Calais is a city in northwestern France, near the border with the United Kingdom. It is located on the coast of the English Channel, across from the British town of Dover. The city holds significant geographic importance as a major hub for travelers crossing between Great Britain and Europe through the Channel Tunnel.
History of Calais
The history of Calais is rich and closely intertwined with the events and developments that occurred in the region and Europe as a whole. Calais gained significant historical importance during the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, the city was under the influence of England and served as a crucial territory for controlling the English Channel. During the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) between England and France, Calais found itself in numerous conflicts and sieges. The most well-known period in Calais' history is during the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) when the city was besieged by the English for over a century. The siege of Calais was completed in 1347.
During World War II, the city suffered severe destruction. Today, Calais remains an important city in the region, with a vibrant cultural life and historical monuments that showcase its past. Calais is also known for its significant role in European integration as it serves as the entry point to the Channel Tunnel, which connects France and England.
Sights in Calais
Calais boasts several attractions and monuments that showcase its rich history and culture. Some of the notable attractions in Calais include:
- Old Town of Calais: The Old Town, also known as "Ville Haute," is a picturesque complex of medieval buildings, narrow streets, and cobblestone lanes. Here you will find the Ratushion, a fortified tower that offers stunning views of the sea.
- Monument of the Burghers of Calais: The Monument of the Burghers of Calais is dedicated to the fishermen of Calais and features an impressive sculptural group by the English sculptor Auguste Rodin. It depicts the six burghers of Calais who volunteered to sacrifice themselves for the city during the siege of 1347.
- Calais Castle: Calais Castle, also known as the "Burgundian Tower," is a historic observation tower dating back to the 13th century. The castle offers breathtaking views of the port of Calais and houses a museum with exhibits on the history of the region.
- Notre-Dame Church: The Notre-Dame Church of Calais is a stunning Gothic building that was constructed in the 14th century.
- Calais Museum: The Calais Museum houses a collection of artworks and objects that showcase the history of Calais and its local cultural heritage. Exhibitions include sculptures, paintings, and local history.
These are some of the attractions you can visit in Calais. However, the city has much more to offer, and it's worth exploring its picturesque streets and discovering its atmosphere.
Activities in Calais
Calais offers a variety of activities to enjoy during your visit. Some of the activities you can enjoy in Calais include:
- Beach exploration: Calais has beautiful beaches where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the sea. You can take a stroll along the sandy shore, go for a swim, or engage in water sports such as diving and surfing.
- Visit the Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode: If you're interested in fashion and the art of sewing, you can visit this center that houses an extensive collection of exhibitions on the history of fashion and lacework.
- Stroll through Jardin Richelieu: This beautiful garden is perfect for a relaxing walk. You can enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings, appreciate nature, and discover various plants and flowers.
- Explore the Historic Center: The historic center of Calais is filled with beautiful buildings, narrow streets, and interesting landmarks. You can walk through the streets, explore the shops and local cafes, and see landmarks such as the Hôtel de Ville and the Calais Theatre.
- Visit the Zoo: The Calais Zoo is a popular choice for families. You can see various species of animals and walk through the beautiful environments.
These are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in Calais. Also, explore local restaurants, bars, and shops to indulge in French cuisine and shopping.
How to travel to Calais?
To travel to Calais, there are various options depending on where you are starting from. Some of the main methods of travel to Calais include:
- Plane: The most common way to reach Calais is by plane. The nearest airports are London Heathrow Airport or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there, you can travel to Calais by train or car.
- Train: Calais is an important railway hub and is connected, among others, to Paris and London via the Eurostar. You can board the Eurostar train from London's St Pancras International Station or from Paris' Gare du Nord and arrive at Calais-Fréthun railway station.
- Car: You can travel to Calais by car. There are various road connections from the United Kingdom and France. You can use the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, which is an underwater tunnel connecting Folkestone in the United Kingdom with Coquelles in France. The car journey takes approximately 35 minutes.
- Ferry: There are also ferries that operate routes from Dover in the United Kingdom to Calais. There are several ferry companies that offer routes from Dover to Calais. P&O Ferries provides regular routes from the port of Dover to Calais. DFDS Seaways is another ferry company that offers routes from Dover to Calais. The trips take about 90 minutes.
These are some of the main methods of travel to Calais. Choose the appropriate method based on your preferences and the location you are starting your journey from.