Take a ferry from Dover to Calais and go to these 5 fairly cities in Northern France

It is just 26 miles that separates Blighty from its Gallic neighbour. Meaning you possibly can bundle your loved ones into your automobile and hop on a ferry at Dover or catch the Eurotunnel from Folkestone and inside 90 minutes you possibly can hop off at Calais.

Drive slightly additional and there’s a clutch of fairly cities. Right here’s our selection of 5 fabulous locations simply throughout the channel:


Grand'Place, Arras

Grand’Place, Arras (c) flickr/Philippe Rouzet

This can be a medieval market city, famed for its tapestries. It was destroyed within the warfare however so nicely restored that the Grand Place and the Place des Heros look very a lot the historic half. Flemish gabled buildings, quaint squares, wonderful eating places, a wealthy heritage and full of life vibe mix to supply an fascinating Flemish-Gallic expertise. Go to the wonderful arts museum, Musée des Beaux-Arts (entry €7.50) to see an ornate assortment of horse drawn carriages donated by the Chateau de Versailles in Paris.

The city can be recognized for its underground tunnels, resembling Wellington Quarry the place 1500 troopers lived through the First World Struggle.

From Calais: 90 minutes by way of A26 motorway


Nausicaä sea life centre, Boulogne-Sur-Mer

Nausicaä sea life centre, Boulogne-Sur-Mer (c) flickr/Gilles

This gorgeous fortified city reaches up from the Haut Ville (city), and marks out the the city’s most lovely part – an historic, walled, Vieux Ville (previous city). Wanting upwards, the cathedral dome dominates the skyline. It’s a steep stroll as much as the ramparts however this cobbled space is ripe for romantics and is ideal for a quiet ramble alongside tree-lined paths. The views over each the previous and new city are beautiful.

The rising Rue de Lille is the place quaint arts and crafts outlets, and eating places together with one the place each dish is made with cheese, are positioned. On the high is Vole Gap, a terrific bar to sip a glass of vino.

One of many highlights of Boulogne for households, particularly on a wet day, is Nausicaä, a sensational sea-life centre. You will have just a few hours however the actions and sights will preserve the children engaged.

From Calais: 20 minutes by way of A26 motorway


Calais Town Hall

Calais City Corridor (c) flickr/Luca Casartelli

At first look, this lattice work of roads appears uninviting. However a second look uncovers some gems.

As an illustration, reverse the magnificent city corridor is the Musée de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, a former German bunker in Parc St Pierre. It has 27 rooms and hundreds of artifacts.

For just a few extra frills, head for the Lace Museum for a blinding vary of lace attire and ornamental objects. 

The port has an enormous sandy seashore the place a hamper with du vin, du ache and du fromage makes for a really perfect picnic spot. For one thing extra gastronomic there’s, surprisingly, a clutch of outstanding eating places resembling Le Sole Meuniere overlooking the yacht basin. One other, Aquar’aile sits atop a block of flats so you possibly can dine and benefit from the views over the channel and watch the ships are available by way of its floor-to-ceiling home windows.

Don’t depart with out popping into the biggest wine store within the area – Calais Vins. The proprietor Jérôme Pont is aware of his grapes and he collectively together with his English talking staff can recommend these wines that can fit your palate. And as you possibly can reclaim the 15 per cent VAT, you possibly can fill your boots (a minimum of your automobile boot) to the tune of 24 bottles of wine per particular person and 12 bottles of glowing wine; plus 42 litres of beer.

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage (c) flickr/Vincent

you’re coming into seafront city of Le Touquet when the tarmac takes on a crimson hue. Not like different French cities, the phrases “quaint” and “medieval” haven’t any place right here. The resort is simply too younger for cobbles and ramparts and there’s a distinct lack of museums and Cathedrals. The principle occasion is Le Touquet itself – a case of trendy leisure over heritage.

The seashore alone can preserve a younger household busy for ages however its piece de resistance is Aqualud tropical aquatic park. Additional alongside the seashore is the Thalassa thalassotherapy and spa centre. Sea-and-seaweed based mostly therapies are mentioned to alleviate stress, arthritis and rheumatism.

Behind the city is a extremely manicured forest and inside its coronary heart is an equestrian centre, the place you possibly can rent horses for midnight rambles alongside the seashore.

From Calais: Take the A16 within the path of Boulogne. Exit at Junction 26 at Etaple and comply with the indicators to Le Touquet. Driving time : 45 minutes


Place du Général-de-Gaulle (Grand′Place) in Lille, France

Place du Général de Gaulle (Grand′Place) in Lille, France (c) wikimedia/Velvet

Located by the Deûle river close to the Belgium border, this pleasant Flemish metropolis is the capital of French Flanders and the beginning place of Charles de Gaulle.

It’s packaged in a community of 17th century winding cobbled streets. These are neglected by fairly gabled and wood-beamed or red-bricked structure that fan out from its major sq., the Grand’Place. The locals have their very own dialect fairly completely different to French – Ch’ti – and their very own beer by the identical title. You possibly can strive it wherever however particularly at an estaminet – a regional type restaurant – resembling Estaminet T’ Rijsel on rue de Gand.

Learn additionally: Lille – a Flemish metropolis in Northern France

Procuring is vibrant on the open-air guide market within the Vieille Bourse (previous inventory trade courtyard) as are a spectacular vary of designerwear shops and boutiques elsewhere. One can find designers resembling Hermès, Louis Vuiton and Lacoste in rue de la Grande Chaussée and smaller boutiques by particular person designers on Lille’s oldest road, rue de la Monnaie, named after the royal mint. Do you have to get there in September, you’ll see La Braderie, an annual road truthful the place hundreds of merchants come to buy or promote and social gathering.

By the way, the city has its personal artwork gallery, Palais des Beaux Arts, which is taken into account second solely to the Louvre in Paris.

From Calais: Take the A16 /A25. Driving time : 45 minutes


NOTE: Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is at the moment working as much as 4 companies an hour from Folkestone to Calais.  Passengers drive onto the practice at Folkestone and disembark in Calais simply 35 minutes later. With contactless check-in accessible and the “in-car” supply companies on the terminal, passengers can journey from residence to vacation with out leaving the automobile. 

Costs begin at simply £72 per automobile for as much as 9 passengers; for extra data and social distancing vacation concepts, go to www.eurotunnel.com

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