Top 27 Things To Do In Calais, France

things to do in calais france
Pala
Pala 
Updated

Set conveniently from both England and Belgium, Calais is nestled in between the countryside and sea. It is an age-old port and enjoys a strategic physical link with England since 1994 since the underwater tunnel of the Channel opened. With so many daily crossings between Calais and Great Britain, the city is a preferred holiday destination for the people of Great Britain. It is famous for its lace and that can be seen and felt in its designers’ exquisite designs. The beach stretches for around 5 km (3.10 mi) and it is a popular site for the visitors to hand out. Its Town Hall is an architectural gem and looks stunning with a mix of Flemish and Neo-Rennaissance styles. To make your life easy, we have recommended the top 10 things to do in Calais, France, below.

1. Admire the Renaissance revival style of Calais Town Hall


The Town Hall in Calais, located in the Belgian and French border, and is a UNESCO site. While it appears historic from far off, the building is relatively new as it dates back from the 20th-century. Featuring a stunning renaissance revival style, it houses the Port of Calais’ working models. Many people agree that the chimes of the belfry are considered among the finest in France. It is undoubtedly one of the finest landmarks of this port city.

Town Hall

Address: Place du Soldat Inconnu, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Town Hall

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 12pm, 1.30pm - 5.30pm; Sat: 10am - 12pm (closed on Sun)

2. Admire classic and contemporary art at Musée des Beaux Arts de Calais


The main art museum of Calais is set in Parc Richelieu and houses some great exhibits in a spacious interior. The museum has an enviable collection of Flemish, Dutch, and French art from different eras, including Eugène Boudin, who is regarded as one of the most prominent French painters, and Gerrit van Honthorst from the Dutch Golden Age among others. You will find that the museum has a room that showcases figures in bronze, plaster, and terracotta.

Musée des Beaux Arts de Calais

Address: 25 Rue Richelieu, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Musée des Beaux Arts de Calais

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 1pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

3. Stand in front of the original display of Burghers of Calais

things to do in calais france | stand in front of the original display of burghers of calais

Burghers of Calais is situated right in front of the city’s Town Hall and it is one of Auguste Rodin’s finest works. Unveiled way back in 1895, the artwork was specially made to pay homage to the sacrifices made by six leaders of Calais to save the lives of the rest of the townspeople. These sculptures depict their walks when they surrendered themselves and are the original ones among many other Burghers of Calais casts.

Burghers of Calais

Address: Place du Soldat Inconnu, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Burghers of Calais

4. Explore the historic fishing district of Courgain Maritime

things to do in calais france | explore the historic fishing district of courgain maritime
Source: mrsaureliea on Instagram

Both the Lighthouse and the Art Museum are set in this historic fishing district of Calais. However, the place does not have any significant remnants of medieval architecture left as there has been massive destruction during the past wars. Yet, there are various exciting traces for informed visitors. One of them is an ancient watchtower called the Tour du Guet, which was constructed in the 13th century and served as the lighthouse of the city until the present one was erected. The area was inhabited by the sailors and was reconstructed after the war.

Courgain Maritime

Address: Boulevard des Alliés, 62100 Calais

Website: Courgain Maritime

5. Check out the lace fashion at La Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode


A famous museum of lace, Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode is one of those two French museums that is dedicated to celebrating lace-making through machines. It should feature on your itinerary while vacationing in the city in case you are keen to know all about this famous local industry. The lace industry has contributed a lot to the city’s economy. This beautiful craft has become synonymous with French luxury.

La Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode

Address: 135 Quai du Commerce, 62100 Calais, France

Website: La Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

6. Visit to Richelieu Park

Editor’s note: There’s no photo available at the time of writing

A tiny quaint park located centrally in Calais, Richelieu Park features some stunning artwork and commemorative sculptures. This tranquil and well-maintained park is situated near the city’s Museum of Fine Arts. Featuring an oriental-style pond, it is a peaceful and relaxed site in the center of the city. Surrounded by several shops and cafes, the park has a statue of De Gaulle and Churchill, serving as a reminder of the past.

Richelieu Park

Address: France, 185 Rue Richelieu, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Richelieu Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

7. Take a tour of Musée de la Guerre de Calais

Fromelles museum
Source: Photo by user ThruTheseLines used under CC BY 2.0

Once a bunker, the moment you enter the museum, you will realize how the structure remained intact despite the severe bomb attacks during the war. The structure is completely concealed by the foliage of the park during summer. The museum was a communication hub for northwest France and it boasts 21 galleries with newspaper cuttings, uniforms, photographs, and other exhibits. Also, you can avail of an audio-guide for ease of touring this museum, that lasts for 90 minutes.

Musée de la Guerre de Calais

Address: Parc Saint Pierre, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Musée de la Guerre de Calais

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

8. Relax and unwind at Calais Beach


If you are in Calais on a hot and sunny day, it would be a great idea to head to the beach. The soft golden sand looks extremely inviting so that you can relax here for hours. The sandy beach offers an uninterrupted and all-embracing view of the famous English Channel. You can also indulge in a host of recreation and sports opportunities available on the beach, including watersports, cycling, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, yachting, and more. If you wish to spend a relaxed time during your vacation, the beach is an excellent site to take a stroll or sunbathe for hours. The waterfront is dotted with an array of restaurants to tickle your tastebuds. It is one of the most well-maintained beaches in northern France.

Calais Beach

Address:123 Digue Gaston Berthe, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Calais Beach

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

9. Climb up Calais Lighthouse


One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, the construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1848. It somehow remained intact even when most of the structures in the city were destroyed or got damaged during World War II. Make sure you climb to the top from where you will catch stunning views of the White Cliffs of Dover when the day is clear. Altogether, you have to climb 271 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse. There is a tiny museum nearby, which you can also explore while visiting the lighthouse.

Calais Lighthouse

Address: Place Henri Barbusse, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Calais Lighthouse

Opening hours: 10am - 12pm, 2pm - 5pm (daily)

10. Attend a memorial service at Église Notre-Dame de Calais

things to do in calais france | attend a memorial service at église notre-dame de calais
Source: dalila.romao on Instagram

Eglise Notre Dame is a beautiful 600-year-old church and it symbolizes the glory of the city of Calais. A highly impressive monument in the city, its interiors feature statues of St Louis, Charlemagne, and Angels among others. It has a distinctive Tudor-style architecture and it is the sole English-styled house of prayer in France. To put it plainly, the church depicts a fusion of English and Flemish architectural styles and it is the oldest church in the city. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War but it has undergone renovations recently. The church is open for visitors at present. Attending a memorial service would be a blissful experience for you.

Église Notre-Dame de Calais

Address: 17 Rue Notre Dame, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Église Notre-Dame de Calais

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

11. Visit Tour du Guet


A masonry tower, watchtower, and a lighthouse, Tour de Guet is set in the city of Calais and it is one of the recommended sites to visit when you are vacationing here. It is the city’s most ancient monument and it was designed to serve as a lookout and featured a revolving lantern that had a couple of oil lamps. You have to climb 271 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse and see the lantern from close quarters. While climbing so high can be somewhat tiring, the stunning view of the town, as well as the English Channel, is an opportunity of a lifetime. When the sky is clear and if you are lucky enough, you can also catch the vistas of the White Cliffs of Dover that is around 41.84 km (26 mi) away. While most of the city got destroyed when the Second World War ended, the tower remained unscathed even after the two world wars.

Tour du Guet

Address: Place d'Armes, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Tour du Guet

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

12. Learn about history of Calais at Colonne Louis XVIII


Get completely mesmerized as you visit this historical landmark in the city of Calais. The magnificent stone column was constructed as a memorial for Emperor Louis XVIII when he returned to France in 1814 post the fall of the empire. The column features a bronze casting of the Emperor’s footprints, as well as a plaque with some texts in his remembrance. It was originally set on the dock but was later installed in front of Calais’ Chamber of Commerce.

Colonne Louis XVIII

Address: Quai de la Colonne Louis XVIII, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Colonne Louis XVIII

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

13. Have a look inside Fort Nieulay


Fort Nieulay is an excellent option in the city of Calais if you are interested in exploring historical sites. Calais was connected to the west by the Nieulay Bridge. A tiny fort protected the bridge because its design was such that that the land in front of the city could be flooded if there was an enemy attack. While it was thought to be impossible for the outsiders to enter Calais, the French troops, first followed by the Spanish troops in the 16th century, overcame the obstacles and sieged the city. The fort was modified by the Spanish to make it stronger than ever before so that it became less vulnerable against enemy attacks. At present, the ruins of the fort have been made part of a lovely park.

Fort Nieulay

Address: Avenue Roger Salengro, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Fort Nieulay

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 2pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

14. Try your luck at Casino De Calais


Located strategically in Calais’ city center, Casino de Calais is only a stone’s throw from the beach. It is set in between the entry to the Channel Tunnel and the ferry terminal. Its gaming space has as many as 80 gaming machines, and 11 poker and table games. The casino also offers video poker machines. The casino also boasts an on-site restaurant offering a variety of delicacies and a well-stocked bar. So, if you are looking for some excitement and fun in the city, it is the perfect spot to be in.

Casino De Calais

Address: 59 Rue Royale, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Casino De Calais

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 2am; Fri - Sat: 10am - 3pm

15. Stroll in the streets at Place d'Armes


Once a thriving hub of Medieval Calais, Place D'Armes was dotted with beautiful buildings. However, most of these buildings were destroyed during the Second World War except for a building called Le Tour de Guet, the Watch Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. At present, there is a bi-weekly street market in the area every Wednesday and Saturday. The place got a makeover recently and it is a great place if you feel like munching something. It is surrounded by brasseries, stores, and cafes and is a delightful place for tourists. Calais Harbor is only a short walk from here and it has a string of eateries. It’s a great place to enjoy a stroll.

Place d'Armes

Address: 62100 Calais, France

Website: Place d'Armes

16. Enter the bunker at the railway gun shelter

things to do in calais france | enter the bunker at the railway gun shelter
Source: erikli2012 on Instagram

For tourists who are keen on the Second World War, Calais has plenty to offer. The city enjoys a unique geographical location in northern France, as the distance from here to England is short. The Germans took advantage of this and constructed an array of strategic railway gun batteries. Many fixed firing locations were interlinked with railway tracks. A track even served the purpose of bringing guns from one unit to another. Make sure you visit these intriguing bunkers during your stay in Calais.

Railway Gun shelter

Address: 62100 Calais, France

Website: Railway Gun shelter

17. Take a photo with the statues of De Gaulle and Churchill

take a photo with the statues of de gaulle and churchill

If you are a history buff, you simply cannot afford to miss being close to the statues of Churchill and De Gaulle in Calais. Set in a beautifully maintained park called Richelieu Park, the statues are also a grim reminder of the history of this French city that had a crucial role to play in the Second World War. The park also features other attractions apart from these two commemorative sculptures. These include a bridge, a small fountain, a lake, and a playground for the kids.

Statue of de Gaulle and Churchill

Address: Richelieu Park, 185 Rue Richelieu, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Statue of de Gaulle and Churchill

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

18. Watch a live performance at Le Theatre de Calais

Calais theatre
Source: Photo by user Bodoklecksel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Many believe that plays were performed in front of the city’s Notre Dame Church from the 16th century i.e. after Calais was free from the English occupation. However, it was towards the end of the 19th century when the idea of a new municipal theater was conceptualized, leading to the birth of this gorgeous theater. The building was, by and large, intact, even after World War II, although its facades got damaged. This stunning building enjoys a central location in the city. Its interior is superbly done and there is a statue of Jacquard right in front. If you wish to spend a quiet evening while watching a play or a musical performance, then this is an ideal spot for you.

Le Theatre de Calais

Address: Place Albert 1er, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Le Theatre de Calais

19. Take your kids to Royal Kids Devient Kids Company


Welcome to Kids Company, an amusement park for your little ones, found in Calais, France. It features an indoor playground that is suitable for kids who are up to 12 years old. The park is completely safe for your children and it is air-conditioned during the summer season and heated in the winters to keep its tiny guests comfortable. Kids can indulge in several giant games, which have been tweaked according to their age. They can play under their parents’ supervision. It is also a perfect venue to celebrate your kid’s birthday in style.

Royal Kids Devient Kids Company

Address: 93 Rue de Verdun, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Royal Kids devient Kids Company

Opening hours: Fri: 3pm - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 7pm (closed from Mon - Thu)

20. Try authentic French cuisine at Le Grand Bleu

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Restaurant Le Grand Bleu on Monday, April 16, 2018

If you are looking for a great air-conditioned restaurant with some amazing European and French cuisines, private dining space, and excellent service, you have come to the right place. Mathieu Colin, the chef, has used his years of experience in this eatery, which now has a completely renovated interior and pays tribute to the fishing scene of the locality. It exudes a warm and friendly ambiance and is an ideal place to enjoy your meal at leisure with your loved ones.

Le Grand Bleu

Address: 8 Rue Jean Pierre Avron - Quai de la Colonne, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Le Grand Bleu

Opening hours: Tue & Sun: 12pm - 2pm; Thu - Sat & Mon: 12pm - 2pm, 7pm - 9.30pm (closed on Wed)

21. Have a few drinks at Pop Rock Bar Calais


This classy bar offers you the perfect opportunity to enjoy a few leisurely drinks with your friends and spend a nice time together. The staff is friendly and welcoming and though the bar is busy, you will not have to wait for a long time to get your drinks. The interior is flashy and very bright, making you feel relaxed. One of the trendiest bars in the city, it is open on all seven days of the week. Pop Rock Bar Calais offers a wide range of beers to choose from, several traditional rums, a rum cellar, and a whiskey. The added perk is that there is a live concert on every month’s second weekend.

Pop Rock Bar Calais

Address: 59 Place d'Armes, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Pop Rock Bar Calais

Opening hours: Sun - Tue: 3pm - 2am; Wed - Sat: 3pm - 3am

22. Put on your dancing shoes at Discothèque 555

Dj
Source: Pxhere

If you are looking for a cool funky night club in the city of Calais and you’re simply passionate about dancing, you should hit Discothèque 555 with a group of your close friends. Unwind completely as you put on your dancing shoes and sway to the foot-tapping music played by the DJ. There will be hardly a dull moment for you when you are in this hip nightclub with your dear ones. So, make sure that the nightclub features on your travel itinerary.

Discothèque 555

Address: 63 Rue Royale, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Discothèque 555

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

23. Relax and rejuvenate at Bamboo Spa


Enjoy a much-needed break at the Bamboo Spa, a unique well-being center in the city that takes complete care of your face, body, and mind. Located centrally in historic North Calais, it has a refined decor and the perfect ambiance for deep relaxation. The spa offers a variety of relaxing and aesthetics treatment. You can be at complete peace with your mind and body after the massages and treatments offered here. Come here with your friends, co-workers, and family members and escape the tension and stress.

Bamboo Spa

Address: 61 Rue Royale, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Bamboo Spa

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 7pm; Sat: 9am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

24. Go shopping at Carrefour Calais Mi Voix

Posted by Carrefour Calais Mivoix on Thursday, 16 March 2017

In case you are a shopaholic and you’re wondering where to go for shopping while visiting the city of Calais, the shopping center is the perfect place to be in. Situated in close proximity to Carrefour Hypermarket, it features a bustling shopping mall with shops like La Générale Optics, Bouygues, Optic 2000, Fabio Lucci, Mim among others. You can easily spend a few hours here either doing window shopping or just shop till you drop.

Carrefour Calais Mi Voix

Address: Avenue Georges Guynemer, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Carrefour Calais Mi Voix

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 8.30pm; Sun: 8.30am - 12.30pm

25. Knock down some pins at In bowling Calais


Looking for some hours of pure fun and excitement without breaking the bank? Look no further as In Bowling Calais is the perfect destination for you. Practice your target with your entire family as there is an array of attractive family packages available. There is also an on-site pizzeria that facilitates eating right on the spot and also offers delivery or takeaway facilities. Enjoy some relaxed hours and go back to your hotel feeling fully rejuvenated.

In bowling Calais

Address: 1 avenue Saint-Exupéry, 62100 CALAIS

Website: In bowling Calais

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 2pm - 1am; Sat: 2pm - 2am; Sun: 3pm - 11pm (closed on Mon)

26. Watch a movie at Alhambra

watch a movie at alhambra
Source: roodnatjoyce on Instagram

Situated right opposite the stunning Town Hall in the city of Calais and erected on the earlier Alhambra’s site, Alhambra Cinema is the perfect spot to be in if you are looking for some unadulterated fun and excitement in the city. The cinema was set up in the 1950s and it had a single screen then. However, the cinema now features four screens.

Alhambra

Address: 2 Rue Jean Jaurès, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Alhambra

27. Explore La Citadelle de Calais

Citadelle de Calais en 2013 33
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lionel Allorge used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A fortification erected by the Lord of Boulogne, Philippe Le Hurperel in 1929, the CItadel served to protect the residents of the city from enemy attacks. The fortress was the residence of Philippe Le Huperal initially but later on, served English Kings like King Edward II until Calais was liberated. The King of France renovated the structure after the city became a part of France and transformed it into a lavish and stunning fortress.

Citadelle de Calais

Address:Avenue Pierre de Coubertin, 62100 Calais, France

Website: Citadelle de Calais

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Enjoy a captivating vacation in Calais

Calais Town Hall
Source: Photo by user Va.sc. used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Calais has been a major port for several centuries now and it served as a gateway to Great Britain. While many tourists flock to Paris for a vacation, Calais is known for its intriguing attractions. There are a lot of exciting places to visit while you are here. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the lace mills and its history in the city or simply relax by the beach. Check out these best things to do in Calais, France, and enjoy a great vacation.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Pala Sen is an avid follower of travel and health updates, current affairs and entertainment news from all across the world and writing is a passion for her. She had been previously associated...Read more

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