Get hooked on Gravelines! Once a triple fortress for Louis XIV, it’s now a thriving seafaring suburb superbly filleted for family fun. Explore the coast from aboard a trawler, go fishing on the river Aa, or relive the swashbuckling days of buccaneers at the Port Royale Museum. Then head for the beach activities at Petit–Fort–Philippe or sniff out the traditional herring smoking plant a ferry crossing away at Grand–Fort–Philippe. Two museums depict the dangerous life of deep–sea fishermen.
Unearth Dunkirk dunes’ historic treasure trove, from the 5,000 year old fossil dune at Ghyvelde to the architectural splendour of the Belle Époque.
Dip into mussels at Malo–les–Bains, awash with seafood eateries. Go shrimping along the 7km of coastland whose colourful beach huts, cafés and fish restaurants buzz with family interest. Dig into a bowl of mussels, or stroll past the Malouine villas dating back to the19th century heyday. Drop in for lunch or stay at the Hotel Hirondelle, where English is widely spoken. Explore the border resort of Bray– Dunes, a 1920s favourite now chosen by sand–yacht fans for its 5km beach. Sleepy Zuydcoote was the setting for Weekend at Zuydcoote, a harrowing account of the Dunkirk evacuation – during which around 100 Allied soldiers died at Leffrinckoucke. The commemorative Fort des Dunes is open to the public.