Adlard Coles Shore Guide: Channel Coast of France is a good starting point for exploring a new French port this summer, says Julia Jones

Adlard Coles Shore Guide: Channel Coast of France
Paul Heiney
Adlard Coles, £18.99  

There’s a good idea behind this book. It’s intended for the moment that you’ve arrived somewhere new.

Everything on board is shipshape and you’re ready to explore – or if you’re not, because all you want to do is have a drink then get your head down for a while – your crewmembers are claiming their due reward for the effort of the passage.

This is certainly a book to consider if you’re holidaying with children.

Paul Heiney doesn’t completely deliver on his promise to tell you whether there will be chips on the beach but he’s helpfully informative on beaches in general, on safe-water swimming pools and attractions such as adventure parks or aquaria, over looked by more conventional cruising companions. 

The direction of travel within the book is unexpected and well-chosen.

It begins at the furthest west point — L’Aber Wrac’h — then travels east along the coast of northern France as far as Dunkerque, moving with the flow of the flood tide. I found it made me want to do it.

Then, as it seems the end is reached at Dunkerque (now the third largest French port), the book wheels round to visit the Channel Islands with the interesting observation that their existence makes it possible to set out from the south coast and have a holiday with no night sailing. 

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Another point in favour of this book for the family summer cruise.

This book will be attractive to people whose holiday time is limited.

It does not compete with volumes such as the Cumberlidge’s North Brittany and Channel Islands Cruising Companion with their wealth of suggestions for possible anchorages and the general atmosphere of leisured, reflective exploration.

It’s a relatively slim book, focussing on selected ports from which is it simple to go ashore. 

I did wonder whether all of the book’s space was best-used.

Each of the 40 ports visited is introduced with a brief, skilful overview.

Then information is given under the headings ‘things to see and do’, ‘food and shopping’, ‘further afield’.  Walking distances are given, helpfully.

However, there are no phone numbers or other contact details.

In the disorientation of arriving at a new destination I’d personally have traded some of the attractive photographs, for a simple street map of the immediate environs or the phone number of the local tourist office. 

Available from 26 May 2022.

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