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Tourism and places to visit – museums, beaches, War sites, in Calais and France –

calais ville

Tourism and Places to Visit in Calais and France

Information on Calais, Dover, museums, walks, places to visit, markets and tourist offices.

There is more to this region that at first appears. Inside Calais, the War Museum is worth a visit, and we recommend a walk along the beach towards the old bunkers, watching the ferries coming and going.

Outside of Calais Town, there are many pleasant drives through pretty villages. Worth a trip to is Cap Blanc Nez – perched on top of a very high cliff, the views offered are wonderful – England is usually visible. A pleasant walk along the beach (at low tide) is bracing but enjoyable. We particularly enjoyed La Coupole, a museum dedicated to space and the space race.

The coast is largely natural in France with a good network of walking routes. Locally, Nord / Pas de Calais has 240kms of coast, Picardy 60kms, Normandy 640kms, and Brittany a whopping 2,712kms.

Places to go to in and around Calais

We now have pages devoted to each subject – To go to the pages concerned with your interest click on the heading.

World War 1 and 2 Museums are well planned and worth a visit.

route 39/45 – Route 39/45 – runs from Calais (War Museum) through to Eperleques (Blockhaus), Ardres, Ambleteuse, Mimoyecques (Base V3) and Audinghen (Atlantic Wall Museum – TODT Battery).

For more information contact the Calais Tourist Office.

Most of us just pass through Dover, but it is well worth a visit, particularly the Castle and the War Museum in the Cliffs. About Dover

French Tourist Offices are well funded and full of useful information.

More About maps on this site.

Markets in France are always enjoyable. This region is renowned for its local produce – which makes visits all the more enjoyable.

Towns along the coast between Calais and Boulogne

Ambleteuse – pretty village just 6miles from Boulogne. Impressive Vauban fort. Good for walking.

Audinghen – 14miles south of Calais (exit 36, A16). Visit the lighthouse, The Atlantic Wall, The Old Fort, and the local church.

Audresselles – near Cap Gris Nez, a historic village. Visit the Church (St Jean-Baptiste – XIII century).

Escalles – Small village in a valley leading to the sea below Cap Blanc Nez. 6.5miles from Calais.

Tardinghen – Mussels are cultivated here.

Wimereux – pretty seaside town just north of Boulogne. Worth a stroll around. Plenty of restaurants.

Wissant – Between the Caps, it has a very beautiful sandy beach. An old fishing village, it has been preserved.

Printemps des Musées (May every year).

French museums open for free for one day in spring, offering a chance to whizz round the country's finest temporary and permanent collections.

rendevous France

Rendezvous France. This is a new initiative by the French Tourist Office. It aims to boost the tourism industry and employment in this important sector.

Beautiful towns and villages in France and Belgium

The main grouping is that of the "Villes et Villages Fleuris" in France. Palmarès = participating towns. The "Plus Beaux Detours" grouping is another worth checking out.

ville et village fleurisVilles et Villages Fleuris. Many French towns particpate in this scheme. Competition is fierce, but those that win the coveted four flowers are worth a detour.

– towns with four flowers awarded (map link).

lovliest detours FranceLoveliest Detours of France (Les Plus Beaux Détours de France) – an association created at the end of 1998. Groups together more than 60 towns scattered all over France. Makes a rewarding detour.

plus beaux villages de FranceDes Plus Beaux Villages de France. 152 villages all over France (none in Nord, Pas de Calais).

– Private site, with good links to all the Beaux Villages and many more all over France.

station verte – Station Verte. Towns and villages of less than 6,000 citizens with a country location or appeal, such as a lake, river or natural feature. Must guarantee holidaymakers stay in a "preserved environment". Montreuil and Frévent in Pas de Calais are part of this scheme.

– useful Station Verte definition.

– Ville et Métiers d'Art. 63 towns in France (2012). "France is probably the only country in the world where one can find the widest variety of artisanal know-how (some of which goes back several centuries), and where these multiple traditions have been preserved, and updated, as talent and inspiration sometimes team up with fashion and contemporary design".

– The town of Desvres (ceramics) is the closest "Ville et Métiers d'Art" to Calais, although the town of Caudry near to Lille, which made the lace for the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, might be of interest.

In Belgium

beaux villesLes Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie.

Towns & villages with famous products

Just as we have built up a useful page of links for French brands, restaurant chains, hotels and events in France, we intend to develop a page listing towns and villages in france famous for something special or famously French.


– Villedieu-les-Poêles. Cornille-Havard bell foundry (Normandy).

Copper products

– Atelier du Cuivre (Normandy).

The town of Villedieu-les-Poêles is famous for metal working, and copper and pewter items for the kitchen are still made here. The workshops are open to visitors, where you can admire and appreciate the work in progress.


cite dentelle – Calais. 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.

– Caudry near to Lille, which made the lace for the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress.

– Villedieu-les-Poêles.

France Tour guides & tours

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

Local Guiding – International website but with a good section on France. Search for a guide by region or town.

Why not try the "Paris Comprehensive Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour with optional Batobus River Cruise"?

Browse 1000s of summer tours and activities

– Viator. Book tours and things to do in France and


Unesco sites.

France has a very considerable number of UNESCO sites (2011 – 36).

2012 – The Nord Pas-de-Calais coalfield basin has been listed on the World heritage list as a "Living and Evolving Cultural Landscape". 75 miles long, it covers 9,880 acres, is well preserved and bears witness to three centuries of mining history.

Useful Outside links

Comités Departementaux Tourisme – Federation Nationale des Comités Departementaux du Tourisme.

All French monuments and museums.

Nord Department Tourism.

Nord / Pas de Calais Tourism.

French Embassy – USA site.

Excellent site full of information for Provence.

calais tourist office – Calais Tourist Office English web site.

the other side France – The Other Side, lots of useful information.

via France – ViaFrance.

info tourism –, an independent site with some useful information.

boussole shop – Boussole. Useful directory for many shops and institutions in France.

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

Also (photos) and (message board).

hostel world – Hostelworld, book a hostel worldwide.

Book a local tour

hostelbookers – Hostel Bookers. Book a hostel worldwide.