Calais, a Cultural Link to Europe
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Belgium and England, on the Opal Coast in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, the city of Calais is exceptionally located between sea and countryside.
A privileged passage route between the European continent and Great Britain for over a thousand years now, Calais lies today at the heart of a dense communications network. The age-old port is the physical link with England, connected since 1994 with the opening of the Channel's underwater tunnel. The numerous daily crossings make Calais a popular destination with the Brits.
Calais is also renowned for its lace, which can be found in haute-couture designs.
Preserved Natural Spaces All Around
With its 23 km of coastline, rugged cliffs, breathtakingly diverse terrain and coastal villages, the Grand site des Deux-Caps (Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez) is an emblematic area of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. It was the first in France to be classified as a National Grand Site.
These vast natural landscapes are conducive to walks and adventure. Whether on foot, bike or horseback, and even in the water along the coast, sport adepts and Sunday strollers alike will undoubtedly find a route (or many!) to explore.
On the Opal Coast's great beaches, it's also possible to partake in any number of water activity : windsurfing, sailing, kite surfing... Sport enthusiasts won't be disappointed here !
Do not miss
- The International Centre for Lace and Fashion, witness to Calais' industrial background, presents the savoir-faire and techniques of lace-making, its economic and social history, along with the traditional and more modern uses of lace ;
- City Hall, a Flemish and Neo-Renaissance style construction, is symbolic of the union between the cities of Saint-Pierre and Calais.Its belfry, which culminates at 75 meters, offers an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the city. It is also part of the group of Belfries of Belgium, Northern France and Picardie, listed as UNESCO World Heritage ;
- The 6 Bourgeois, life-size bronze statues, are the masterpieces of the famous sculptor, Auguste Rodin. They recall a heroic period in the history of Calais ;
- The Tour du Guet, 38 meters tall, is one of the city's oldest monuments ;
- Notre-Dame-de-Calais Church, the city's biggest and oldest church, is where Charles de Gaulle and Yvonne Vendroux got married in 1921 ;
- The Grand Théâtre is remarkable with its Italian architecture, frescoes and acoustics ;
- The Place d’Armes, one of the city's largest squares, is known mostly for its market and the two annual fairs held there ;
- The Citadel is a fortress built on the ruins of the 13th-century medieval château that defended Calais until 1940 ;
- The Museum of Fine Arts lies on two floors, with collections of 16th- to 21st-century paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs. One of the rooms is entirely dedicated to Rodin ;
- The World War II Museum, located in an authentic German navy bunker, displays many period photographs, press clipping and objects from daily life, recounting the painful fate of the locals at that time.
- Local beer : the "Bourgeoises" of Calais (a blonde, a brown and an amber)
- Local pastries : the "Calais," made with macaron dough, butter-coffee cream, almonds...
- Motorway links :
Autoroute A16 is inter-connected to the North European, Northwest France and Region of Paris motorway networks (Brussels-Calais 2H, Rouen-Calais 2H, Paris-Calais 3H)
Autoroute A26 is inter-connected to the Eastern France and Region of Paris motorway networks (Reims-Calais 3H, Paris-Calais 3H)
By train : two railway stations, Calais Ville and International Calais Fréthun
TGV Nord, 1H30 from Paris, 30 min from Lille
Eurostar, 1H00 from London, 1H00 from Brussels
Maritime links :
The Calais car-ferry terminal has up to 3 hourly departures, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Three companies make the 90-minute liaison to Dover, England. The Calais marina also has 307 boat mooring rings.
- Cross-channel fixed link :
The Eurotunnel has 2 departures every hour, for a 35-minute crossing to Folkestone.
- International coach lines :
The London to Calais route is serviced by companies with links to the rest of Europe.
Office de Tourisme Intercommunal Calais Côte d'Opale
12 Boulevard Clémenceau
Tél : +33 (0)3 21 96 62 40