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Information on museums and places to visit in Calais, France – Day-tripper.net the web magazine for visitors to France.

tourism in France

Places to Visit in Calais

Calais is not just about wine and beer. As it's so near why not visit some of the local attractions, many of which offer good value for money?

Most of just pass through Calais on our shopping trips. However this old town has much to offer and spending time here especially in the summer is worthwhile. Despite seeing 90% of the town razed in WWII it has a fine history.

Pass "Escales Calaisis". With this pass costing 8 euro, you can visit Cite de la Dentelle, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Musee de Memoire 39-45. In addition there are reductions to the normal tariff available for; the Calais Lighthouse, Centre Nautique and hatching centre. You can get the pass at the Calais Tourist Office.

Places to Visit in Calais (Time to walk from Place d'Armes)

Town Hall, Rue Du duc de Guise. Started in 1885, it was only finished in 1925. With an imposing 75 metre high tower it is the main landmark in Calais. Its facade is in Renaissance style combined with the Flemmish art (Architect Debrouwer). Visits are possible, enquire at the Town Hall. Inside and worth seeing are the main hall, the marriage room and Council chamber. There are impressive stain glass windows on the staircase, celbrating the reconquest of Calais from the English.

6 Burgers Statue (Rodin) – symbolizes the heroism of the 6 Town Burghers in 1347. 8 minutes. Tel: 0033 321 46 62 00. Open to the public every day except Sunday 8.00am – 12.00noon, 1.30 – 5.30pm. www.musee-rodin.fr

We suggest you walk up towards the centre of town and stop off to admire the Town Hall and the 6 Burgers statue. There is also a Memorial to the Unknown Soldier.

2nd World War Museum and Park (Musée de Memoire 39-45)

Parc St. Pierre (opp. The Town Hall) – 8 minutes. Tel: 0033 321 34 21 57. Open; 1st May to 30th September, open everyday 10.00am – 6.00pm. 1st February to 30th April, and 1st October to 30th November, open 11.00am to 5.00pm. Closed Mondays. museeguerrecalais.free.fr

A large museum in an old WWII bunker opposite the Town Hall. Use to be the German navy command post. Interesting and worth a visit.

War Museums

Fine Art and Lace Museum (Musée des Beaux Arts)

25, rue Richelieu. 6 minutes. Tel: 0033 321 46 48 40. Open 10.00am – 12.00noon, 2.00 – 6.00pm. Closed Monday and Public Holidays and Saturday at 6.00pm, Sunday 2.00 – 6.00pm. Worth a quick visit if only to see the relief map of old Calais. Lots of lace and old dresses, and a mix of modern and old sculptures and painting.

cite dentelle – International City of Lace and Fashion (Cite internationale de la dentelle et de la mode de Calais). Quai du Commerce, 62100 Calais. Tel: 0033 321 00 42 30. www.cite-dentelle.fr

Colonne Louis XVIII

Colonne Louis XVIII commemorates the French king's return from exile in England after the fall of Napoleon in 1814. Look for the imprint of the royal foot. Blvd des Allies, Town Centre.

War Cemetery 1

8 minutes walk. Pay your respects to those who helped liberate Calais. photo

Situated near the beach. Directions; from the centre of Calais, head for the beach, go over the roundabout past Fort Risban, folow the beach road to the end. At the end of the beach (past all the hotels) amongst the dunes is the cemetery.

Fort Risban

Built on a former English tower "la Tour de Lancastre" in the last XVIth century to defend the harbour access in 1346, it allowed the surveillance of the port entrance – 10 minutes. Tel: 0033 321 46 48 40.

A bit of a dump but good views of the harbour.

Railway/Bus Stations – 8 minutes

Theatre

Place Albert 1er – Inaugurated in 1905, its architect was Malgras. The impressive fron tof the building is decorated with four statues symbolising music, poetry, comedy and dance. In front of the theatre is a monument of Joseph Jacquard who created Calais Lace. The Bus Depot is here – 12 minutes.

Fort Nieulay

Built by Vauban in 1677 (on the way to Auchan). Tel: 0033 321 46 66 41.

Open to the public from the end of April to October.

Citadel

Situated on the site of the former feudal castle, it was built between 1560 and 1571 by Louis XIII. Today there is a sports stadium inside the ramparts.

Citadel Canals (Naviboat)

Take a pedalo round the canals. Tel: 0033 321 19 65 45.

1st April to 15th September. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in April and November.

Calais Lighthouse (Phare)

Bd. des Alliés. Tel: 0033 321 34 33 34. 160 years old in 2008.

271 steps to a wonderful view 64 metres up. Dating from 1848 the lighthouse is one of only two in France located in the town centre. With guide, Wednesday 2.00 – 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday 10.00am – 12 noon, 2.00 – 5.30pm (6.30pm in summer). Open every afternoon during school holidays. www.pharedecalais.com

The Watch Tower

Place d'Armes. One of the oldest monuments in Calais is the 35 metre high Watch Tower, which was built in the 13th Century. Once the centre of a medieval castle.

Casino de Calais

19, rue Royale, 62100. Calais. Tel: 0033 321 19 16 66. Open: every day 11.00am to 3.00pm.

Church of Notre Dame, rue Notre Dame

Building commenced in the 13th Century and there have been many additions and modifications over the years. Tudor and Gothic styles can be seen side by side. The high alter, rising to 17m was consecrated in 1628. The Lady Chapel dates from 1631. The 58m Bell Tower was destroyed in a bombing raid on the 26/9/44. General De Gaulle got married here in 1921. Round the corner attached to the Church is a reservoir built in 1691, with 2m thick walls, holding 1,800m2 of water. Louis XIV ordered its construction for the garrison and population during drought. Water is collected from the vast roof of the Church. It has a magnificent marble altar piece. 3 minutes.

notre dame calais

World War II Cemetery

World War 11 in and around Calais

These links provide a good background into the situation in Calais during the War.

Seige of Calais 1940 – www.historyofwar.org/articles/siege_calais_1940.html

Battle of Bologune – www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_boulogne_1940.html

Evacuation of Dunkirk – www.historyofwar.org/articles/operation_dynamo.html

war cemetery calais

Useful Outside links

musanor museums France – Museums in the North of France. www.musenor.fr

Useful map showing museums and art galleries in the North. www.origin-art.com

All French monuments and museums. www.culture.fr

Nord Department Tourism. www.cdt-nord.fr

Nord / Pas de Calais Tourism. www.northernfrance-tourism.com

French Embassy – USA site. www.info-france-usa.org

calais tourist office – Calais Tourist Office English web site. www.calais-cotedopale.com

the other side France – The Other Side, lots of useful information. www.theotherside.co.uk

Les Greeters, local people who will show you around for free (French). www.greeters62.com

slow travel – Slow Travel is a community of people who like to travel and experience new places! www.slowtrav.com

Also Sloweurope.com (photos) and Slowtalk.com (message board).

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