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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Nord

Dunkirk - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Nord

Third port in France and hometown of the famous privateer Jean Bart, Dunkerque boasts a rich maritime history. The port museum, situated in a former tobacco warehouse, presents the history of the port of Dunkirk. Three boats can also be visited: the three-master Duchesse Anne, the barge Guilde and the lightship Sandettie. After visiting the museum and strolling along the quays of the Bassin du Commerce, a boat trip is a good way of exploring the port and its different installations.

Besides this port heritage, Dunkirk has two belfries that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: on Saint-Éloi church and the town hall.

The Fine Art Museum houses painting collections of the Flemish, French, Dutch and Italian schools.

As well as these many places of interest, relaxing is also on the agenda – on the beautiful fine sand beach of Malo-les-Bains, nicknamed the "queen of the northern beaches".

Every January and February, the famous Dunkirk carnival livens up and brings colour to the streets of the city.

Additional information

A destination for both seaside, nautical and festive, Dunkerque welcomes you with open arms. Third port of France, the first French seaport of the North Sea, Dunkerque is a land of welcome, a tourist destination with unusual beauty. At the heart of a remarkable dune area, the sandy beaches stretch as far as the eye can see for miles, surrounded by 600 hectares of beautifully preserved dunes where flora and fauna thrive freely and where l The oyat undulates with the wind.

Carnival is the flagship tradition of the territory.

Things to see and do

Dunkerque has two belfries classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. The Belfry Saint-Eloi is open all year round.

The port museum has a rich collection of the maritime history of the territory.

The Museum of Fine Arts and the LAAC (Museum of Contemporary Art) are treasures to explore.

Visits of the port by boat, "dinners-cruises" will allow you to discover the port in the heart of its activity.

The beach is full of water activities such as kite-surfing, sand yachting, windsurfing and catamaran sailing.

Labeled "Famille plus", the destination Dunkerque Dunes de Flandre invites families to take advantage of the numerous proposals of sporting, leisure and cultural activities. Information at the Tourist Office on +33 3 28 66 79 21.

Guided tours: the walks in Dunkerque or in Malo-les-Bains at the seaside are guided but especially gourmandes to wish. Discover the secret beauties of Dunkerque.

The city center, with more than 400 shops offering a wide choice, including gourmet flavors and local specialties. It is good to stroll there.

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Natural sites
Performance halls

Events and festivities

Every second Sunday of Lent, all the morning, the group In de Kring (sword dancers) performs, for over 30 years, 5 times, their sword dance on the place Jean-Bart in the center of Dunkerque.

Sword dances: They once occupied an important place in the repertoire. In French Flanders and in the north of France, the presence of sword dances is attested in 12 localities: Cambrai (1529), Bethune (1530 and 1563), Hondschoote (1570), Dunkerque (1563, 1568, 1572, 1573, 1575 and 1601), Téteghem (1563), Socx (1568, 1572 and 1573), Lynck (1573), Esquelbecq (1575), Bergues (1615), Bollezeele (1660-1663), Crochte (1715) and Lille (1729)). In Dunkerque and Bollezeele, we find the dancers in the procession. Those of Socx, Lynck and Téteghem are mentioned in the procession of Dunkerque. The Hondschoote dancers came to Ostend. A hundred or so towns and villages were concerned with the dance of swords from which derive the stick dances that still survive today in Kempen.

For most scholars, string dances are considered a ritual initiation dance in which young men are admitted to the male community of the place. The specific feature is the formation in a circle by presenting the tip of the sword to the neighboring dancer. This circle is no longer interrupted and a series of "passage" figures are linked together. It is still found today in England, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Belgium and France.

"In de Kring" (In the circle): On March 11, 1990, the dancers of swords recreated, on a choreography by Renaat Van Craenenbroeck, the dance at Dunkerque. Since, they occur every year on the second Sunday after Tuesday-Gras, the sound of fifes and drums! But the dancers of "In de Kring" form their circle, on occasion, extramural: in France, in Belgium, in England....

Detailed information

Dunkirk Carnival
A big popular festival whose centrepiece is a herring-throwing event!February 2020


Sword dance at Dunkerque
Sword dance at Dunkerque
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

The Palace of The Universe and Science (The MOST) in Cappelle la Grande is over 4000 square meters devoted to life sciences, Earth and Universe and Man in his environment. All brought together to make your visit a memorable one. Embark on a journey that takes you the first moments of the Big Bang to the present day, immerse yourself under the starry sky of the planetarium and enjoy the workshops of scientific practice.


Bed & breakfasts

Vacation rentals



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