- Boulogne-sur-Mer (upper town) 13 – 15 December 2019
Although there is no direct ferry crossing to Boulogne any longer – it is an easy drive (30 mins) from Calais ferry or Eurotunnel terminals. In many ways Boulogne feels more authentically French than its competitive and busy neighbour. Boulogne is especially well-known for some excellent food (cheese, fish) shops.
For more info on the Boulogne Christmas Market see www.visitboulogne.com
Stay in a B&B right in the heart of the old upper town: B&B Les Terrasses de l’Enclos – Enclos de l’évêché only 300 yards from the Château de Boulogne-sur-Mer, in a 19th-century building in the heart of the old town
Boulogne-sur-Mer is the largest fishing port in France and so the emphasis, as you would expect, is very much on seafood and all things connected with the sea. Apart from the stalls along the edge of the port, there is also Capécure, the commercial port where the fish is auctioned, frozen, salted, smoked and generally processed. The Chamber of Commerce organises guided tours for groups and it is fascinating to visit – and you can also buy fish to take home. Boulogne with its cobbled square and vibrant market, its superb seafood restaurants and bistros has always had great appeal. The “Centre Ville’ of Boulogne is a bustling mixture of shops, restaurants and cafés, bisected by pedestrian streets and with the cobbled square surveyed by the ancient Church of St Nicolas, protector of sailors, the oldest church in Boulogne. Parts of the choir date from the 13th century whilst the façade was restored in the 18th Century. The market takes place in Place Dalton, just in front of the church,on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and is full of colourful local produce.At the top of the town, lies the ‘old town’, the administrative and religious centre of the town, dominated by the belfry and dome of the Cathedral. The Rue de Lille leads up from the square where the Town Hall stands and is lined with a variety of shops and plentiful restaurants where you can revive yourself before visiting the historic sites. In the crypt of the Cathedral, you can still see the stone cannon balls employed by Henry VIII when he besieged and captured Boulogne at one stage. Vast ramparts built at the beginning of the 13th century on the foundations off the Gallo-Roman walls, with four gateways, surround this part of town. From the walkways there is an amazing view of the old port and the main town. In a corner is the 13th century Château, with its moats filled with water and waterlillies, modified in the 16th and 18th centuries. Boulogne also has a Natural History Museum. At the City Library in the Annunciates, you can visit the gardens and cloisters whilst the Maison de La Beurière chronicles the life of fishermen in the olden days. There is even a Casino, a bowling alley and two golf courses nearby. Overall, Boulogne has much to offer, whether for a day trip, a weekend break or perhaps a longer stay to soak up the many pleasures to entrance you in this charming seaside port. www.informationfrance.com