Boulogne-sur-Mer in Pas-de-Calais is brimming with historical treasures. The town is made up of two distinct parts. First you have the upper town formed of ramparts built between 1227 and 1231. Inside are a series of notable buildings like the Basilica of Our Lady, overlooking the town from a height of 100 metres. It was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a medieval cathedral. As well as possessing the largest crypt in France, it contains a prestigious artefact: a reliquary of the Holy Blood dating from the 14th century. You can also admire the medieval belfry, a listed UNESCO site, as well as the Counts' Castle. The latter is particularly interesting as it is one of the few castle forts in the region and is a fine example of medieval architecture. It is also the home of the museum, whose collections of archaeology, ethnography, local history and Fine Arts are sure to appeal to enthusiasts. Built in the late 18th century, the Imperial Palace is a mansion where Napoleon once stayed. Give in to your curiosity and visit the bedroom that he occupied as well as the study where he worked. Before you leave the upper town, take a stroll on the wall walk to enjoy many viewpoints over the lower town, the sea and the Boulogne countryside.
The lower town consists of harbours for fishing boats, yachts and goods shipping. You will also find Europe's biggest aquarium devoted to the marine world and the oceans: Nausicaá - National Centre for the Sea.
Like the Imperial Palace, several other historical sites also make reference to Napoleon. There is the powder magazine, the very last military vestige of the Napoleonic era, and the Column of the Grande Armée, in Wimille near Boulogne-sur-Mer, paying tribute to the Emperor. In the north of the town, the Legion of Honour Memorial is the site where Napoleon awarded the Legion of Honour medal to his soldiers for the first time. Every summer, a full-scale re-enactment takes place there, a mixture of battles and parades.
Located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, near Lille, Boulogne-sur-Mer has a very linked to neighboring England history. Ancient Roman naval base in antiquity, the city is now a popular resort for tourists passing classified and partly tourism resort with its 2000 years of history.
Commonly known as the capital of the Opal Coast, it is the second tourist destination in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais after Lille, thanks to its beautiful beaches and its rich architectural and cultural heritage. pedestrian streets, the thirteenth century walls, colorful markets and fish restaurants, the first fishing port of France is a paradise.
Famous for its gastronomy, the city of Boulogne-sur-Mer is mainly oriented towards seafood. Besides the traditional mussels and fries, pickled herring and mackerel in white wine delight the taste buds. Do not miss either the old Boulogne, a large cheese aroma, or welsh, a must melted cheddar-based dish breweries in the city.
Ancient Roman city and first fresh fishing port of Europe, Boulogne-sur-Mer is certainly rich of an important patrimony. The main attraction of this city of Art and History is surely its fortified city. Located on the site of an old castrum, it is surrounded by ramparts of the thirteenth century where it is possible to make very pleasant walks.
The National Sea Center, also known as Nausicaa in reference to one of the heroines of Homer's Odyssey, is also a must in the city. The site focuses on education on the environment of the sea, with around fifty aquariums and large pools where more than 36,000 animals from all over the world can be admired. The center also hosts the reconstruction of an oceanographic boat, films, and medical training sessions.
Museums are also missing in Boulogne-sur-Mer, to learn a little more about the history of the city, but also about the civilizations that crossed it, direction the museum of Boulogne-sur-Mer. In this polygonal building that protects part of the ramparts, the collections are divided into four levels. On the program, Greek and Egyptian collections, French earthenware, sculptures, paintings of the Opal coast or a very beautiful ethnographic collection with Aleutian marks or haieta. The museum of Libertador San Martin, devoted entirely to the Argentinean general who liberated his country in the nineteenth century, as well as Peru and Chile, of the Spanish domination, makes it possible to discover the life of the one who spent the last years of his life in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
In the former sailors' quarter, the house of the Beurière is an ecomuseum allowing to discover the habitat of a family of sailors at the beginning of the last century. Fishing equipment, Flemish furniture or religious objects are presented.
Many buildings of Boulogne-sur-Mer allow to enjoy the typical architecture of the city, such as the courthouse with its neoclassical facade, the town hall and its brick facade with stone facings of the 18th century, the Desandrouin Louis XVI style, or Saint-Nicolas church, the oldest in the city.
In vogue since the XIXth century, the beach of Boulogne-sur-Mer is a real bathing paradise. The city has put forward numerous facilities for children, as well as summer facilities. Water sports such as sailing or speedsail are also possible.
Enjoy the exceptional moment of a walk in the sea. You will observe the cliffs, the harbor of Boulogne, you will discover the life of the sailors. Embarkation 500 meters from Nausicaa opposite the Chamber of Commerce, Quai Gambetta.
The cultural and historical events other activities abound in Boulogne-sur-Mer, and tourists, as the locals, find happiness everywhere.
The Festival of the Opal Coast, takes place mainly around Boulogne-sur-Mer since 1976 every July. World music, jazz, blues or varieties are planned for this month of madness and artists as famous as Ray Charles, Miles Davis or Bob Dylan, have already occurred in these scenes. Other music festivals are regularly held in the city, like the Poulpaphone festival in October.
Every two years, in July the town hosts a gathering of ships and tall ships during the festival of the sea. In November a herring festival also hosts the streets of the city in honor of this fish has made its reputation.
Sport is no exception to Boulogne-sur-Mer, including road Poisson, an equestrian event that takes place fifth in September, or the festival of sport between late August and mid-September on the banks of the Liane.
Do not also miss the guided night walk on the fortified city, the Napoleonic battle re-enactments during the summer camp of Boulogne, the parade of Saint-Nicolas with fireworks over the harbor, the Cavalcade of Summer in the streets of downtown to 15 August, or the music festival in June.
Each year between April and May, the Notre Dame cathedral offers a pageant depicting the history of the city, from Roman times to today, "The Amazing Story of Boulogne-sur-Mer".