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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