The Seals of the Somme and Authie Bays




The seals that inhabit the sandbanks of the Baie De Somme and the Baie D’Authie have become a well-known and important feature of our region’s largely undeveloped and unspoilt coast.  Though less popular with local fishermen than with naturalists and tourists, on the grounds they catch and eat a lot of fish which would otherwise be providing easier pickings for the boats, they are in general a welcome sight in our waters.

Watch the local tide tables, as it’s best to go seal spotting at the times when low water is in the afternoon or evening, when the seal families can most easily be seen sunning themselves on the exposed sands or splashing about in the narrow channels left by the retreating sea.

The photo here was taken by Alex Burson, a young naturalist and wildlife photographer who recently spent a half-term holiday at The Pines with the Burson family.

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Birdwatching at Sandboys


photo by Alex Burson

Among many good reasons why you might choose the Baie De Somme area for a holiday, is the fact that it’s one of the best places in France for ornithology.  Hundreds of different species of birds can be seen in the Bay, in the Marquenterre Bird Reserve, and even on the lake that’s only a hundred metres or so from our holiday apartments, The Pines, and The West Wing.

Recent visitors, the Burson family, spent a couple of evenings enjoying the view of birds from the hide overlooking this lake, within a short stroll of their front door, where egrets, spoonbill and various types of cormorant can be spotted along with geese, ducks and other wild birds.


photo by Alex Burson

We were fortunate that young Alex Burson, who is both a keen naturalist and a talented photographer, sent us a few of his photos, which we are very happy and proud to publish here, (and soon in other parts of our website). We particularly liked his photo of an inquisitive seal, one of the colony on the sands of the Authie Bay between Berck and Fort Mahon, which we are publishing in another post.

The Marquenterre Bird reserve is only a 10 minute drive from any of our gites, and the Somme Bay, with its marshes, sand banks, bird life and seascapes, as well as the delightful old towns of St Valery and Le Crotoy is reachable in 20 minutes or so.

For more information on bird and seal watching in the area use the links below.

The Independent

Marquenterre Bird Reserve


free bird watching hide, northen France, Baie De Somme

Evening view from the birdwatchers’ hide at The Pines ~ photo Alex Burson


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Latest Gite Improvements

Rear of Sandboys Dune

Newly painted rear of Sandboys Dune, showing private parking.

Autumn is a good time to do jobs on the outside of the house.  The weather is often, as now, still mild and dry, and the gites usually not occupied every week, so that work can be carried out without disturbing guests.

This year we are tackling some painting jobs.  Here’s a photo of the rear of Sandboys Dune, showing the newly painted back wall.  We also painted the neighbours’ walls so that the immaculate paintwork on Dune wouldn’t make them look shabby by comparison!

We have bookings later this week and next week, so we’re leaving painting the garden wall on the other side of the house, until sometime in early November, but we have already completed the motorisation of the roller shutter on the patio door, so now you can block out the world, or get some shade from bright sunlight at the touch of a button!

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New Bigger TV Screens

This year has been the year of TV upgrades at all our holiday properties.

First, Sandboys Dune got a new 24″ flat screen TV and an aerial to pick up French digital HD transmissions – so now you can choose whether you want to watch British satellite channels or the whole range of French TV channels!

New smart TV

The new 49″ smart TV in The Pines is connected to the internet!

Next, The Pines was re-equipped with a bigger and better, whopping 49″ smart TV.  Not only will this TV receive French digital channels and UK channels by Sky satellite, but you can also browse the internet, watch YouTube, and do loads of other clever stuff that we haven’t even got round to trying yet.  The Master Bedroom in The Pines also got a new TV with a slightly larger screen than the old one.

Finally, as promised earlier this year, The West Wing got its own new 32″ flat screen TV, which we’ve already found to be clearer, brighter, and with better sound than its predecessor.

All our holiday properties are provided with DVD players, too, of course, in case you want to bring your own favourite films, concerts, or TV programmes.



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“A Fabulous Place to Stay”

Rogan MGB in garage

The Rogan’s MGB GT in The White House garage

Recent visitors Marjorie and Julian Rogan made us very happy with their Guest Book comments after their 6 night stay at The West Wing.  They brought their very nice MGB car with them to attend an international meeting of MG enthusiasts at Le Touquet.  It was an honour to find space in our warm dry garage for this well-maintained 45 year-old.  (Though no problem because it’s a 6 car garage!)

Here’s what they said:

“A fabulous place to stay.  Very comfortable, restful cosy apartment with everything we needed for a perfect break.

There are some wonderful places to eat in the nearby towns – fish dishes were especially good.  Thanks to Sue and Patrick for a lovely welcome and for taking the time to give us helpful tips and local knowledge, making our time in Picardy/Somme so special.

I’m sure we’ll be back here again soon”

It was unfortunate that the Rogans had bad weather for their first couple of days, but at least their car didn’t have to stay out in the rain.  Fortunately the sun came out and 350 old MGs had some glorious touring weather to enjoy the region.



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More Comfortable West Wing

After yesterday’s news of an improvement to the comfort of our visitors to Sandboys Dune, comes further news of improvements – this time at The West Wing.

New Leather Sofa for The West Wing

New Leather Sofa for The West Wing

Readers familiar with the West Wing apartment might have already noticed that the new sofa at Dune is, in fact, none other than the comfortable 2 seater that used to be in the living room at The West Wing.  So, you are probably asking yourselves, what is going to replace that nice rattan framed 2 seater, with the elephant pattern upholstery, that previously provided guests in The West Wing with such a comfy place to chill out?

Well, here it is!  It’s a very soft and luxurious, cream leather upholstered, 3 seater sofa!  And even though it’s obviously wider and deeper than the previous 2 seater, it still leaves plenty of room for the unusual armchair rocker, with matching gliding action footstool, that many of our guests have found so super-relaxing in the past.

PS.  We are also installing a brand new luxurious mattress.  How can you be sure it will be comfortable and of good quality?  Because it’s the same specification as the mattress we bought last year for our own bed – and if it works well for us, then our clients are entitled to enjoy the same comfort!



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Spiffing News! – More Comfort At Sandboys Dune

new sofaGood news!  In response to suggestions that the futon sofa at Dune wasn’t comfortable enough for a long stay, we changed it over today for a very comfortably sprung and softly upholstered 2 seater sofa.

We think it has a rather spiffing hot climate look to it.  Must be those elephants.  It definitely is very much more comfortable, though.

In the photo, you can also see one of the two relaxing, leather covered Ikea armchairs, so all the family can now lounge comfortably!

Any bad news?  Of course not!!  Things only get better at Dune!




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Le quatorze juillet – we’re all ready to celebrate!

To celebrate France’s National Day we’re flying the flag.  LIBERTE! EGALITE! FRATERNITE! Vive la France!




Our newly painted flagpole went up yesterday at The White House and our brand new Tricolor (replacing our 10 year old one which blew to pieces last year) was hoisted with appropriate ceremony.

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Free Ferry crossings for cyclists and motor bikers!

Cyclists travel for free on MyFerryLink: The 13th– 21st June 2015 is National Bike Week in the UK, and on 6th -7th June it’s Fete du Velo in France so MyFerryLink have come up with a very special offer for all cyclists.

france bikingFor two weeks from 6 – 21 June, they’re offering FREE travel on any MyFerryLink Dover-Calais crossing to cyclists. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it – but this time, it’s not, it really is a special offer to encourage cyclists to get more enjoyment from their wheels.

They also want to encourage enjoyment of the fantastic routes available just over the Channel.  Here’s just one suggested route – though there are some equally fascinating, but much easier routes, on flatter terrain, around the Baie de Somme and the southern part of the Cote d’Opale – in the area between Le Touquet and Abbeville.  Put your bikes on a train from Calais to Rang Du Fliers to get there easily, or cycle the spectacular coastal route taking in Cap Griz Nez and Boulogne on the way

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