France’s Opal Coast (French: Côté d’Opale) became one of the most popular summer destinations in France this year.

Thanks to this year’s exceptional weather, the Côté d’Opale’s wide coasts, scenic cliffs, large white sandy beaches, a rich network of hiking paths, and quaint fishermen villages, this northernmost corner of France attracted many visitors, adventurers, and nature lovers.

The viewing balcony at Cap Gris-Nez offers a 360 panoramic view of the English Channel.
You know you have arrived in Cap Gris-Nez when you see a lighthouse in the middle of a field.
At Cap Gris-Nez, you will also have a glimpse of Cap Blanc-Nez, located about 10 kilometres away.

Today, you’ll learn about how to make a day trip to Cap Gris-Nez, one of the two capes in the Opal Coast near Calais (the other being Cap Blanc-Nez), which are the closest points in mainland Europe to England, and why this region is truly worthy of multiple visits!

I was truly ecstatic to visit this place on a nice summer day!

How to get to Cap Gris-Nez?

I highly recommend visiting both the Cap Griz-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez, as well as the fishermen’s villages found in-between called Escalles and Wissant, especially if you haven’t visited this region yet.

To get to these places by public transport, from Calais’s main train station called Calais Ville, take the bus number 472 headed in the direction of Boulogne sur Mer in the south. It costs only 1 EUR for a single trip on this bus.

The bus trip from Calais first traverses the commune of Sangatte and then climbs uphill to the Cap Blanc-Nez, which is marked with a tall monument on its peak. You can alight here to enjoy the sweeping views of the English Channel, as well as the surrounding rolling hills on a clear, sunny day. However, pay attention to the bus timings of bus 472 as you might end up waiting for hours for the next bus.

Tip: take a picture of the bus timing schedule at the bus stop.

Here’s what the bus schedule of line 472 at Opal Coast looks like. You can find the latest information at any designated bus stop.

From Cap Blanc-Nez, the trip passes the village of Escalles and Tardinghen until it finally reaches Audinghen, the commune where Cap Gris-Nez is located.

The bus stop at Cap Gris-Nez is located in front near a road curve. From here, the sweeping panoramic views of Cap Gris-Nez are a couple of minutes walk away. It is easy to locate due to the presence of a lighthouse and a nearby security tower.

Coming to Cap Gris-Nez from Wimereux or Boulogne-sur-Mer

Alternatively, you could also take bus 472 from Boulogne-sur-Mer or Wimereux, if you are coming from the south. The bus 472’s southern terminus is outside of the main train station of Boulogne-sur-Mer called Boulogne Ville so it is convenient.

The bus from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Cap Gris-Nez passes by the St. Maurice bus stop at Wimereux.

If you are coming from Wimereux’s Wimereux Wimille train station, a short walk to the St Maurice bus station is what you will need to hop on bus 472 to Cap Gris-Nez.

What to see and do at Cap Gris-Nez?

1. Relish the sweeping, panoramic views of the English Channel.

I find the landscapes near Cap Blanc-Nez very Australia-like.

The main draw of Cap Gris-Nez is its breathtaking views of the English Channel from French. On a clear, sunny day, the White Cliffs of Dover in the UK are visible on the horizon.

Cap Gris-Nez also has an open air gallery to learn something new about this point of France.
A picturesque view of a sailing boat in the English Channel from the Cap Gris-Nez.
One of the unusual sights you might see around Cap Gris-Nez.
The White Cliffs of Dover in the United Kingdom is visible from Cap Gris-Nez on a clear sunny day.
A close-up view of the White Cliffs of Dover as photographed with a smartphone.
Cerulean blue sea waters of the English Channel as seen from Cap Gris-Nez.

This is possible as both Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez are the closest geographical points to the UK. The narrow sea of the English Channel that cuts the two masses of land is only at least 30 kilometres long.

The fishermen village of Wissant is visible on the coast from Cap Gris-Nez.
The two rising towers on Cap Gris-Nez hill.
The lighthouse at Cap Gris-Nez in a close up view.
The Cap Blanc-Nez cape is visible from Cap Gris-Nez.

2. Take a sumptuous meal in the countryside in one of the 5 restaurants near Cap Gris-Nez.

A nearby café/ snack / pizza restaurant near Cap Gris-Nez.
This restaurant offers affordable food and drinks, and an epic view of Cap Gris-Nez.

Fortunately, there are many restaurants located within a walking distance from the Cap Gris-Nez. After enjoying the views of one of Northern France’s gems, you could take a stop at one of the restaurants for a satisfying lunch a la campagne.

Les Margats de Raoul is among the restaurants you can find near Cap Gris-Nez.

Some of these restaurants offer fantastic views of the fields and rolling hills that grace the landscape of Cap Gris-Nez.

3. Conquer the two capes on foot: hike from Cap Gris-Nez to Wissant, and then to Cap Blanc-Nez.

The Cap Griz-Nez beach has a nearby restaurant and a trail head to start your hiking on the Opal Coast.

If you are into active lifestyles like me, then Cap Gris-Nez offers some great hiking options if you feel that well-inclined and I highly recommend it. I have done a hike  myself from Cap Gris-Nez to Cap Blanc-Nez which traversed through a variety of landscapes with magnificent views.

Experience an unforgettable scenic hike in northern France from Cap Gris-Nez.
Hiking from Cap Gris-Nez to Cap Blanc-Nez offers a variety of stunning views and countryside landscapes.

You will be hiking over many hills, grassy fields with views of the sea, stunning white cliffs, farmlands, and have the opportunity to take a coffee or lunch stop at the quaint fishermen’s village of Wissant.

Northern France is also known for its wide beaches. Hiking on the Opal Coast gives you the opportunity to have long leisurely walks on the white, sandy beach.
The boardwalk at Wissant is a midpoint when you hike from Cap Gris-Nez to Cap Blanc-Nez. It’s a perfect place to have a lunch or coffee break.
Let your breath be taken away by the stunning views of France’s Opal Coast.

This activity is so epic that I intend to do this again — or better yet — do a trail run by the coast. If the weather is nice, doing this makes your visit to the Opal Coast even more worthwhile!

The large and long stretch of white sandy beach from Wissant to the white cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez.

Got questions about Cap Gris-Nez? Let me know in the comments below!

About Author

2 thoughts on “Cap Gris-Nez: A Fantastic Destination in Northern France’s Côté d’Opale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *