Hop on the ferry from Dover and within an hour or two you’ll land ready for adventure in Calais. We love Calais — it’s the start of most of our trips to France and seeing it on the horizon from the channel is when we start to get excited about the holiday ahead.
Not every road trip needs to leave Calais in the rear-view mirror. It’s a great city full of interesting things to see and do, and whether we’re off on a romantic weekend away or we’ve packed the kids in the van, we always find something new there. Here are some of our favourite places to visit in Calais and nearby.
The Musée Des Beaux-Arts
Even though this quaint little museum is quite small, it’s packed with some super examples of local contemporary art. There are also some gorgeous bronze statues created by sculptor Auguste Rodin, who’s often called the godfather of modern sculpture and has a very important sculpture in the centre of Calais itself.
Take some time to walk through the museum taking in the unique pieces and see a different side to French art. There are often special exhibitions on here too, where you’ll get a chance to see artworks by new and famous artists and designers from all over the world.
The Lace Museum
As big fans of fashion, it’s no surprise that we love Calais’ lace museum. This shiny modern building has an amazing collection of original pattern books, samples and costumes. There are even some beautiful examples of lingerie and bodices through the ages to admire.
Calais lace is still favoured by top designers like Lagerfeld and Lacroix, and this museum gives you a good idea why.
After a long drive and a stint on the ferry (or channel tunnel), it feels good to stretch those legs. Let the dog and the kids out of the car on Calais beach and enjoy a good run around, or find a great restaurant for your first steak frites lunch.
This long, wide stretch of golden sand is beautiful on a sunny summer’s day for sunbathing and dip in the sea, but it’s equally charming on a blustery afternoon. It really blows the cobwebs away.
Blanc-Nez and Escalles
Take your breton shirt to its natural habitat. Travel six miles down the coast from Calais and you’ll find the beautiful white cliffs of Blanc-Nez and the wide, windswept views of Escalles.
Blanc-Nez has Second World War bunkers and a monument to the Dover Patrol which defended this part of the channel. If you’re interested in history, or you’ve got a bit of time to explore the important areas of Northern France, this is an important place to tick off your list.
Also, if you head up to the tops of the cliffs, on a clear day you’ll spot the white cliffs of Dover on the horizon.
If you’re looking for rugged beachfront beauty head to Escalles. It’s the perfect place for a walk and can be incredibly romantic, especially if you remember to pack a picnic.