Day Trips To Calais

Welcome to our Calais tourist information page. The oldest part of Calais (Calais Nord) is built on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. The modern town, St-Pierre, lies to the south and southeast. Calais has a long history and the Romans called the settlement Caletum. Because of its strategic importance Calais was subject to frequent changes in sovereignty. At the time that Calais passed under English control in 1347 most of the inhabitants spoke Dutch as their first language. In 1558 Calais was finally returned to French control.

Follow this link for our most recently updated The main La France page. General tourist Information for Calais on this page, these links for hotels in Calais and restaurants in Calais. Probably the the French town with the strongest connection to England. We've been publishing this and similar features for over a decade. Your feedback is really important to us so we welcome your comments. Our contact details are at the foot of the page.

Calais is on the doorstep of a breathtaking coastline with miles of huge empty beaches, the fine white sand interrupted only by the cliffs of Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Gris Nez. Or head inland and drive through a countryside of rolling hills, small river valleys and forests. High standard, modestly priced accommodation and restaurants to suit most pockets and tastes can be found throughout the area to offer a taste of the real France.

Calais was part of the English Kingdom for many years, there are visible and enduring connections with Britain to be seen all over the 'Pas'. Economically the Department was traditionally a coal mining area and like parts of East Kent this industry has now declined, perhaps not quite as much as the Kent coalfields.

Although this feature concentrates primarily on Calais, the rest of the department can be easily reached by day trippers and there are great sights to see in towns like: Arras, Béthune, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Lens, Montreuil and Saint-Omer.

Things To See In Calais

Famous Calais landmarks worth a visit include:

  • City Hall - Hall with striking 75-metre-high belfry was listed as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2005. - Hôtel de ville, Place du Soldat Inconnu, 62100 Calais.
  • Calais Theatre - The auditorium is reknown for it's excellent accoustics, it holds a little under 1,000 in four galleries. - Le Théâtre, Bd Pasteur, 62100 Calais.
  • The Church Of Notre Dame - Perhaps the only church in mainland Europe constructed in the Tudor style. - Eglise Notre-Dame, Rue de Croy, 62100 Calais.
  • The Lighthouse - Located in the Courgain Maritime district.
  • Fort Nieulay - Designed by Vauban, one of the few remaining fortified sluices in France. Currently under restoration. Fort Nieulay, Avenue Roger Salengro, 62100 Calais.
  • Fort Risban - 16th century fort built on the remains on the Lancaster Tower. - Fort Risban
    Avenue Raymond Poincaré, 62100 Calais.
  • The Citadel - Citadelle, Avenue Pierre de Coubertin, 62100 Calais,
  • Tour du Guet - The oldest standing monument in Calais, not open for internal viewing, it was built in the 13th century. Tour du Guet, Place d’Armes, 62100 Calais.

Museums In Calais

  • The International City of Lace and Fashion - Originally a collective factory in the district of Saint-Pierre, the beating heart of the local lace industry. Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode, Quai de la Gendarmerie, 62100 Calais, www.citedentelle.fr
  • Museum Of Fine Arts - A new museum of fine arts and lace was inaugurated in 1968. It collects documents concerning local history and holds an extensive collection of watercolours - Musée Of Fine Arts, Rue Richelieu, 62100 Calais, www.calais.fr.
  • Museum Of Memory 39-45 - The Museum of memory 39-45 (Musée de Mémoire 39-45), this is an old blockhouse occupied by the German Navy. www.museeguerrecalais.free.fr.

Other nearby tourist attractions:

Beach In Wissant - On the seaward side the village of Wissant has a huge beach, ideal for wind and water sports. Audreselles is famous for its unusual fishing boats which when not in use, are parked, car fashion, outside their owners houses. Another fishing village, Ambleteuse boasts a fine fort built by the famous French military engineer, Vauban.

Cloth of Gold - Guines - Inland a network of small roads lead to villages such as Guines, near the field of the Cloth of Gold, the famous meeting place in 1520 for Henry VIII and Francis I of France, while the pretty town of Ardres has for decades been a popular en route stopover for British holidaymakers.

Giant World War II bunker - Licques - Nearby is Licques, a charming village with a superb Gothic church, famous for its production of fine turkey, highlighted in December in an annual turkey parade. Eperlecques is notable for a giant World War II bunker, where V2 rockets were built and launched.

The Calais tourist office is at:

  • Address: Office de Tourisme Calais/Côte d'Opale, 12, bd Clémenceau, 62100 Calais
  • Telephone: +03 21 96 62 40
  • Website: www.calais-cotedopale.com

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