The Flemisch landscape
Discover this surprising region marked by a very special landscape. You will be able to climb up to an altitude of 176 metres and go down to 2 metres below sea level during your stay with us!
Land extending into the sea. Since the 17th century, people have drained the land in order to extend their farms in Seaside Flanders, which is situated at sea level and sometimes even lower! If you go to les Moëres, you will find yourself at two metres below sea level. The network of canals and ditches regulated by locks is characteristic of the flat seaside landscape. The view from the former coastline in Merckeghem will give you an idea of the scope of this Herculean task of drainage work. The 180-degree panorama is worth the trip. Water and sand are everywhere in this area of scarce vegetation, hence the name Blootland (literally, the naked land). The geology has also created a typical heritage, which is seen in particular in Bergues and in Hondschoote. The special colour of the houses made by the inhabitants using ‘bricks of sand’ gives the cities an ochre hue.
Hills, hedged farmland and groves
The hills of Flanders (Monts de Flandre) spread from east to west, from Watten to the Mont Noir, ending in Belgium. They emphasise a true break with the seaside in Flanders. Here, the land is covered in vegetation, which is why the area is called Houtland (the woodland). The Flemish hedged farmland is characterised by the presence of hedges, ponds and pollarded willows. The Monts de Flandre are rarely higher than 150 metres in altitude. It is therefore a perfect occasion to cycle up Watten ‘mountain’ (72 m), Mont des Cats (164 m), Mont de Boeschèpe (139 m) or Mont Noir (150 m). Of course, Mont Cassel at 176 metres is the highest point, which makes it something you cannot miss in order to enjoy the 360-degree panorama of all of French Flanders, and even the region of Dunkirk in the north and the slag heaps of the mineral field in the south when the weather conditions are favourable.
The Flemish marsh
A remarkable testimony to human organisation: would you like to see the last marsh which is still being cultivated in France? The marsh of Saint-Omer (marais audomarois), which is organised via a vast and very dense network of canals, provides you with this opportunity. Located in the western part of the territory, it extends into the Pays de Flandre (Noordpeene, Watten, Saint-Momelin, Nieurlet) and has been listed since 2013 as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Humans have been able to adapt to this hostile land, which is used for vegetable cultivation still today and may be visited by Brouckailler (marsh dweller) boats.