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Calais

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pas-de-Calais

Calais - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Pas-de-Calais
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France's number one passenger port, Calais has a rich historical and cultural heritage that makes this city on the Opal Coast an unmissable stop on any tour of Pas-de-Calais. The city has kept a number of architectural gems from its past, like the city hall. It was built in the Neo-Flemish style and you cannot fail to notice the Tudor-inspired details. It has a grand staircase, magnificent stained glass windows and a belfry standing 75 metres tall, a listed UNESCO site including a clock with four faces and a carillon. Just opposite the city hall, the six Burghers of Calais are a splendid bronze sculpture by Rodin. The Church of Our Lady is a 13th-century building. The upper part of the nave, the choir and the bell tower were built by Flemish labourers. Another remarkable edifice is the 13th-century Watchtower (Tour du Guet), an ancient defensive system standing 35 metres tall, which happens to be Calais' oldest monument.

Located outside of the city fortifications, the maritime quarter is a historical district with two renowned emblems, the Bassin du Paradis and Place du Minck. On the culture side of things, the Museum of Fine Arts possesses a rich collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures ranging from the 16th to 21st centuries. Let's not forget to mention one of the region's skills: lace-making. To find out more about this tradition which dates back to the late 18th century, head to the International City of Lace and Fashion, where you can discover the history of the city's lace industry.

Calais was also a site of conflict during the Second World War. Its story is told through objects and photos at the Second World War Museum (Musée de la Mémoire 39-45), based in a former command and transmission centre for the German Navy. Bear in mind that Calais lighthouse, which dates back to the 19th century, withstood two World Wars. Climb the 271 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of the city, the sea and the English coast!

After all those visitor attractions, the esplanade alongside the sandy beach is a lovely place to sit down or take a walk. This long beach extends all the way to the spectacular site of Cap Blanc-Nez.

Additional information
Calais

France's leading passenger port, Calais is a city with undeniable attractions. Located on the coast of the Channel, the city has always been a strategic military point of importance. It has often been besieged in the course of history beginning in 1346 during the Hundred Years War. The English have often sought to annex Calais. Yet the city holds good even during the Second World War when the Germans declare it "forbidden zone" for fear of landing the allies there. Calais is rebuilt after the war and consolidates its position as a leader in transport across the Atlantic. In 1994, the construction of the tunnel under the Channel finished to establish its first place. All the life of the city revolves around the port, but it is inside the metropolis that you will find many classified monuments, escaped from the wars.

Things to see and do

Calais knows how to offer good moments of relaxation to its visitors. While strolling along the dike from where the ferry to England leaves, you can enjoy the seaside stroll on the sandy beach lined with white beach chalets to see the white cliffs of Dover in time clear. In summer you can enjoy the beach and its water sports. There, the wind is often part of the game. This will be the opportunity to introduce you to the sand yacht. And for a 360 degree view, it will take a little effort to climb the 271 steps of the Calais lighthouse. You will have a panorama on the port, the hinterland of Calais, but also on Dover. Unusual fact that adds to the mysterious atmosphere, the lighthouse is built in front of a church.

Besides its wearing, Calais has a unique know-how of lace. It is in the City of Lace and Fashion that you will discover this art of weaving renowned throughout the world. The museum, housed in an old lace industry, welcomes you and offers workshops for both children and adults to introduce you to this art of fashion.

The historical heritage remains an essential part of your visit. The program begins with the belfry. Rest assured, you can ascend by elevator and admire the view from the top of its 78 meters. The visit continues through the Church of Our Lady, whose construction began in 1223 and ended in the 17th century. Its originality lies in the fact that every era has left its mark. It thus presents an architecture of influence Tudor. Fort Risban is also a curiosity not to be missed. Erected for a defensive purpose of the port, this fort dates from the end of the sixteenth century.

It is in an authentic blockhouse of the German Navy that the Museum of Memory 39-45 is held. An original place to go in the footsteps of the past and immerse yourself in the history of the Second World War.

In a more playful way, the clock tower is a museum to discover the history of the Vikings while having fun. Children can play while discovering the story and parents grow at the same time.

Finally, you can finish your visit by the Museum of Fine Arts located in the historical center of Calais. Numerous exhibitions await you there.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

During the month of January, the fair takes place in Calais. Ride and carousel rides await you for unforgettable moments with family or friends.

In February, it is the living room of vintners and terroirs that invites itself to Calais. 1500 m² of exhibition, about forty passionate producers and of course wine tastings to discover the flavors of this nectar.

Throughout the month of December, the world of toys opens its doors to you. Ice rink, shows, arrival of Santa Claus... you will not believe your eyes! Stroll through the magical forest and take a ride in Santa's sleigh! The village of Christmas settles during the festivities in Calais.

Photos

The Six Bourgeois of Calais
The Six Bourgeois of Calais
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Lighthouse of Calais
Lighthouse of Calais
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Sculpture
Sculpture
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City Hall
City Hall
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The port
The port
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The city
The city
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The Notre-Dame church
The Notre-Dame church
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The Notre-Dame church
The Notre-Dame church
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The Notre-Dame church
The Notre-Dame church
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Tower
Tower
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The port
The port
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

Restaurants

Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals

Campsites

Hotels

Your holidays
A hotel
A vacation rental
A bed & breakfast
A campsite
A leisure activity
A restaurant
A rental car
A plane ticket
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