Le Portel : Exploring the coast
Between its immense beach, rich heritage and astonishing park perched above the sea, there’s no shortage of surprises awaiting you in Le Portel!
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In the Boulogne area, there’s one seaside resort after another dotted along the coast, but no two are alike. Each one has its own special attractions and share of surprises for you to discover. Sheltered by the Boulogne-sur-Mer roadstead, Le Portel has several different faces. Firstly, that of an old fishing harbour with maritime traditions still deeply anchored in the inhabitants’ hearts. The flobarts, little flat-bottomed boats typical of the Opal Coast, acting like stars on the beach. Indomitable fishermen set out to sea under the astounded gaze of the bystander amazed to see these strange boats being dragged along the beach by tractors.
Le Portel also means an immense beach, as lovely at low tide as it is at high tide. Kilometres of fine sand stretching out as far as the eye can see. You’ll not only see families, walkers and sportspeople there, but also shoreline fishermen. This beach is ideal for foraging for mussels, particularly around Fort de l’Heurt – the building borders on the largest natural mussel bed along the Opal Coast!
Just so you know, Fort de l’Heurt was built in 1803 to protect the Boulogne Camp – Napoléon had at that time set his heart on conquering England – but it’s not the only fortress in the district! At the foot of the lighthouse and its spiral staircase, there’s Fort d’Alprech which was built between 1875 and 1880, by Engineer-General Séré de Rivières. It included casemates for accommodating around one hundred soldiers, stores and a powder magazine. And now for the good news: you can visit it!
With its many parks and gardens, the resort lends itself wonderfully to the joys of walking. Overlooking the sea, the Parc de la Falaise offers no less than 27 hectares of relaxing fun between its ponds and leisure areas. The atmosphere is incredible in this garden! It is divided into two parts: the first one for enjoying yourself with crazy-golf, footpaths, fitness trails, a mountain-bike park and games area, and the second part has intentionally been left to go wild to preserve the biodiversity here: it is home to no fewer than 255 species of birds. With a special mention for the view!
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