Here you’ll find travel reports about Pas-de-Calais. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

131 travelers at this place:

  • Day921

    Wissant, France

    January 3 in France ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    We've made it to France and have found a spot in the popular free aire at Wissant, 30km south of Calais. The crossing was fine, the ferry's Christmas deccies still in place, having not yet reached 12th night. Rainy downpours greeted us as Martha's wheels touched down on French tarmac but our hearts lifted a little as we left the razor wire and dour high rises of Calais behind to wind our way through rolling green fields toward the distant blue cleft where the Channel met a changeable sky.

    The van parking at Wissant is surrounded by a thick screen of small trees, their bare winter branches providing a good network of perches for robins and little brown birds. It is quiet, save for a little road noise and occasional squawks and screeches of waterfowl somewhere in the distance. It doesn't have fresh water but it does have bins, glass recycling, grey and black water emptying facilities. A slightly muddy footpath leads between the gardens of nearby houses and small streets provide passage into town.

    We arrived mid afternoon on Thursday but didn't leave the van until late Friday morning. The cloud of Poppy's absence still hangs over us, dampening the excitement we would usually feel embarking on a brand new tour. It always takes some adjusting from staying with friends and family to being by ourselves, but being without Poppy is making it all the more difficult. Our moods swing, as one moment we feel like doing something radical (for us), such as leaving the van and taking a flight somewhere and the next moment we have a strong urge to shut the world out and do absolutely nothing. We know time heals and are just trying to focus on the good memories we have.

    A cockrel's crows heralded Friday's eventual dawn. France is an hour ahead of the UK so it isn't light until after 8:30am. Vicky blogged while Will used the leftover cream from Christmas Day to make butter (as you do!?), then we slowly meandered through the streets toward the beach. Will needs to be careful not to overdo things since his operation, but we made it to the soft yellow sands and gentle rolling waves of the English Channel. High dunes topped with tufts of maram grass divided coast from countryside as people milled around, taking in the sights. Walking back through the quaint town of Wissant, with its cream or white facades, terracotta rooves and splashes of colour on the woodwork, we passed signs for a summer oyster and champagne bar, as well as plenty of seafront restaurants. We can imagine the place would be heaving in high season. After picking up a few necessities at a small Spar we saw a sign advertising direct sales from 'the boat'. A small shop, open to the outdoors on one side, had an iced counter with a selection of fish and seafood on offer. We treated ourselves to half a dozen oysters and a cooked crab that we enjoyed for lunch back at the van with bread and salad - MmmMmm!

    We found ourselves needing to run the engine for a while in the afternoon because the leisure batteries were getting so low. We really could have done with that solar panel! With Will's post op appointment in mid February, we've decided to stay in France for the next 6 weeks instead of venturing further afield. What we hadn't decided on was where in this very large country we were going to go. Well, we still haven't exactly decided but on the final evening at Wissant we booked a ferry from Santander to Portsmouth, a few days before the appointment. We've only ever brought Martha Motorhome over the channel because all other routes would have required Poppy to go into onboard kennels. This 27 hour crossing from Spain us a little more costly than we are used to (£420) but it allows us to meander south at our own pace and enjoy the winter sun when we are there instead of worrying about when to start making our way north again.
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  • Day923

    Campagne-lés-Hesdin Lav'car + laverie

    January 5 in France ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    Our hands are red and stinging with cold but Martha Motorhome is shiny white again! The aire at Campagne-lés-Hesdin is part of a 'Lav'car'. It has a special high, van washing hose and even a platform you can climb to reach your roof! Our mud and salt splattered home was well overdue a good scrub so we donned unflattering waterproof trousers, braved the chill and got on with it. How the locals manage to look so well dressed while they do this is beyond us!

    We chose the coastal route to get here, the journey taking us through soft dunes and towns comprising of holiday developments and run down local housing, before turning eastwards to bypass the built up suburbia of Boulogne. We passed numerous friteries along the way and at midday our resolve finally crumbled when we saw a group of people queuing outside a catering trailer. Two large and delicious portions later, we were on the road again and pulling up at the aire before too long. Vicky made use of the on site laverie to do a couple of loads of clothes washing and we treated the batteries to 6 hours of electric hookup for €3, plugging in our phones, laptops, power packs electric heater and anything else electronic we could find to take advantage of the mains supply!

    It wasn't a peaceful place to stay, with drivers washing their vehicles well into the night. If we had been holidaying we would almost certainly have moved on, but we are full timing and the services were more important than a bit of peace and quiet or scenery for one night. We liked the van wash so much that the following morning Vicky got up onto the roof to scrub the hard to reach areas before we gave the whole van another going over with the pressure washers, focussing on the areas we'd missed. It was a useful exercise as she found a puncture in the roof, probably caused by a tree branch, that she was able to cover with a blob of silicone. We've simply not found these facilities in the UK so we hope you'll forgive us for getting a little over excited at this one!
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  • Day35

    Family Blog - the Suttons

    July 27, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    We have to thank the CYOCYch tour so much for the past week. You gave us the “why” to make the effort to take this trip, and what a reward we received.
    The concerts were incredible and it was a real pleasure to witness such wonderful young people enjoying themselves and doing NMPAT proud. We saw how Czech and Slovak audiences were taken aback by the quality of the orchestra and choir; and the genuine happiness and appreciation in their applause and standing ovations was lovely to see.
    As a family we had a brilliant time exploring each town and city and being real tourists. The places are amazing. And whilst we didn’t feel we ‘stalked’ Dasha and you all too much; it was very funny to frequently bump into you all in various places along the route. Then again, it’s hard not to miss 119 musicians stomping through town! Finally, a huge thank you to the staff who took care of our children but let them be themselves.
    Roll on tour 2020. Count us in...
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  • Day35

    Final 'Gallery' of tour

    July 27, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    So there really could only be one set of photos to finish our 'gallery' sessions on tour! Apologies to coach 2 but obviously I could only 'snap the sleepers' on my own coach; I would imagine the picture was very similar though!

    Music on class, then you can begin!

  • Day675

    Cité Europe, Calais

    May 2, 2018 in France ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    It was the day before we were due to catch the ferry from Calais to Dover, so we chose a stopover close to the port. In fact, it was the car park of Cité Europe, a commercial centre adjacent to the Eurotunnel. After ignoring the sat nav directions that tried to lead us into the tunnel, we managed to find the motorhome area. We needed van services but these were over the other side of the complex, so after lunch we drove Martha Motorhome to the petrol station that hosted a service area. We didn't fit under the station's roof so had to reverse a little way along the exit road to get to the emptying point. Tokens were required so Vicky went over to the pay booth, only to find it shut - humph! Returning to the car park, we went for a browse around Carrefour supermarket and managed to get a token from their service desk. After a cuppa, we returned and finally managed to fill up with water before settling in for the night next to the 12ft high razor wire double fence that surrounded the Chunnel entrance. It was a surprisingly peaceful night.

    N.B. We'll be back in the UK for just under 3 weeks. Whilst there we'll be making the most of our time with some of our family and friends and therefore won't be doing a daily blog. See you back here in 3 weeks' time for the beginning of our drive accross the continent to Lithuania!
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  • Day27

    Equipment Van Update

    July 19, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    Pleased to say that the equipment van has arrived and parked safely at the Clarion Congress Hotel in Olomouc; in fact it looks like it may have parked on the front steps?!!?

    Well done to Mr Draper and Mr Butler! We are several hundred miles behind you, currently sitting in a service area outside Calais waiting to meet up with our main drivers for the tour...

    ...and Rick Astley has just come on the backseat playlist oh joy!!!!
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  • Day35

    Staff Blog - Matt Butler

    July 27, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    As I write this I'm sitting in the van at 7am drinking service station coffee somewhere in Germany looking forward to my bed and hoping the channel tunnel queues aren't going to be an issue because of the wrong type of heat.
    So looking back over tour what can I say?
    Firstly I cannot think of a better group of students to be with. Not only are they superb musicians, but they are just a great bunch of well rounded decent human beings, a real credit to you all. Listening and playing in the concerts, I have been really proud of the exceptionally high level of music produced and to hear that in such stunning settings has been quite moving.
    I've enjoyed seeing the students flourish and you soon learn who the characters are!!
    The tears shed just prove the importance of this musical journey, the lifelong friendships made and the experiences many other people won't ever be fortunate to have.
    So as van driver, triangle player and general shifter of stuff, I've had a ball. Thank you to all those staff and students who have helped carry, load and laugh at my bad jokes. Thank you to the percussionists for the banter and for telling me where I am in the music or that it's in 4 and not 3.
    Its been a blast!!
    Oh and I love Czech dumplings!
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  • Day558

    Montreuil, France. Back on the road!

    January 5, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    We said our goodbyes to Will's sister and her family and set off for the port of Dover. The rain lashed down but we made good time, arriving so early that P&O booked us on to the Pride of Burgundy, which sailed an hour earlier than our original crossing.
    In the queue we swapped the pounds and pence in our wallets for euros and cents, changed the sat nav and dash display from miles to kilometres, set the clock forward an hour and had a quick bite to eat. Vicky found a dedicated pet exercise area where Poppy had her last wee and away we went!

    On-board the background noise was filled with voices we could no longer understand. The sea was choppy, waves broke accross the bough and hit the ship side on, making it shudder and occasionally producing an almighty bang.

    Disembarking we saw signs directing motorhomes into the correct lane for exit, making us feel welcome. Repeating the mantra 'Drive on the right, drive on the right', roundabouts weren't half as difficult to get used to as the British ones had been 6 weeks ago, although seeing drivers sitting on the left hand side did make us look twice.

    Checking on Park4Night for a place to stay, the map was crowded with stopovers. We found a dedicated aire de service in the town of Montreuil and pulled into it alongside 4 other GB vans, just as the daylight began to fade.

    After a rest and some food we took an evening stroll. Montreuil still had its xmas decorations up, real trees were dotted around, blue fairy lights lit up lamposts and formed an overhead canopy in the square. There were a mix of buildings, but our eyes were drawn to the authentic shabby chic facades with pastel coloured wooden shutters.

    We slept well and were delighted to find a Saturday market in the central square the next day. Several people we passed greeted us with cheery bonjours. We picked up some fruit, veg, eggs and cheese from the market stalls, avoiding one who had a couple of cages containing cramped chickens. With a warm baguette from the boulangerie in our bag, we returned to the van with a sense of accomplishment, having carried out several conversations in French.

    After making use of the stopover's facilities we continued on our journey to Spain with a smile on our faces. We were back on the road again!
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  • Day514

    Oye-Plage, France

    November 22, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We had done a full circuit of Belgium and were back near the farm where we'd spent 10 days volunteering with WWOOF. Having got on so well with Diderik, our host, we'd arranged to drop in for a quick visit. It was great to be back and see Diderik and the animals again, especially Lappa the dog who seemed very excited to see us and Poppy. We toured the farm and it was really intersting to see how much had changed. Although we see different things almost every day on this trip, we rarely see how the same place changes over time. Outside, the trees were mostly bare now, the pond was almost clear of duck weed, two little nanny goats had joined the three in the field, the meat chickens were gone and the sheep had taken over their field and shed. In the greenhouse the baby rabbits who were only a few days old when we arrived had grown to the size of dwarf rabbits, but their old father had died. We said hello to Ever the pig and Vicky got to feed her before we headed inside for a cuppa. Diderik had got a compost toilet installed to replace the downstairs flushing toilet and it was really intersting to see how well that was working out. It was a simple setup with a bucket underneath the rim that was gradually filled with waste and homemade leaf mulch. The bucket would then be removed and the contents left to compost, providing nutrients for the soil.

    Too soon it was time to say goodbye, both to Diderik and to Belgium. As we approached the French border there were a series of shops selling tobacco and chocolates and soon after crossing in to France, the products on sale changed to wines and champagnes.

    Oye-Plage was a free car park aire just 20km from Calais ferry terminal. Calais itself has a paying aire but our ferry was scheduled for 12:35pm the following day leaving us plenty of time to get there, so we'd chosen this quiet spot where we were the only van in sight.

    We tried to keep busy and focus on tasks all afternoon and evening because we were in a state of nervous excitement, thoughts constantly buzzing around our heads.
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  • Day3

    1st night in France, St Venant

    June 29, 2016 in France ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We've driven inland from Calais and pulled up at a lovely town called St Venant. We've parked up by the river marina.
    They are getting ready for a festival on 1st July. There are houseboats moored, paddle boats and canoes for hire and the sound of local pensioners laughing and joking as they play boule with the church bells chiming in the background.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Département du Pas-de-Calais, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Pas-de-Calais, Paso de Calais, Passo di Calais

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