Drama, dragons and dancing at the International Kite Festival

Once a year the skies of a sleepy seaside resort come to life. Jewelled dragons dance in the air, delicate birds flit through cheering crowds and 10-foot lobsters scuttle high above the soft, fine sands. This April it’s happening all over again — and you’re invited.

Time to visit the Berck-sur-Mer International Kite Flying Festival 2017.

The International Kite Festival at Berck-sur-Mer

This low-lying seaside town that has played genial host to the free kite festival for the past 29 years is only 40 minutes away from Calais by car. A beautiful holiday destination in its own right, the broad sandy beaches, refreshing sea breezes and mesmerising fresh waters make an excellent showground. Spectators, flyers and competitors from around the world come to fly their kites, share their passion through talks and demonstrations, compete in national events or simply gaze up at the skies while enjoying a heavenly local ice cream.

The festival attracts many loyal fans. For example, David Morley, of famous stunt kite choreography team Scratch Bunnies, has come every year since he was a wide-eyed teenager. He and his team will be back in 2017 to perform yet another seemingly impossible aerial routine for the adoring 600,000 people who have come to enjoy the spectacle in the skies. Alongside the Scratch Bunnies, there will be other competitive teams, free demonstrations, the chance to fly your own kite, talks on the history of kiting and so much more.

The festival’s founder Gerard Clement says,“Wind is free — let’s enjoy it!”

If you’re looking to create vivid, unforgettable memories for your family, then a visit to this international kite festival will be a guaranteed success. Not only is the event still free, and always will be, but Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a wonderful area of the country where you’ll find lots of other attractions, mouth-watering cuisine and delightful countryside.

Parc Opale

If you’re looking to enjoy the festival and get in some additional local sightseeing, then you’ll love the nearby resort of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. A short trip along the sea from Berck-sur-Mer, this Art Deco paradise has experienced a massive revival in recent decades, but still retains much of the low-key glamour that made it such a fashionable haunt in the first half of the 20th century. It also has some of the best fish and frites anywhere on France’s northern coast.

However if it’s the ultimate in seafood you’re after, pay a visit to La Chatillon, just a short drive up the coast in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Built in the 1950s, today’s proprietor was a professional fishmonger for 35 years, and almost 90% of the menu is freshly caught, exquisite local seafood.

Photo Credit: La Chatillon

Finally, whilst you’re on the northern coast of France, take a trip to the beautiful Parc Opale. Whether cycling along cliff-top trails, sheltering in the impressive dunes or birdwatching in the marshland, a unique landscape and ecosystem listed by UNESCO, this large natural reserve offers nature lovers year-round pleasure.

For more information on other events, sights, restaurants or shopping in this amazing area of France, check out these Top 6 Area Guides below:

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