Nature activities in Nord-pas-de-Calais

  • Luxuriate in the grass, in Dunkerque

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

    Luxuriate in the grass, in Dunkerque

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

  • Play on the beach, in Dunkerque

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

    Play on the beach, in Dunkerque

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

  • Family gardening, in Cassel

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

    Family gardening, in Cassel

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Jérôme Berquez

Nature activities in Nord-pas-de-Calais 59000 Lille fr

Located in several very strictly defined areas, the industrial activities of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais have not taken precedence over natural areas, which has opened up the opportunity for a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Hiking

Hiking is very popular throughout the plains of Flanders, in the Artois or the Thiérache, and around the marshes or in the valleys along the river Aa.

 

The region is also home of the Natural Parks since the Regional Natural Park of Scarpe-Escaut was the first park ever created in France. Since that time, two other parks have joined: Caps and Marais d’Opale and Avesnois.

Thirty-three remarkable gardens and numerous floral parks are also scattered throughout the towns of the region.

Even more astonishing, strolls at the foot of the slag heaps and mining trail basins.

 

Cyclotourism

For cycling, the region is famous for its cobbled streets (in the Paris-Roubaix cycle race) but the roads which cross the region are not all as bad as that. Come summer, you can for example "climb" easily up to the Long Buisson pass, near Bavay, which reaches up to an altitude of... 145 metres! Mont des Cats and Saint-Amand-les-Eaux also offer interesting road tours; while the new Val Joly recreation park and tourist resort (near Avesnes-sur-Helpe) has an approved mountain bike path around the edge of the lake.

Navigable waterways

A mining and industrial basin, the Nord region is also a land of waterways, criss- crossed with nearly 700 km of canals and navigable rivers, primarily for professional barges, which are sometimes transformed into bed and breakfasts. Around ten harbours and forty or so water sports resorts now are now open to "freshwater sailors", especially on the canal du Lys or in the valley of Scarpe-Escaut.

Thrills

The large northern beaches offer the opportunity for many various outdoor activities such as sailing, land sailing, kite surfing, sea kayaking, and fishing. Also, it is not uncommon to see kites flying whenever the wind picks up.

The land side is also a perfect destination for canoeing and rafting enthusiasts.

Things to see

Point of interest