January 28, 2016

2248 FRANCE (Hauts-de-France) - Picardy Coast

The Picardy Coast stretches 60 km from the mouth of the Bresle in the south to where the Authie flows into the sea in the north, and set between them, the estuary of the Somme River or Bay of Somme. The sea air often casts a delicate veil across the sky, giving the light in this region a very special quality, much prized by artists. The high chalk cliffs give way to pebble beaches as Cayeux-sur-Mer, then dunes and finally marshland. Behind the coast, the rolling hills and laughing valleys preserve a rich heritage.

The Bay of Somme is a member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, with its expanses of open water, marshes, and dunes, and also one of France’s major sites for migrating birds. The Somme river empties into the English channel forming a wide indentation in the coastline. There is a large fluctuation in the sea level due to the amplitude of the tides. At low tide the sea can go out as far as 14 km from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme.

In the North of Picardy Coast, Fort-Mahon-Plage is a family and sportive seaside resort located in one of the most beautiful massif sand-dunes of Europe. The history of Cayeux-sur-Mer is extremely linked to pebble, mineral wealth of this seaside resort of the Bay of Somme (moreover cayeux is the picard name of pebble). The wooden path, the longest of Europe (1,6km) is edged with 400 beach houses. As in the last century, you can follow the beach without walking on shingle.

Between the Bay of Somme and the Bay of Authie, Quend-Plage-les-Pins is a seaside resort known for its 15km of sandy beach. It's a beautiful place for tourists who are looking for fresh air, activities and relaxation. Hung up on the cliffs, the villas of Ault, Onival and the Bois de Cise dated from the beginning of the 20th century. From this balcony, can be seen the impressive viewpoints on the Channel. The 250 hectares of the Hâble d’Ault are a paradise for birds as Common Redshank and Grey Heron.

The strategic position of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme on a limestone promontory facing the Bay of Somme means that the settlement has had a rich and vibrant history. The upper town is a fine example of a mediaeval citadel: the Courtgain, set behind the harbour, is where the sailors lived in their little, brightly-painted, close-set cottages, while the Abbey neighbourhood is more rural with working farms. Since 2003, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme has been ranked as one of France’s most delightful destinations.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series The Century Stamp Over - Moments of everyday life, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp, which is not French, was issued by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of Vatican City to celebrate Easter 2014. It features a detail of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel located on the second Loggia of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. Desired by Pope John Paul II and realized with funds donated to him by the College of Cardinals for his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination, the mosaics adorning the walls of the chapel feature the theme of the Incarnation of the Son of God and how the human person enters into the very life of God, who so exalted human nature as to join it in some way to the nature of God himself.

Picardy Coast - Somme Tourisme

Sender: Lambert Landry
Sent from ??? (??? / France), on 21.11.2015
Photo: Christophe Potigny

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