Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gravelines, France

Earlier this year we spent a weekend as guests of tourist board of Dunkirk, France.
I wrote about the ABCs (art, beaches, and cuisine) of Dunkirk a few weeks ago.

That weekend we were also lucky enough to spend a day exploring
a neighboring town in Flanders called Gravelines.
(It's pronounced kind of like grappling hook... gravel-een).

Gravelines lies at the mouth of the Aa river.  (Pronounced Ah-ah. Isn't that a great name?)
Because this area was often changing hands between the French and the Spanish,
not to mention the English, it was heavily fortified.  

One of it's most fascinating features is the hexagonal wall that surrounds the city.
It's one of the few remaining fortified towns in Europe and the thick walls are fully intact.
It dates back to the 12th century and features 6 arrowhead bastions.
It was absolutely fascinating, full of interesting history.

You can walk the Vauban Promenade or better yet, take a boat ride along the moat that surrounds the town.
Which is exactly what we did with Hélène from the Gravelines Tourist Board.
It was a beautiful, quiet morning with ducks gliding by and the sound of bugs buzzing in the trees.

The fortified town is surrounded by green space full of walking and biking trails.
If you are in the area, contact the tourist board for a guide to all of the best local walks.

I realize it's a throw back to a time of conflict and war, but now it's just beautiful and so peaceful.
There a jogging trail along one section.  A guy walking his lab, trying to discourage him from going after the ducks.
Families on bikes.  Two young boys with their fishing gear.

After our boat tour we spent some time exploring the town both inside and outside the walls.
We've both heard of Dunkirk with its infamous history, but we hadn't really heard of Gravelines.
It was such a pleasant surprise and a really enjoyable day.

The boat trips are available April through September and go around the entire 4km length of the ramparts.
You can choose an electric, rowing or peddle boat if you want to go it alone.
Or for 4 euros, you can join a guided tour boat. It takes about an hour.
Be sure to check the website for opening times.

I have a few more posts about our day in Gravelines and the surrounding area.

Where is your favorite spot in Northern France?


We were the guests of Gravelines Office of Tourism for our stay in Gravelines, France.
  All photos, writing and opinions are my own.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


  1. I love your explinations of how to pronounce words - great!! I really like those statues
    Rosie xx

  2. such a cute town!

  3. This looks like a really lovely place!

  4. I would love to do a boat tour here!


Thanks for commenting. I love to hear from you!