Northern France • Hitting the Road

France, the Northern Coast from Lille to St. Malo. Who really knows it? We often speak about Belle Paris or La Cote d’Azur and never about ch’ti culture, amazing beaches and sea-sights, endearing people, Flemish influence, small villages rich with history and wonderful food, I could carry on speaking forever.

At Tiplr we don’t only travel and report, but we also want to create feelings and wishes. We are story-tellers, adventurers, pioneers of new locations and writers of word-of-mouth suggestions. This travel journey starts in a cryptic region, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, halfway through France and Belgium, and ends in Brittany, another curious location, with origins in Celtic heritage. France’s Northern Coast is cold and windy, even if it is not really humid, so you will feel comfortable and warm wearing a big turtleneck sweater and an anorak. Bring an umbrella with you, but also sunglasses, the weather changes really quickly and truly one of the best things to see is the clouds’ passage, in millions of different shapes.

In these locations, the best way to travel is by car, and because people here are really used to seeing travelers exploring their amazing but secret villages or natural heritage, you will find great friends, hosts, and counselors. I am proposing different travel combinations, both hitchhiking (this way of travel is popular in France and you can find plenty of information on the Hitchwiki Website) or renting a car, but it also isn’t a bad idea to use Bla Bla Car, to attempt a trip from one destination to another, whilst meeting new people!

Our itinerary starts from Lille, a beautiful and academic city, and twists and turns through four regions (Nord Pas de Calais, Picardie, Normandie and Bretagne). We are first visiting Dunkerque for Carnival, where you can try the unique experience of joining the big traditional celebration.

From there, we pass across Montreuil Sur Mer, a village that holds an oxymoron in it’s name, but has great sights and traditional plates. Following the historical heritage of this part of France, we pop in to Saint Valéry sur Somme to jump on a steam train along the coastline.

After these two hidden and little-known destinations, Étretat and Monet heritage are the best options to carry on the painted and coloured dream in which the landscape has placed us. Don’t fall asleep in front of one of the most beautiful sunsets in France and reach Le Havre and the near town of Honfleur to restore mouth and soul with a sip of tasty calvados!

History will wrap your thoughts during a tour on D-Day Beaches in Caen, one of the best cities in Normandy. From there, Mont Saint Michel, indeed renowned as one of the most characteristic places in the whole world, will give you the impression of being in a village out of reality. Following the tides’ mood, our itinerary rises at the peak of a promontory: Cap Fréhel. This unexplored track of coastline hosts two lighthouses; a perfect location to spend a romantic or heartfelt moment. The road trip ends in Saint Malo, a corsairs’ city, that will awaken your desire to start new adventures as soon as possible!

Some useful information you may need to start this road-trip:

  • Length of the trip: 767 km
  • Living costs for two people: you will spend approximately  €80 ($90 USD) for gasoline, and around €50-60 ($55-65 USD) per night to sleep in B&B or small hotels.
    Food is cheaper in small villages (around €15-20- $20-25 USD for a full meal, including wine or beer).
    In the Normandy countryside there are plenty of farms that sell local products such as apples, cheese, cider and wine, for cheaper prices than in the cities.
  • Useful links: Normandy Tourist Office Website, Nord Pas de Calais Tourist Office Website, Brittany Tourist Office Website.

This experience has been made through 11 tips created for you. Here is the complete tip list: Lille – Bienvenues Chez Les Ch’tis! • Dunkerque, France -The Craziest Carnival Ever! • Montreuil Sur Mer, France – An OxymoronSaint Valéry sur Somme, France – The Pearl of the BayÉtretat, France – Monet Was Right on the Mark!Le Havre and Honfleur, France – The Seine’s Mouth • Caen, France – The City of Europe’s Memory • Mont Saint Michel, France – Tides Change his Look!Cap Fréhel, France – The Lighthouse of freedomSaint Malo, France – The Corsair’s CityBla Bla Car – The Revolutionary Way to Travel!

Cover Photo Credit: Fullhdpictures.com

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