What a surprise it is to reach the lock bridge in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and hop on board a steam train taking you over Picardy’s great River flirting with the tide.

Once you reach the marina where over 250 boats are moored, it’s time to start exploring the little town on foot.

It’s midday so it’s time for a bite to eat. It’s such a joy tucking into mussels and chips on one of the town centre’s brasserie terraces.

Les tours Guillaume

Chapelle des marins

Once you’ve had your fill, go for an after-lunch walk up to the former “Courtgain” fishing area,

A maze of little lanes with brightly coloured houses and walls bursting with flowers leading to the sailors’ calvary.

 From the top you have 180° views of the bay. 

Sandbars covered by every tide and the “mollières” grassy stretches where huge flocks of salt marsh sheep graze. Go down a steep staircase to the old town via the old Romerel dock as it was covered by the sea until the XVIIth century.

When you go through Nevers Gate you realise that the town is still fortified with high ramparts and watchtowers.

As you wind through the heart of town you can gaze at medieval architecture with checkerboard walls, half-timbered houses, cobbled lanes blooming with flowers leading you to a real medicinal plant garden: the herbarium and its fruticetum.

When you leave the garden you can see the Guillaume Towers again as you stroll along little floral lanes and soak up the array of colours and smells with valerian, hollyhock, lilies, dill, evening primrose, wild mint and sweet pea.

flowery streets

flowery streets

There’s nothing more peaceful… and relaxing !

Then it’s time to head back to the beach and embankment promenade with a stop at the ice cream shop on the dock or at La Ferté for an artisan ice cream or waffle to recharge your batteries.

When you reach the top, picture Joan of Arc surrounded by her guards and walking past the old monastery on her way to Rouen.

Follow the same path and explore the countrified Abbaye area with its little old farmhouses watched over by the amazing “sailor’s” Saint Valery Chapel.

How pleasant it is to admire the bay once again in this bucolic environment.