Top 7 Exploration Modes of the Bay of Somme
A Short Guide to The Bay of Somme in France
What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘The Bay of Somme’ in France? How about the First World War and the infamous Battle of the Somme? Even for those of us who didn’t excel in history class will remember this historic location. The Battle of the Somme and its loss of one million lives is something that will most likely be forever etched into our psyche, which is part of the tragedy of war.
Fast-forward one hundred years and The Bay of Somme is a world away from death and destruction. It’s a place full of light, and life, where the sky and the sea merge into one. It’s home to thousands of migratory birds, France’s largest colony of seals, flowers, fauna, sea creatures, and even the local sheep stop by for a graze on its luscious greenery. In fact, The Bay of Somme is ranked as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, alongside the likes of the San Francisco Bay in the US, Port Jackson Bay in Australia and Halong Bay in Vietnam.
When in France, getting to The Bay of Somme is quite effortless. Most visitors stay in either the resort town of Le Crotoy, or the medieval village of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. Both are perfectly picturesque with plenty to keep you occupied.
MODES OF TRANSPORT
Whether by car, train, horse, helicopter, boat, bicycle or by foot there are multiple ways to explore the Bay of Somme. Here are the top 7 options we have highlighted to give you the best overview of the location.
If driving from the ferry port of Calais or Beauvais Airport, your trip will take about an hour and twenty minutes. Driving from Charles de Gaulle will take over two hours, but be sure to take time out to stop in Beauvais and Amiens along your way for their stunning architecture and photo opportunities.
If driving isn’t your thing, then you’ll be happy to know that trains from Paris Gare du Nord leave several times a day to the town of Noyelles-sur-Mer. It will take a little over two hours, and it is advised that you book your ticket(s) in advance—ticket prices vary throughout the day. When you arrive to Noyelles-sur-Mer, you can take the ‘Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme’ (Bay of Somme Railway) to either Le Crotoy or Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. This vintage steam train stops at four stations along the bay, where you can hop off and discover the much-loved historic villages and towns. This unique way of getting to see the countryside and getting to Le Crotoy or Saint-Valery-sur-Somme usually takes an hour.
Exploring The Bay of Somme can be done using multiple modes of transport, but you are encouraged to leave your car in the car park. With 44 km of cycle paths, one can discover the bay on two wheels privately, or as part of a guided tour.
Hiking trails and guided walking tours are also available—I recommend Olivier Hernandez from Sens Natural. He will teach you about the birds, the plants (be prepared for some foraging), the seal colony, and the ecological and natural history of the bay.
You can get a boat trip in the bay or discover the area on horseback. Saddle up and ride a beautiful golden-haired Henson through the woodlands and the marshes, over the dunes and across the sand. But if that isn’t romantic enough, the icing on the ‘Gâteau Battu’ is the opportunity to take a helicopter ride over the Baie de Somme.
When the last of the sand stuck between your toes has washed away, a visit to Abbeville Airport is the perfect way to end a sightseeing adventure of the Bay of Somme. A helicopter ride is a fun and memorable way of seeing the bay (Helicopter Picardie). The helicopter, which seats three including the pilot, takes you on a 30-minute ride from Abbeville over the peaceful Picardy countryside. With aerial views of the River Somme, its surrounding farmlands, quaint villages and their steepled churches, you get to wash away those first thoughts that come to most minds when they hear the words The Bay of Somme. Because from now on, your thoughts are in line with those who loved the Baie de Somme. The likes of Artist Manessier who devoted his work to the bay, the writer Jules Verne who lived there, novelist Colette who moved there every summer, Delacroix, Degas, Victor Hugo, and the list goes on.
If you’ve ever been to the Bay of Somme in Northern France, leave a comment below and share your experience and/or favorite aspects.