Calais Guide

Calais is just over 25 miles from Dover and as a result is the busiest French passenger port. The northern tip of France offers plenty to do, a stunning coastline rich in birdlife and some excellent cuisine.

Originally this area was joined with Belgium and part of Holland as Flanders. Today some local people still speak Flemish and unlike most of France, the preferred beverage for many is beer rather than wine!

Great shopping is to be had around Place d’Armes on the boulevard Jacquard and the boulevard Lafayette – not forgetting the huge Cite Europe by the Eurotunnel exit which caters for just about your every whim! For those who can be lured away from the shops there is always the Musee des Beaux Arts et de la Dentelle which recalls the town’s lace-making history when Nottingham lace makers set up business here in the late 19th century.

You should also make time for Rodin’s famous sculpture ‘The Burghers of Calais’ which sits in front of the town hall. The sculpture depicts starved citizens trying to hold out against the English forces of Edward III who, touched by their stoicism, spared their lives.

Why not visit the Town Hall located at Rue Du duc de Guise – started in 1885, it was only finished in 1925 and with an imposing 75 metre high tower its is the main landmark in Calais. Its facade is in Renaissance style combined with Flemish art.

Visits are possible (you will need to enquire at the Town Hall) and well worth seeing inside are the main hall, the marriage room and the Council chamber.

There are impressive stain glass windows on the staircase celebrating the re-conquest of Calais from the English. With so many hotels within a 6 mile radius of Calais there’s a great selection of places to stay while you explore this typically French location.


Well we all know about Calais don’t we – or do we? In fact, this may come as a shock to some, but there is much more to Calais than just overloading a couple of shopping ‘chariots’ in one of the French Hypermarkets and then transferring those same goodies to the boot of your car.

Nor should you be tempted, as many are, to circumvent Calais town altogether by heading straight round on the motorway loop to shop at the Cite Europe. Did you know that Calais has a beating heart too?

And more fine eating places than you can shake a stick at – oh yes – Le Touquet eat your heart out! One of our favourites is the Hotel Meurice in Rue Edmond Roche, a family run, pleasant hotel, with private parking but more importantly – an excellent restaurant carefully supervised.

Or just around the corner at ‘Le George V’, a 3 star hotel on the corner of Rue Royale with gourmet dining attached ( and a superb wine list) not to mention Au Cote D’Argent in Digue Gaston Berthe and Le Channel in Boulevard de la Resistance. We could go on but think you may have got the message!

If you’re staying overnight in one of our Calais hotels, and you fancy some exercise, try taking a walk along the cliff tops up at Cap Gris Nez; a real migration hot spot for birds such as skuas, shearwaters and petrels besides being a very enjoyable and refreshing walk. For ease of travel, economical accommodation (did we mention the great restaurants?) it all makes Calais a great choice for an overnight stay or short break destination.

Posted in Travel.