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Information on French National, Regional Parks and reserves – Day-tripper.net the web magazine for visitors to France.

French National, Regional Parcs and reserves – Nord, Pas-de-Calais and France

For cross channel day trippers, shoppers and visitors wanting information on French Regional Parcs in Nord and Pas-de-Calais and France.

Regional Parks. www.parc-opale.fr

Regional Parks in France. www.parcs-naturels-regionaux.tm.fr

The first French regional nature park was chartered in 1968 around Saint-Amand-les-Eaux-Raismes. In 1986, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional council decided to extend the park into three areas: The Scarpe and Escaut plain, the Boulonnais and the Audomarois. www.enrx.fr / Brochures (PDF – in French)

Parc Naturel Région al des Caps et Marais d'Opale (Audomarois); Maison du Parc, Le Grande Vannage, "Les Quatre Faces", 62510. Arques. Tel: 0033 321 98 62 98. www.parc-opale.fr

Boulonnais; Maison du Parc, Manoir du Huisbois, Le Wast. 62142. Colembert. Tel: 0033 321 83 38 79.

Espace Naturel Région al (E.N.R.); 54-58 rue Nationale. 59028. Lille. Tel: 0033 320 12 86 60. www.enr-lille.com

Parc Naturel Région al d'Avesnois; Maison du Parc. 59550. Maroilles. Tel: 0033 327 77 51 60. www.parc-naturel-avesnois.fr

Parc Naturel Région al Scarpe-Escaut; Maison du Parc "Le Luron". 59230. Saint Amand les Eaux. Tel: 0033 327 19 19 70. www.pnr-scarpe-escaut.fr

Map showing the National Natural Reserves in Nord, Pas de Calais. www.reserves-naturelles.org

(87 – Baie de Canche, 19 – Dune Marchand, 86 – Platier d'Oye)

Regional Natural Reserves in Nord, Pas de Calais

168 – BOIS de MARACHE

169 – BOIS d'ENCADE

162 – COTEAU de DANNES-CAMIERS

167 – JARDIN ÉCOLOGIQUE du VIEUX LILLE

107 – LANDES de BLENDECQUES

105 – LANDES de RACQUINGHEM

106 – LANDES d'HELFAUT

104 – LANDES d'HEURINGHEM

120 – Le HERON

25 – LOSTEBARNE-WOOHAY

147 – MARAIS de La GRENOUILLÉRE

23 – MARAIS de WAGNONVILLE

4 – MOLINET

123 – MONT de COUPLE

121 – MONTS de BAIVES

29 – PATURE a MILLE TROUS

26 – PRE COMMUNAL d'AMBLETEUSE

22 – PRÉ des NONNETTES

143 – RIEZ des MONTS de BOFFLES

24 – ROMELAERE

21 – TOURBIERE de VRED

122 – VALLON de la PETITE BECQUE

27 – Wavrans / Aa

Forests in France

forests in France – Office National des Forêts. www.onf.fr

fete de la nature – Held throughout France in May every year, this free family orientated event celebrates nature. www.fetedelanature.com

forests in France – Grand Site de France. "The Grands Sites de France network was created in 2000 and today brings together 37 Grands Sites that include exceptional, fragile, protected and listed cultural landscapes that are both well-known and emblematic. All the site managers share their belief in sustainable development and transmit "the sense of places" that is specific to each Grand Site". There are now 37 sites throughout France, including "Les Deux Caps" near Calais. www.grandsitedefrance.com

– Leaflet (PDF) (in French). www.grandsitedefrance.com

National Parks. www.parcsnationaux-fr.com

There are seven national parks in France;

Les Cèvennes. Maison du Parc, BP 15, 48400 Florac. Tel: 0033 466 49 53 01. www.cevennes-parcnational.fr

Les Ecrins. Domaine de Charance, BP 142, 05000 Gap. Tel: 0033 492 40 20 10. www.ecrins-parcnational.fr

La Guadeloupe. Habitation Beausoleil, Montèran, 97120 Saint-Claude. Tel: 0033 590 80 86 00. www.guadeloupe-parcnational.com

Le Mercantour. 23 rue d'Italie, BP 316, 06006 Nice cedex. Tel: 0033 4.93.16.78.88. www.mercantour.eu

Les Port-Cros. Castel Sainte-Claire, rue Sainte-Claire, 83400 Hyères. Tel: 0033 494 12 82 30. www.portcrosparcnational.fr

Les Pyrènèes. Villa Fould, 2 rue du IV septembre, BP 736, 65007 Tarbes Cedex. Tel: 0033 562 54 16 40. www.parc-pyrenees.com

La Vanoise. 135 rue du Docteur Julliand, BP 705, 73007 Chambèry cedex. Tel: 0033 479 62 30 54. www.vanoise.com

Espaces Naturels. www.espaces-naturels.fr

Reserves Naturelles. www.reserves-naturelles.org

Massifs are impressive ranges of mountains (massifs montagneux). There are six in France; Les Pyrenees, les Vosges, le Jura, le Massif central, les Alpes.

The main rivers are la Loire, la Seine, le Rhin, la Garonne, le Rhone.

Beach Walks

Beach and Cliff Walks near Calais.

It's worthwhile making a day of your shopping trip to Calais by going for a good walk along the beach or cliffs, just a few kilometres outside Calais. No only will you build up an appetite but on a clear day you will be able to see the white cliffs of Dover. There are 40,000km of Grandes Randonées (routes) in France.

France has nearly 6,000 kilometres of coastline, and 80% of its landscape is rural. Locally Nord / Pas de Calais has 240kms of coast, Picardy 60kms, Normandy 640kms, and Brittany a whopping 2,712kms.

Walking Holidays in France

calais seaview

View from Cap Blanc Nez – towards Boulogne – this is a particularly enjoyable walk – you can usually see England.

Part of a protected area of natural beauty.

A splendid limestone headland which marks the point where the English Channel joins the North Sea.

The Dover Patrol Monument (160 m above sea level) is situated here.

calais beach

A good walk along the beach is often a nice way to end a successful day – or to build up an appetite before lunch.

world war bunker calais

Many old bunkers from the Second World War can be seen along the coast walking towards Cap Blanc Nez.

wissant beach

Between Calais and Boulgne on the D940 is Wissant, a pleasant town with a nice sandy beach.

Cliff top security

– the cliffs (falaises) between the two caps are magnificent – but dangerous. Follow these simple rules and enjoy your day in safety.

1 Stay clear of the edge – rock falls are frequent.

2 Never ride a bicycle along the cliff top.

3 Don't throw anything down on to the beach.

4 Don't run.

5 Use the special paths to get down to the sea – don't try and find your own route.

6 Don't go near the bottom of the cliff.

7 Don't look for fossils or pebbles – it is illegal to do so.

8 Don't get caught by the tide which can come in quickly.

On the Beach – signs (swimming)

In order to ensure everyone can use the beach safely there are rules in place which everyone should follow.

Blue flags suggest the water is good and clean.

Green flags mean it is safe to swim and supervised.

Orange flags indicate an area where swimming is authorised but with precaution.

Red flags indicates a dangerous area where swimming forbidden.

Yellow flags indicate that the water is polluted.

Yellow buoys mark out channels; Spherical for the swimming areas, Cylindrical for cross channels (where boats come through).

The large flat and often windy beaches of North France are ideal for sailing and sand yatching.

Surfing – includes storm spankers, catamarans, wind surf boards and kite surfing.

Beach Craft – pedal boats, surf boards, inflatable boats or other boats.

General Rules;

As with powered craft you must reduce your speed to 5 knots when inside the 300m beach zone.

Never go further than 2 nautical miles from the beach with a storm spanker, 1 mile on a wind surf board, and 300m on a beach craft.

Do not overestimate your physical capabilities or those of your equipment.

Sail as part of a group where possible.

Beware of winds pushing you away from the coast.

Use a wet suit and a harness.

Do not try and force your right of way – take care not to get in the way of shipping.

If you want to learn to sail use either a Fédération Francaise de Voile (Yachting Club), or a club affiliated to the École Francaise de Voile, which offers organised courses with qualified teachers.

– Blue Flag programme, how clean is the beach? www.blueflag.org

Fishing

There is plenty of excellent fishing along the North French coast. You cannot sell what you have caught and must comply with catch size regulations. Line fishing is free along the entire coastline (unless the area is subject to restrictions such as in a port).

Catch sizes – if you want to keep your catch it must be bigger than; Bass (36cm), Cod (35cm), Hake (27cm), Plaice (27cm), Sole (24cm) and Turbot (30cm). Common Crab (14cm), Cockles (3cm), Mussels (4cm) andShrimp (3cm).

Waterways in France

waterways in France – Voies navigables de France. The French Waterways Board – loads of information relating to canals, pleasure boats, harbours etc.

This is the place to buy your "recreational licence" if you are a boat owner.

". . . is responsible for managing, operating, modernising and developing the largest network of navigable waterways in Europe, comprising 6,700 km of canals and developed rivers, over 2,000 permanent structures and 40,000 hectares of waterside public land."

Useful Outside links

All French monuments and museums. www.culture.fr

Nord Department Tourism. www.cdt-nord.fr

Nord / Pas de Calais Tourism. www.northernfrance-tourism.com

French Embassy – USA site. www.info-france-usa.org

calais tourist office – Calais Tourist Office English web site. www.calais-cotedopale.com

the other side France – The Other Side, lots of useful information. www.theotherside.co.uk

slow travel – Slow Travel is a community of people who like to travel and experience new places! www.slowtrav.com

Also Sloweurope.com (photos) and Slowtalk.com (message board).

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