Are you looking for an exciting day with that je ne sais quoi?
Foot passenger tickets to France from Kent are again an option with P&O Ferries, and there are many great reasons to cross the Channel this fall.
If you are a seasoned traveler you already know the stunning beaches, hidden market towns and fabulous cuisine that are just a 90 minute ferry ride from Dover.
If not, now is the time to start exploring this amazing part of northern France.
FIRST STOP IN CALAIS
By sailing with P&O Ferries from Dover, you will soon arrive in Calais. Reaching the city couldn’t be easier. A shuttle takes pedestrians from the ferry terminal to the heart of the city, dropping them off alongside the station.
Calais has a rich historical and cultural heritage – and much of it can be easily discovered in a day.
There is so much to do, whether you love art, food, historic sites, exploring the coast, or strolling through the lush green parks.
Here are some of the highlights …
The first place to visit is the Town Hall with its 75-meter belfry which has been declared a World Heritage monument by UNESCO. Although it looks centuries old, the Town Hall was not opened until 1925, but was designed in the Neo-Renaissance style to give it a historic feel.
The Calais Lighthouse is another impressive building worth visiting. You’ll have to climb a total of 271 steps if you want to reach the top, but you’ll be rewarded with views that can stretch all the way to Dover on a clear day. The lighthouse is located in the Courgain Maritime district – historic district of Calais fishermen.
In recent years, the city has been beautified beyond recognition and now its streets are a must for shopaholics and anyone who fancies a taste of the French sweetness of life. There are large hypermarkets like Auchan and Carrefour, but also a multitude of specialized and independent stores hidden on every street corner. One of the best places in Calais for shopping is Rue Royale which is an absolute must for foodies.
As well as being home to a long sandy beach, Calais’ renovated seafront also has its own fire-breathing dragon.
Towering over the nearby beach huts, the metal dragon marauds the promenade almost every day of the year. Make sure you book online before you go.
Each trip takes approximately 30 minutes and can accommodate up to 50 passengers at a time.
Opposite the Town Hall, you will find the Parc Saint-Pierre which combines lush grass and woodlands to create an oasis of calm.
There is a children’s play area and fountain which provides a fun way to cool off during the summer months. The park is also home to a former Nazi bunker which now displays interesting artefacts and photographs from the war.
Need to relax ? Then head to Richelieu Park. In the center of Calais, a stone’s throw from the train station and the tourist office, the park is a place to escape the bustle of the city.
There is a children’s play area and a waterfall which is home to a variety of fish.
If you’ve already ticked off all of the things to do in Calais on your list, you might have time to take it a step further and explore some of the great places nearby.
Just half an hour away is Boulogne, France’s largest fishing port, which also houses a UNESCO-listed belfry.
The city is also home to Nausicaa, the largest aquarium in Europe. With 58,000 animals, Nausicaa is a must visit for anyone who loves nature and is fascinated by marine life.
Boulogne is easily accessible by train from Calais. There are 21 trains a day, most trips take around half an hour.
To learn more about the region’s heritage, head inland to Saint-Omer. The city is full of historic buildings, impressive architecture and a magnificent Gothic cathedral.
Just a 40-minute drive from Calais, Saint-Omer has winding streets full of shops and plenty of great restaurants, especially if you like fresh seafood. By train, St Omer is only 30 minutes from Calais and there are usually around 18 trains a day.
For more details and to book a crossing, visit www.poferries.com