What to do on the Opal Coast when it’s raining?
The Opal Coast is a destination reputed for its variety of water sports and nature activities, but what’s there to do in the region when it rains?
- 6mn read
The Opal Coast, from Dunkirk to Berck, by way of Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Hardelot and Le Touquet, boasts a diverse array of landscapes, from endless beaches to dunes and cliffs, where nature and biodiversity have been preserved. Hiking and water sports are just some of the activities on offer for nature lovers.
The landscapes and ever-changing skies have inspired many painters who were captivated by the light of this coastal region in northern France. But when the weather in this temperate region turns dreary and starts to rain, how do you keep the children occupied? What family activities and outings are there to make the most of your stay on the Opal Coast?
Here are just a few ideas!
If it’s raining during your stay in Boulogne-sur-Mer and you’re looking for something to do indoors, Nausicaá is the place to be if you’re visiting the Opal Coast: With a choice of 3 exhibition tours, a augmented reality experience Grand Large, 58,000 animals scattered across 10,000 m² of exhibition space, as well as daily activities, you can spend the day indulging in gourmet breaks at the centre - and who knows, maybe the sun will have reappeared by the time you leave!
Have you ever been to the old town of Boulogne-sur-Mer? This is the historic centre of the town, dating back to the Middle Ages. The old town lies within the city walls and is home to a number of landmarks that will appeal to children and adults alike.
The museum, housed in the castle, boasts some magnificent works of art in the Egyptian and Greek collections, as well as a unique collection of Sugpiat ceremonial masks from Kodiak Island in Alaska
Just a very short stroll from the castle is the Basilica of Notre-Dame, which is definitely worth a visit. It also houses a remarkable crypt, the largest in France.
Beside the town hall, you will find the belfry, which has stood there since the 12th century! It is open to visitors in summer, and from its 37-metre summit, you can admire a magnificent panoramic view of the city, as well as a bird’s eye view of the themed ephemeral garden that attracts scores of curious visitors every year.
If it’s just the gloomy weather that’s keeping you away from the beach (although some of you won’t mind taking to the water), why not take advantage of the day to discover Boulogne-sur-Mer’s street-art trail, which takes you on a stroll through the town in search of the 57 works that have transformed Boulogne into an open-air museum for the last 7 years.
In 2023, a magnificent fresco was painted on the walls of Nausicaá overlooking the beach.
One doesn't preclude the other!
For those who love Napoleonic history, a visit to the Column of the Great Army is not to be missed. Situated in the commune of Wimille, just a short walk from Boulogne, this monument was erected between 1804 and 1824 in honour of Napoleon I.
If you feel like taking a dip or going ice-skating after these cultural visits, Hélicéa is the sports and leisure complex of the Boulogne area for an afternoon full of laughter and fun.
Just 20 minutes north of Boulogne, the town of Calais also has a number of attractions to keep both young and old busy on rainy days.
If you don’t have enough time to see the famous Burghers of Calais by Rodin up close in front of the town hall, why not take a look at the preparatory work by the famous sculptor at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which also boasts a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, watercolours, drawings and photographs from the 16th to the 21st centuries?
Calais is famous for its lace, and the “Cité de la dentelle et de la mode” (Lace and Fashion Centre) is there to showcase this expertise in lace weaving on looms. Come and admire the work of these enormous looms that produce the delicately patterned lace, and take a stroll through the gallery of models designed by leading couturiers and young designers.
Dunkerque, which is famous for its carnival, offers other activities outside this festive period.
If you’re in Dunkirk when it’s raining, you can visit the “Dunkerque 1940 - Opération Dynamo” Museum. Did you enjoy the film Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan? If so, this museum is for you! It chronicles this operation during the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940 and the evacuation of 340,000 soldiers to England.
If you’re fascinated by the history of port cities, the Maritime and Port Museum reveals the history of the port of Dunkirk from the 17th century to present day. With model ships, the story of the privateer Jean Bart and tours of the sailing ship Duchesse Anne and the fireboat Sandettié, you will soon forget the gloomy weather and have a wonderful time with your family.
If you’re a lover of contemporary art, head for the FRAC Grand Large art museum! Located on the site of the former Dunkirk shipyards, the museum features exhibitions that appeal to all ages and encourage people to explore art. Its scenic lookout commands a breathtaking view of the coastal landscape and the industrial hall. A highly original tour of a place that will appeal to the whole family.
Just 40 minutes south of Boulogne, the town of Le Touquet also boasts a wealth of resources to keep the family busy on rainy days.
Indoor market or restaurants? Cinema or museum? Shopping or a visit to the lighthouse? Fish soup or chocolate? In Le Touquet, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’re in the mood for some cocooning, a little spa session just for your well-being will be a welcome change of pace.
And if the weather brightens up, a stroll along the beach or in Canche Bay is a great way to connect with nature and unwind. Take a stroll through the forest and admire the pretty villas that are just around the corner from the shops.
If the sandcastle option has to be postponed because of the weather, a stroll along the beach to watch the seals may still be on the cards. There are rules to be observed to avoid disturbing these marine mammals, but the opportunity to observe these animals, so fond of lazing on the sand, will be an unforgettable treat for the whole family.
There are indoor activities such as bowling, laser quest and the Opale Virtual Parc to keep youngsters busy playing arcade games.
And if you feel the need to get some fresh air, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the wide open spaces and walks that Authie Bay has to offer.
Subscribe to Nausicaá and visit the centre for a year without limit!
A host of benefits await you at Nausicaá and our partners, so you can make the most of your stay on the Côte d'Opale come rain or shine!
tourism on the opal coast
Situated on the shores of the Channel, Boulogne-sur-Mer has ...
You have come to Boulogne-sur-Mer with your family to visit ...
You're wondering what to do in Boulogne-sur-Mer besides visi...
Hauts-de-France region, which includes Nord-Pas-de-Calais a...
Hauts de France? A weekend destination where there's always ...
The scenery around Wissant and on the Opal Coast always deli...
Owing to the oceanic climate there, the weather in Le Touque...