Calais Town. The English occupied Calais from 1347 to 1558 and it became a valued bridgehead that English kings clung to as a base for trade with the Continent, and from which to send armies into Continental wars. The town was captured again by the Spanish in 1596 but returned to France under the Treaty of Vervins in 1598. Virtually the entire town was flattened in WWII. The town centre is dominated by its distinctive Hotel de Ville (town hall), built in the Flemish Renaissance style with the famous statue of the "Six Burghers of Calais" immediately in front. Take a stroll and see the Citadel's ancient walls and the Watch Tower. Then visit the Church Tower of Notre Dame now being restored to its former glory. For the lovers of History - visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle and 'Little England'. The German wartime military headquarters is now open to the public as Calais War Museum.
Calais Shopping. Calais has a huge selection of shops - three hypermarkets, half a dozen supermarkets and in the town centre a variety of independent, family-run shops, as well as two colourful Saturday markets. Many British visit Calais to stock up on cheap beer, wine and spirits at the out-of-town hypermarkets and Cite Europe shopping complex, however, an increasing number find shopping in the town a much more rewarding experience. Choose from a mouth-watering selection of chocolates, bread, cheese and charcuterie in specialist shops. You can buy designer label clothes and lingerie in chic boutiques. Pick-up bargains of china, glass, linen, luggage, and even DIY products. Once you’ve finished shopping, get a taste of the real France. Calais has an excellent choice of restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets.
Around Calais. Calais and the surrounding coast and country offer a perfect base for a short break. It offers a breathtaking coastline with mile upon mile of huge empty beaches of fine white sand with the tall cliffs of Cap Blanc Nez and Cap Grips Nez. Inland is countryside of rolling hills, small river valleys and forests. High standard modestly priced accommodation and restaurants to suit most pockets and tastes can be found throughout the area to offer a taste of the real France. Nearby villages offer great versatility. Visit too the Nazi's V2 rocket base at La Coupole just a few minutes drive from Calais. Experience Hitler's massive Dome of Destruction Visit the Transparent Man, at le Cité Europe, a remarkable, state-of-the-art multimedia tour of the human body - it's educational and fun for the whole family.
Calais Access by Car. The Port of Calais is directly connected to the European motorway network by means of two autoroutes. The A26/E15 serves the centre of France and provides access to Paris and Southern Europe. The A16/E40 feeds into the Benelux and Northern Europe motorway system, and the A16/E402 to Boulogne and Rouen
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