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Fly­ing high

Bat­tling to get a park­ing space in the sea­side re­sort of Berck-surMer dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional kite fes­ti­val is like an in­ter­na­tional event in it­self, I thought to my­self, pulling up bumper to bumper, into a tiny street, a good ten min­utes’ walk from my rest­ing place for the week­end.

That rest­ing place is a stu­dio apart­ment I bought a few years ago, with the help of con­tacts I found in FRANCE Mag­a­zine. It ful­filled my dream of hav­ing a French bolt­hole where I could spend week­ends en­joy­ing walks along the beach and hav­ing a glass or two of cré­mant in the evenings.

I am so glad I set­tled on this lit­tle town as it is so French; hardly any­one speaks English – great if you are try­ing to im­prove your lan­guage skills – even though it is so near to the UK, be­ing ten min­utes south of Le Tou­quet.

Berck-plage is enor­mous and stretches

round to the Baie de Somme. I have taken many scenic walks along the coastal path, and as you pass the fa­mous red and white striped light­house (Berck’s em­blem), a seal colony comes into sight. Les pho­ques lie in their haven across the wa­ter af­ter the tide has re­treated and, if you are lucky, you will see them swim­ming and bob­bing their heads up in cu­rios­ity towards the spec­ta­tors.

Berck has an ar­ray of boulan­geries, pâtis­series, pois­son­ner­ies, crêperies and restau­rants, as well as a tempt­ing choco­la­terie, con­ve­niently lo­cated op­po­site my apart­ment! The bustling mar­ket makes my meals in­ex­pen­sive, and a week’s food shop­ping lasts ages.

The town goes from one ex­treme to the other when the kite fes­ti­val ar­rives. One minute I can be the only per­son in the boulan­gerie and walk­ing alone on the beach with my crois­sant; the next, the queues at the shops are spilling on to the streets and the beach is cov­ered with peo­ple from all walks of life and the sky is full of the vi­brant colours and eclec­tic shapes of float­ing kites.

I love this town and I can’t think of any­thing nicer than sit­ting on my bal­cony, look­ing out towards Ber­ck­Plage, glass of cré­mant in one hand, FRANCE Mag­a­zine on my lap. Mandy Hol­l­i­day Ted­ding­ton, Mid­dle­sex

ABOVE: Kites fly­ing at Berck-sur-mer’s fes­ti­val

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