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Calais is one of the most northern cities in France and it is a major port for the country. It’s also an entry and exit point with its ferry services and it overlooks the Strait of Dover, which is the most narrow point of the English Channel. It is the closest town to England in France and if there’s a clear day, you can easily see the famous white cliffs of Dover. It’s also where you’ll find the Channel Tunnel that links the countries by rial. There are a number of notable landmarks to see in Calais and some amazing opportunities to explore. What will you find during your time in Calais?
Start Your Journey At the Place d’Armes
The Place d’Armes is one of the largest squares in the city and it adjoins the watchtower that was once in the very center of the city, which was built in 1229. It has been used as a marketplace, especially during the period of English occupation, and a fair is held here twice per year thanks to the decree of the king in 1558 after the city was brought back into the French fold. Wednesdays and Saturdays are busy, but incredibly exciting, in this square!
The English perpendicular church in Calais, the Eglise Notre Dame, is also unique as it is one of the only churches of its style in all of France. There are a number of influential elements that can be seen in the architecture and it was initially completed in the 13th century. The final upgrades, however, were finished in the 17th century. Of note is the Grand Altar, which was completed in 1628. It is made from marble that was recovered from a shipwreck off of the cost.
The Calais Lighthouse also provides visitors with the chance to have a unique, incredible view. It was built in 1848 and has a black lantern with a white tower, the reverse of many other European lighthouses. There are nearly 300 steps to climb to reach the automated lantern and in return, you’ll have a workout and an incredible experience.
Calais Is Also an Extensive Cultural Center
What you’ll find in Calais goes beyond just a few nice museums to fill your time up on a rainy day. The Musee de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale takes a good, comprehensive look at the last large war that redefined the European continent. The primary art museum has some stunning masterpieces on display, including some local works that show the area in its natural beauty. The Calais Theater also provides an amazing glimpse of architecture before you might catch a performance on the stage.
There are a few interesting monuments and memorials to see in Calais as well. The Burghers of Calais is one of the best and it commemorates a group of six who were executed by Edward III in 1347. The pained expressions on the bronze casting makes for a moving experience indeed. The Le Pluviose is also interesting to see, as is the Louis column.
Calais is a city that offers a unique glimpse of France for those who are coming or going. This port community has much to offer and in doing so, provides you with an interesting opportunity to explore from without and from within.
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