewith his hit “Sexual Healing”.
With car : between one hour and 1.20 via the E403 motorway (93 km).
And by train? About 1h53 by IC train (SNCB) from Lille-Flandres station with connection in Kortrijk.
Cap Blanc-Nez Beach (Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France)
It is one of the most beautiful natural curiosities in Hauts-de-France. A few kilometers west of Calais, Cap Blanc-Nez is part of the Great Sites of France network, as is Cap Gris-Nez, further south. From the top of the chalk cliffs, which culminate 134 meters above the English Channel, the English coasts, about thirty kilometers away, are accessible to hikers on a clear day. A hiking trail (GR120) connects the two capes that pass through several coastal villages such as the Ambleteuse and the Audresselles.
With car : between 1.15 and 1.50 via the A25 and A16 motorways (122 km).
And by train? About 1h15 by TER to Calais-Ville, then free Div’in bus (line 5, 30 minutes).
Wimereux (Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France)
Composed of both fine sand and pebbles, Wimereux Beach, considered the oldest seaside resort in northern France, is a few kilometers from Boulogne-sur-Mer. The 1.5 km long dike is surrounded by about 300 belle époque villas, built in full style for sea bathing and shortly after the arrival of the railway. At the junction of the D940 coastal road, Wimereux is an ideal base for discovering the Deux-Caps site by car or on foot.
With car : between 1.20 and 1.50 via the A25 and A16 motorways (138 km).
And by train? On an hour by TERGV with connection to TER in Calais-Fréthun, then five minutes walk from Wimille-Wimereux station.
Le Touquet Paris-Plage (Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France)
Sport, nature, wellness … The seaside resort of Le Touquet Paris-Plage on the Côte d’Opale has everything to offer. In terms of sports, the seaside resort is a mecca for golf, tennis, sand yachting and horse riding. Its beach, an 11 km long stretch of sand and dunes surrounded by a pine forest, is ideal for family outings, on foot or by bike. To relax, we choose to stay at the iconic Westminster hotel, renovated in September 2020 and equipped with a Nuxe spa.
With car : between 1.50 and 2.20 on the A25 and A16 motorways (177 km).
And by train? About 1.20 with TERGV or about 2.30 with TER to Etaples-Le Touquet, then shuttle (20 minutes).
[Initialement publié le 13 juin 2021, cet article a fait l’objet d’une mise à jour.]