Northern France Tourism : official website

A father and son together on Berck-sur-Mer beach

Kite flying - a story all about air

You are never short of wind for flying kites on the north coast. The wind powers boats, the ‘flobarts’ fishing boats of ‘La Côte d'Opale’, windmills, etc. and has always been the local inspiration for mad, avant-garde ideas. Inventors experimented with all kinds of new ideas at the start of the 20th century. Gliding took place in 1904, but more importantly the first aerial photographs were taken using a kite on the same beach, following in the footsteps of the southern French pioneer, Arthur Batut. This made Berck-sur-Mer the most photographed town of the era! The International Kite Festivals are a result of this history. They are an event hosting the largest kites and a team World Championships, as well as enchanting hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Kites of all classifications are seen flying together over the many spectators during the Festival
  • Kites of all classifications are seen flying over the many spectators
  • © OT Berck-sur-Mer
Imagination is the highest kite one can fly - Lauren Bacall

Not just fun for kids but a competitive sport too!

Kite flying on the coast, as elsewhere, is an enchanting activity for kids, but it is also a demanding sporting discipline which requires skill and practise. Would you like to master tricks on a single line kite like a pro? Then come to Nord-Pas de Calais! All the large seaside resorts along the coast enjoy good wind conditions. There are some particularly good spots, such as Malo-les-Bains, Bray-Dunes (the Freestyle French Cup in 2015), Wissant, Merlimont, Stella-Plage and Berck-sur-Mer. For lessons, head for Opale & Kite and l'Agora in Berck-sur-Mer - a seafront leisure centre. You can also head for ‘le Club Nautique de Merlimont’, Bed & Kite in Wissant or ‘Cerf-volant Service’ in Stella-Plage.

Kites of all shapes, sizes and colours flown for fun or competitively
  • Kites of all shapes, sizes and colours flown for fun or competitively
  • © OT Berck-sur-Mer

A lesson in kite flying

Handling such a light and fickle object as a kite can be learnt just as easily by a 7 year-old as by a 77 year-old. Specialist schools frequently offer an area measuring about 100 square metres in which complete beginners can to master the basics in an environment safe for launching and flying. You can opt for a simple delta kite with two or four lines, depending on the strength of the wind. The lighter the wind, the larger the kite. Then, head for the beach (at low tide of course!) with the wind behind you. Once launched, the hardest part is over. All that remains is learning how to do circles, loops, squares, fly close to the ground... Kite flying can reach speeds of up to 65 km/h in a force 7 wind, so excitement is guaranteed!

A man handling several kites at a time
  • Kite flying can be learnt with skill by both young and old alike!
  • © Anne-Sophie FLAMENT

Some essential places and events

‘La Ligue de Vol Libre’, Nord-Pas de Calais

Activities, the calendar of main events and courses for professionals; news from the clubs and schools and their contact details, the teams that matter - it’s essential!

‘Le Festival de la Ronde des Vents’ in Bray-Dunes

This festival in May in Bray-Dunes hosted the Free-style Kite-flying French Cup in 2015. A weekend of entertainment, wind garden, kitesurfing, stunt kite flying competition...

‘Eole en fête’ - indoor kite flying

Carvin hosts the ‘Eole en fête’ in September. In partnership with ‘l'Association Flandr'Envol’. Hénin-Beaumont hosts a federal round on the 13 and 14 February.