"Calais" Nord-Pas-de-Calais by smschley

Nord-Pas-de-Calais Travel Guide: 1,179 reviews and 3,213 photos

The Ferry from Dover to Calais has for the past few decades been called the “Booze Cruise”. As the closest landing point in France, Calais has long been the port of passage across the Channel to England. UK travelers have been aware that there are great wine and beer bargains to be found across the water in France. Calais is so close to the south coast ports of Dover that day trips to stock up on goods can be very easy and can save a lot of money. While this has been it’s main draw, in Calais you can also enjoy traditional French restaurants, and despite the town having been flattened in two 20th century wars, you can also find a lot of surviving glimpses into its past.

The English liked the place so much that from 1347 to 1558 they occupied Calais after complaints from English merchants that the old port was a "den of pirates" raiding their ships.

Before WWII, Calais was a typical medieval walled town. The town walls were surrounded by canals that formed a moat which you can still see today. The Place d'Armes was the main square in the centre - the 13th century watchtower still stands in one corner, from which the lookout would search the horizon for approaching enemies.

Calais is also one of the world's busiest passenger and vehicle ferry ports. Calais is one of the world's busiest passenger and vehicle ferry ports. Today's giant car ferries are too big to come into the inner harbor, so new berths were constructed in the fifties, in land reclaimed from the sea and the sand dunes.

  • Last visit to Nord-Pas-de-Calais: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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