Take a ferry from Dover to Calais and visit these five pretty French towns

It is just 26 miles that separates Blighty from its Gallic neighbour. That means 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 a little additional and there may be a clutch of pretty towns. Here’s our selection of five fabulous locations simply throughout the channel:


Grand'Place, Arras

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

This is 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, high quality eating places, a wealthy heritage and full of life vibe mix to supply an fascinating Flemish-Gallic expertise. Visit the high quality 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 also be recognized for its underground tunnels, reminiscent of Wellington Quarry the place 1500 troopers lived through the First World War.

From Calais: 90 minutes through A26 motorway


Nausicaä sea life centre, Boulogne-Sur-Mer

This pretty fortified city reaches up from the Haut Ville (city), and marks out the the city’s most lovely part – an historic, walled, Vieux Ville (outdated city). Looking upwards, the cathedral dome dominates the skyline. It’s a steep stroll up to 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 The views over each the outdated and new city are beautiful.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. At the highest is Vole Hole, a nice bar to sip a glass of vino.

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

From Calais: 20 minutes through A26 motorway


Calais Town Hall

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

For occasion, 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 1000’s of artifacts.

For a few extra frills, head for the Lace Museum for a dazzling vary of lace clothes and ornamental gadgets.

The port has a huge sandy seaside the place a hamper with du vin, du ache and du fromage makes for an excellent picnic spot. For one thing extra gastronomic there may be, surprisingly, a clutch of outstanding eating places reminiscent of Le Sole Meuniere overlooking the yacht basin. Another, 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 via its floor-to-ceiling home windows.

4.Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

You know you’re coming into seafront city of Le Touquet when the tarmac takes on a pink hue. Unlike different French towns, the phrases “quaint” and “medieval” don’t have any place right here. The resort is simply too younger for cobbles and ramparts and there may be a distinct lack of museums and Cathedrals. The essential occasion is Le Touquet itself – a case of fashionable leisure over heritage.

The seaside alone can preserve a younger household busy for ages however its piece de resistance is Aqualud tropical aquatic park. Further alongside the seaside is the Thalassa thalassotherapy and spa centre. Sea-and-seaweed primarily based therapies are stated 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 seaside.

From Calais: Take the A16 within the route 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

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

It is packaged in a community of seventeenth century winding cobbled streets. These are ignored by pretty gabled and wood-beamed or red-bricked structure that fan out from its essential 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 identify. You can attempt it anyplace however particularly at an estaminet – a regional fashion restaurant – reminiscent of Estaminet T’ Rijsel on rue de Gand.

Shopping is vibrant on the open-air e-book market within the Vieille Bourse (outdated inventory trade courtyard) as are a spectacular vary of designerwear retailers and boutiques elsewhere. You will discover designers reminiscent of Hermès, Louis Vuiton and Lacoste in rue de la Grande Chaussée and smaller boutiques by particular person designers on Lille’s oldest avenue, rue de la Monnaie, named after the royal mint. Should you get there in September, you’ll see La Braderie, an annual avenue honest the place 1000’s of merchants come to store or promote and social gathering.

Incidentally, 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


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