Tuesday, 25 September 2012

From Dover to Calais | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer, Wimereux, Wissant & Carrefour

Recently I went on a day trip to France which, if you have a car, may be a tempting day out for you. I will admit it was very handy that my boyfriend lives a 30 minute drive from the Channel Tunnel, however even a couple of hours in France is a worthwhile experience. Driving to France is so easy, it costs around £30 and that's per car not per person and you are there in 30 minutes! It's crazy.
We arrived in Calais at 8.30 local time and decided we would head south down the coast and see where we end up. Our first destination was Wissant which is a lovely seaside village and when we arrived there was a morning market going on with food, crafts and clothing. I bought some fresh strawberries and a pain au chocolat from a local bakery for breakfast. The bakery was bustling with French men buying their daily baguettes, what a peaceful way of life. 

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏

We decided to go down to the beach which featured some World War II relics but as it was still early morning it was quite chilly so we walked through the residential streets, gawped at the amazing houses and worked our way back to the car to move on to the next stop.  


Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏

I had tried to do some research before we went to France and the Euro Tunnel website had some day trip ideas which was where I read about Boulogne-sur-Mer.  From reading about it I thought I would love it - a "vast architectural and historical heritage, which has earned it the title of City of Art and History, a coastal town, with its leading fishing port, where you can sample the finest fish and seafood dishes." Perhaps we didn't explore enough as I didn't see any attractive architecture, in fact it felt like we had just rolled up in Salford with all the grimy high rise flats around. There is a fishing port, which might paint a nice sunny harbour picture in your head but it wasn't quite like that, just more concrete and a strong smell of fish. Here is an accurate image I have found from the internet....  

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer

Boulogne-sur-Mer was very busy and the city centre was just like any other city centre really, however, I did manage to buy some 35mm film for my camera!

Anyway, I don't want to be completely negative about it because we ended up going to Nausicaå which was definitely the best aquarium I've been to. It never ended; we spent a good few hours in there. There were sea lions, giant tortoises, penguins, crocodiles, sharks... so if you are planning a trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer I would recommend Nausicaå. It was €12.50 for a student ticket.


Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Boulogne-sur-Mer

We were getting quite hungry but didn't want to have lunch in Boulogne-sur-Mer, so decided to go back the way we came in the car and stop at the next village which was Wimereux. This was everything I expected a French village to be. It had a high street which had some restaurants, cafes, seaside shops and fine chocolatiers. As we were on a budget we decided to grab some lunch from the local supermarket Carrefour and ate it sat by the river which goes through town. 

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

It was quite a breezy day so the sea was too wild to sit near, however the seafront is lined with sweet little beach huts which were being taken advantage of by the locals. 

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

The most amazing part of Wimereux was the houses, each one was so personal to the owner, they all hand paint their own house number signs and paint the front of their house all sorts of colours.  

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

After walking around so much and being up since 5.30am we were beginning to crash so decided to go and get a beer in the nearest pub. A beer I would recommend is Affligem, which is a blonde beer and also comes in fruit flavours. 

Ma Bicyclette: Wanderlust | A Day Trip To France On A Budget‏ - Wimereux

After some relaxation we decided to move on and make our way back to Wissant as we wanted to have tea there before going to huge Carrefour near the Euro Tunnel to stock up on booze to take back to England. Turns out the French stop serving food at 6pm which made our options pretty limited. After looking around the town we found a hotel (Hotel de la Plage) which was going to serve food till 7pm so we had no choice but to eat there. The menu was quite expensive so I went for the 'meal of the day' which was white fish and potato, no idea what kind of fish I ate but it had a spine and what I can only describe as really long ribs and didn't taste of much.  Ollie got the lamb which ended up giving him food poisoning! 

I will end up on a positive note, we sat outside on the decking which was next to a large pond with a little duck family swimming around so we gave them our bread. 

Carrefour closed at 9pm so by the time we got there it had already closed unfortunately!  At least we will be better prepared if we ever decide to do it again. I think this review has been both positive and negative but I can only be honest and I hope this is useful for anyone planning a day trip to France on a budget.

Cristina
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2 comments:

  1. This was quite interesting to read, as I have gone to France for over 20 years as we have a little house there (north of Bordeaux). I'm not a big fan on Northern France where you went, it's not all that pretty in places because of WWI and WWII destruction.. hopefully you can get a bit further afield next time, and more into Normandy- Honfleur is beautiful.. xx

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  2. Looks like you had a gorgeous days! I wish I lived closer to the tunnel, I'd love to take day trips to France. I'll have to make do with weekend breaks I guess, not that I mind!

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