Mers‑les‑Bains

Mers-les-Bains

This listed spa town and tourist destination also boasts the Station Verte de Vacances seal of approval awarded to resorts offering nature holidays. The seaside district of Mers is the only officially-recognised “remarkable heritage site” on the coastline of France.

It is the southern gateway to the Somme Bay Grand Site de France.

The Grand Site boundary was extended to include Mers-les-Bains in 2019. This certification label aims to preserve and promote the landscape through measures such as the creation of new loop trails and cycle-path sections (EuroVélo 4 greenway) for walkers and cyclists to discover.

The organic limestone cliffs (90 metres high and about 2.5km long), offer a plunging sea view from the top and you can see the nearby Somme Bay when the weather is clear. Every day, the coastal path is explored by seasoned hikers heading for Bois de Cise, Ault, Onival, and the Hâble d’Ault nature reserve.

There are pleasant walks to be had at the bottom of the cliffs too, and the beach attracts windsurfing enthusiasts as well as beach foragers.

 

This shingle beach exposes 250,000 square metres of sand at low tide, much to the delight of children and adults.

Swimming is allowed only within the supervised area indicated by blue flags. Professional lifeguards keep watch between 11am and 7pm in July and August, and there are channels reserved specifically to allow watersports enthusiasts to reach the sea.

Every year in early spring, after a period of high tidal ranges, large quantities of shingle are added to help protect the sea defences built in 2005.

At Mers, the shingle is carried northwards by the tides, especially in extreme weather, despite the groynes being there to retain it.

From May to October, boardwalks alongside the esplanade allow access to the multitude of white beach huts that each bear a name.

Esplanade Général Leclerc, a pedestrian street of nearly 1km in length, is a great place for a relaxing stroll. Facing north-west, it is lined on one side with the beautiful Mers-style houses and, on the other… the seafront.

Since the dawn of time, the tranquillity and very special light at this site have made Mers a choice spot for creators and artists, including the likes of Eugène Boudin, François Coppée, Eugène Dabit, Edgar Degas, Victor Hugo, Pierre Lefort, Georges Méliès, Jules Noël, Jules Verne and Antoine Vollon.

At dusk, the facades of the villas are bathed in an amazing light.

In the old fishing village, the Ruelle des Matelots (accessible via Rue Jules Barni) and the sailors’ cross decorated with anchors bear witness to the important role this activity played for Mers in centuries past.