Northern France: Sustainable Travel, Gourmet and Cycling Experiences

Posted by on 13 Dec 2023

Exploring Hauts-de-France through cycle tourism, sustainable travel, and gastronomy is a wonderful way to experience the region's natural beauty, cultural heritage, charming villages and culinary traditions while minimizing your environmental impact.

Hauts-de-France offers a network of well-maintained cycling routes which cater to cyclists of all levels. The Avenue Verte, Vélomaritime, and Canal de la Somme are some popular cycling paths. These routes provide a scenic way to explore the region's countryside, coastal areas, and charming towns. Many rental shops and tour operators offer bicycles for hire, guided tours, and self-guided itineraries. There are now many different electric bikes available to rent, which allow for easier exploration of the region's hilly terrain. There is also any excellent and varied choice of accommodations which cater to cyclists, such as bike storage facilities and repair services. Some hotels and bed-and-breakfasts even offer special packages for cyclists. Don't forget to pack a picnic and enjoy it in one of the region's scenic spots. A baguette, some cheese, and a bottle of wine can make for a memorable outdoor meal.

Sustainable travel is easy to achieve in Hauts-de-France. Consider using public transport, like trains and buses, to access different parts of Hauts-de-France. Trains, in particular, are a convenient and eco-friendly way to reach major cities and cycling starting points. You can practice responsible tourism by minimizing waste. Carry a reusable water bottle, shopping bag, and utensils. Look for eco-certified or environmentally conscious accommodations. Many places in Hauts-de-France have embraced sustainable practices, including energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, and waste reduction. The artisan shops are truly exquisite and you can shop sustainably when you support the local artisans by purchasing locally made products and produce.

Hauts-de-France has been awarded the 2023 European Region of Gastronomy and it is easy to see why with its rich culinary heritage. Regional specialities include Maroilles cheese, Carbonnade Flamande (a hearty beef and beer stew), and tarte au sucre (sugar pie). The local markets are a wonderful window to the local produce and delicacies, such as the Wazemmes Market in Lille or the Saint-Leu Market in Amiens. Being near the coast, Hauts-de-France offers excellent seafood options. Enjoy fresh catches like mussels, oysters from Cancale, and seafood platters in coastal towns like Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Crotoy. Don’t forget to check the dates for local food festivals and events, where you can indulge in regional delicacies and experience the vibrant food culture of Hauts-de-France.

While Northern France is not as famous for wine as some other regions in France, it still produces some excellent wines and champagne. Many people don't know it, but 10% of the AOC champagne in France is produced in the Hauts-de-France region. In the extreme south of the Aisne, around Château-Thierry, the hillsides benefit from an abundance of sunshine.

Château-Thierry - Le Jardin des Fables 18©Hauts-de-France Tourisme - Hervé Hughes

Hauts-de-France is also known for its craft beer scene. Visiting a microbrewery and sampling a variety of local beers, including bière de garde and abbey-style ales, is always great fun.

If you're looking for a high-end dining experience, Hauts-de-France boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants. Restaurants like La Grenouillère in La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil and L'Auberge du Vieux Puits in Fontjoncouse offer exceptional cuisine.

Consider taking a cooking class to learn how to prepare some of the region's specialties. You might learn how to make a traditional Coq au Vin or perfect your pastry-making skills. This has become an increasingly popular way to start learning French too!

By combining cycling, sustainable travel, and gastronomy in Hauts-de-France, you can have an enriching and eco-friendly adventure which allows you to savour the region's culinary delights while appreciating its natural beauty and culture.

This content is Proposed by the Northern France Tourism Board.

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