Waking up on a sunny morning in Northern France means a new adventure is coming. Today, I decided to visit the “remote” village of Wissant located on the Opal Coast, sandwiched between the Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez landmarks. This blog post shows the spectacular places that I have seen.

Here’s a short video clip to get you excited.

Magnificent view from Wissant, towards the direction of Cap Blanc-Nez.

How to get to Wissant?

For almost two years, I have always wanted to visit this village after my French teacher at Alliance Française de Lille told our class that Wissant is a cute, little fishermen’s village worthy of a visit.

My problem was that I neither had a car nor I drive, and public transport to this place is non-existent… until I discovered a way to visit Cap Blanc-Nez by public transport.

Wissant sits on the same coast just a “further walk down” this famous landmark, I thought. In reality, it felt quite far. 😂

For this trip, I literally followed how I visited Cap Blanc-Nez the last time: I took a high-speed TGV train to Calais-Frethun, then hopped on free bus trips from Frethun to Calais-Ville (main train station in Calais), and from the bus terminal at Calais-Ville to the commune of Sangatte.

I decided to alight at the bus stop near Sangatte’s mairie (town hall) as I knew there was a clean, automated public toilet there. I needed to unload as there was no way I would want to have a toilet emergency on the trail.

That said, my idea today to reach and visit Wissant for the first time is to hike from Sangatte.

Hiking to Wissant

After a brief toilet break, I started my hike on Sangatte’s boardwalk. This was such a lovely day with blue skies and a calm sea breeze.

The beach of Sangatte. So beautiful and a lovely view to start my hike to Wissant!

From Sangatte’s beach, the United Kingdom’s famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent region were visible on the horizon. It was such a fantastic sight.

United Kingdom’s famous White Cliffs of Dover are visible from Sangatte on this clear day.

Shortly, I found myself treading on the green trail towards the Cap Blanc-Nez hill. I was fascinated with the fact that I was enjoying the trail alone, although, at times, I did bump into other hikers.

Savouring this trail just by myself… and occasionally a few others. Totally loved it. You can see Cap Blanc-Nez’s tower on the hill.
So happy to be back on this trail. I was listening on and off to the Lord of the Rings’ Concerning Hobbits soundtrack as the epic views on Opal Coast called for it.

As I have already been on this trail before, I hiked very efficiently making only a few stops to enjoy the views, and reached Cap Blanc-Nez in less than an hour.

From Cap Blanc-Nez, however, the trail toward Wissant was new to me. I felt more excited when I realized this.

This view of some war bunkers came just further down Cap Blanc-Nez towards the direction of Wissant.

Further down Cap Blanc-Nez, I climbed and descended at least three hills. I also saw some old bunkers from the last world war.

One of these hill’s slopes also had a cattle farm. Here, I paused for a bit to enjoy the sights of free-range cows feeding themselves on the gentle slopes.

Wissant still looks far in the distance. From this vantage point, you can see the trail leading to the three hills which ran along the coast.
I can’t overstate how amazed I was by the enormous size of the beaches in Northern France.

Eventually, the trail led to a stairway exiting directly to a beach section called the Plage de Strouanne. This forced me to hike on the beach for a couple of metres before the trail went back inland, into a paved road.

So, I walked down this road which was frequented by fast cars and trucks. This felt less safe as some parts of the road did not have a sidewalk/pavement, which made me ask myself if I took the wrong trail. Eventually, I saw a sign which said “Wissant” which confirmed that I was not lost

Hiking by the roadside like a vagabond. This made me feel as if I took the wrong hiking route. Maybe I did?
… Or maybe not! Finally, bienvenue à Wissant 🤩

After walking about a kilometre more, I finally entered the village of Wissant and saw many nice houses. The town was very quiet and the roads were mostly empty.

Here are the interesting sights I saw in Wissant, a fishermen’s village in Northern France:

Wissant’s Hotel de la Plage. It felt nice to be back in civilization again.
An iconic view of Wissant.
Wissant has so many cafés and ice cream shops. After a long hike, I totally loved all of their presence. 😂
Wissant has a long boardwalk perfect for visitors who want to stroll by the beach.
View of the Cap Griz-Nez from the beach of Wissant.

After a small walk through the town centre, I had lunch at a local restaurant/cafe on the seaside wall and felt amazed that I finally reached this village at 2 and 1/2 hours of hiking.

Restaurants also lace the roads in Wissant. I went to one to have my lunch there and would definitely want to return to this place!
La Plage Wissant café near … La Plage de Wissant (Wissant Beach).
The Plage de Wissant (Wissant’s public beach). Everyone was enjoying the fantastic weather.
Here’s a fantastic view you can expect to see in Wissant.

Returning from Wissant to Sangatte on Foot

After enjoying a piece of natural gauffre, a cup of coffee, and a bowl of ice cream (which I deserved), I started my walk back to Sangatte. Instead of taking the roadside this time, I decided to do my hiking on the beach as much of it was still exposed. However, when I left Wissant, the sea was already in the process of turning into a high tide. The weather also improved: at this time, the sky was cerulean blue and absolutely spotless.

View towards Cap Blanc-Nez from Wissant.
This view of the beach felt like I was in Australia.
Here’s how overjoyed I was while hiking on the beach near Wissant.

Hiking on the beach proved faster and easier on the knees. My intention was to completely walk the beach all the way to Cap Blanc-Nez where I will ascend back to the trail.

A war bunker on the beach called WN 117 Lüdenscheid.
“Waterfalls” by the beach.
The magnificent, towering white cliffs of northern France.

While hiking further back towards the direction of Cap Blanc-Nez, I noticed the tide has already risen and a huge part of the beach was already underwater.

Further down, the exposed beach became narrow and just past the blind spot, the beach was already completely underwater due to the rising tides.

When I reached the narrow beach segment located just below the “Little Blanc-Nez” cliffs, I saw that the beach was already completely underwater there, which meant the only way to move forward is to walk in the water, through the rocks. So, I removed my socks, carried my shoes, and waded on the seawater while the waves hit on me.

After doing this for a few minutes and I got past a blind curve of the white cliffs, I realized that the cliffs continued to be very high and still stretched far.

The only option I had was to walk over the rocks below the cliffs. Although I could do this, I felt unsafe as I kept thinking that the seawater could rise more quickly before I could reach the “exit” of the cliffs.

The possibility of getting stuck on the rocks got real, so I made a quick decision to make a U-turn and return to the Plage of Strouanne where I could exit the beach and return to the trail. This caused me to walk back for at least 2 kilometres and I essentially lost whatever time I would have saved by hiking on the beach… but at least I was safe!

Despite the ordeal on the beach, I felt relieved by the lovely sight of the trails. At this time, my issue was how to hike as fast as possible back to Sangatte to arrive on time to catch my bus to Calais, and then my train back to Lille.

Tranquil hiking scenes like this are why I love Northern France’s Opal Coast.

As such, I concentrated on hiking and hiked faster. At times, I even jogged to move faster.

Approaching the Cap Blanc-Nez Hill. It’s the last tall hill before reaching Sangatte.
Such a lovely hike!

After approximately 6 hours of active hiking, I finally returned to the village of Sangatte. I had a cafe gourmand at a restaurant before I headed back to Calais-Ville to catch my TER train back to Lille.

I rewarded myself with a café gourmand for completing the hike. Massive shout-out to Le Blanc-Nez restaurant for giving me an exception. They were not supposed to serve this as I came during dinnertime and the place was meant only for dinner.
Looking at this church in Sangatte while I waited for my bus back to Calais.
Successfully returned to Sangatte at around 6:22pm. I hiked for 24.48 kilometres which took approximately 6 hours, minus the lunch break at Wissant. I only expected 21 kilometres so this came as a surprise.
Knackered on the TER regional train from Calais to Lille after the unexpected distance of 24 kilometres of hiking. Thank goodness, it felt satisfying as France’s Opal Coast and Wissant were such lovely places.

Overall, I was very happy with what transpired on this day, even though I was completely exhausted. I finally visited Wissant and saw more of the Opal Coast.

I will definitely return when I want to do another hike by the sea.

Have you been to Wissant? Let me know in the comments below.

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