Calais (Dutch: Kales) is a city in the Hauts-de-France region of France.
By ferry (car and foot)Calais is connected to Dover in England by ferry services operated by P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways. Ferry crossings between Calais and Dover take typically around 1 hour 30 mins and there are up to 46 sailings daily. The check-in time is 30 minutes before departure for vehicles and 45 minutes before departure for foot passengers.
Free car parking facilities are available in front of the Calais ferry terminal and the maximum stay is three days.
Another popular ferry route is Dover to Dunkirk (near Calais) which is operated by DFDS Seaways and takes around 2 hours.
Passengers travelling by ferry from Dover to Calais/Dunkirk go through French passport/identity card checks in the UK before embarkation, rather than on arrival in France. Passengers travelling in the other direction from Calais/Dunkirk to Dover by ferry go through French exit checks and UK passport/identity card checks in Calais/Dunkirk before embarkation, and UK customs checks on arrival in the UK.
Fares for the Dover-Calais ferry start from £25 (day return) and £39 (single) for a car with up to 9 passengers.
Eurotunnel Le ShuttleRunning from Folkestone to the western edge of Calais (Coquelles), this car shuttle service operated by Eurotunnel takes about 35 min (although only about 20 min in the tunnel) and offers the fastest way to travel between France and the UK. This train service is for passengers with cars only, who remain with their car for the duration of the short trip, as there are no restaurants (except a fast food restaurant) but there are toilets.
Passengers travelling from Folkestone to Calais go through French passport/identity card checks in the UK before boarding the train, rather than on arrival in France. Those travelling in the other direction from Calais to the UK by Eurotunnel go through UK passport/identity card and customs checks in Coquelles before boarding the train, rather than on arrival in the UK.
RoadsThe port in Calais is directly linked to the French motorway system. The A26/E15, Autoroute des Anglais, which provides access to the heart of France including Paris and beyond and the A16/E40, a gateway to Benelux and the northern European motorway systems. The A16/E402 directs you to western France.
Calais-Ville railway station
EurostarEurostar operates high-speed trains between Calais Fréthun station and the following destinations in the United Kingdom and Belgium:
- London St Pancras International station (1h 2 min; 3 daily from London; 2-3 daily to London)
- Ebbsfleet International station (44 min; 2 daily from Ebbsfleet; 1-2 daily to Ebbsfleet)
- Ashford International station (35 min; 1 daily from Ashford)
- Brussels Zuid-Midi station (1h 2 min; 2-3 daily from Brussels; 3 daily to Brussels)
Note that Calais Fréthun station is some distance from Calais city centre, but there are a number of trains operating between Calais Fréthun and Calais Ville (in the city centre), as well as shuttle buses and taxis.
The Eurostar timetable is available from their website.
Passengers travelling by Eurostar from the UK to Calais go through French passport/identity card checks in the UK before boarding the train, rather than on arrival in France. Passengers travelling in the other direction from Calais to the UK by Eurostar go through French exit checks, followed by UK passport/identity card checks in Calais Fréthun station before boarding the train, and UK customs checks on arrival in the UK.
Those travelling by Eurostar between Brussels and Calais are within the Schengen Area.
Although the Brussels Midi-Calais Fréthun route can't be purchased through the Eurostar website, it is available on the Belgian Railways website.
Eurostar fares start from £66 return (under 26) and £69 return (adults) from the UK to Calais .
SNCFRunning from Lille, Boulogne, Dunkirk and Paris, Calais is well supported by the French national rail network. Calais Ville is the station serving the city centre, whilst Calais Fréthun is located on the outskirts of Calais. There are trains that operate between Calais Ville and Calais Fréthun stations.
Aéroport de Calais-DunkerqueJust across the narrowest part of the English Channel and near France's western border, with customs available on request, it's a convenient stopping point for light aircraft. Lille is probably the nearest large airport.
Most people travel by car around the town, but there is a comprehensive network of buses running from the town centre to the suburbs and Cité Europe. The port is served by a special shuttle bus although via a footbridge the centre, and the harbour terminal are only 15 min apart.
Bus 5 is useful for reaching the large Auchan and Carrefour hypermarkets and the Cite Europe shopping mall and the 6 goes to Calais Frethun Eurostar station. Services run every 30 min during the day and costs about €1 (board through the front door and pay the driver) and all buses terminate outside the Gare D'Ville.
Les Bourgeois de Calaisaddress: Place du Soldat InconnuRodin's sculpture
Hôtel de Villeaddress: Place du Soldat InconnuGet in, and go upstairs through the majestic staircase to the first floor and the wedding room, the ballroom, and the "parliament" room. Self visit (signs to read) or guided tour by Opale Tour. It is possible to access the belfry via a lift.
Light TowerVisit and climb up to the light. Wonderful view. Little museum.
phone: +33 3 21 00 42 30An old factory refurbished into a "living" museum about the story of lace, and especially the lace made in Calais on levers. You can see two machines working for real. Restaurant, bar and lace shop. Really worthwhile. Allow at least 2 hours.
Modern Art museumaddress: 25 rue RichelieuPermanent and temporary exhibitions. Sculpture, paintings.
War museumaddress: Parc Saint Pierre
Theateraddress: Place Albert IerGuided tours by Opale Tour.
Notre Dame ChurchRestorations are ongoing and the church is frequently closed, but in any case, you can still see the exterior. In 2017, the church was open for visits in July and August.
Courgain Maritime and fish marketA former fishermen's quarter outside the walls of the city. Rebuilt after the war, but a nice place to buy fresh fish and have a drink.
The beach and the jettyTo have a look on the ferries plying the route between France and Britain.
The White Cliffs of DoverVisible in the distance.
Citadelle and Fort NieulayRenaissance fort with guided tours.
phone: +33 660846363address: 294 grande rue du petit courghainExhibition
Mondiavisionaddress: rue du VauxhallPhoto gallery.
Swimming pooladdress: Piscine Ranson or ICEO complex
Char à voilebase des Hemmes de Marck
Sailing schooladdress: Base de voile, Blériot-Plage
Cinemasaddress: Alhambra(beside Town Hall, VOSTF films !) or Gaumont Multiplex (Cité Europe)
Bowling AlleyBowling de Calais, avecnue de St6exupéry or Bowling quai 121, (Cité Europe)
- Visit the Coast up to "Cap Blanc Nez" (White Nose Cap), Unesco Classified site. If you have no car, you can take the bus (double-decker) at the theater or the station for 1 € there along the see road. Really cool.
- Alcohol- since France has slightly lower taxes on alcohol than the UK various establishments have set up to cater for day trippers, although often it is a little cheaper to go to a local hypermarket (and you can pick up other stuff). The main hypermarkets are Auchan and Carrefour, the latter within the Cité Europe shopping centre and can both be reached on bus 5. In the town centre, there is a smaller Carrefour located at the back of the Quatre Boulevards shopping centre (near the Opéra).
address: 1001 Boulevard du KentLarge shopping centre containing 147 shops, 20 restaurants, and a cinema.Note that the shops are closed on Sundays and none of them sells tobacco.
Place Crevecœur Market
Place d'Armes Market
- Lace : three places worth a visit:
phone: +33 3 21 46 78 04address: 85 rue de Vicfactory-turned-designer shop.
Les dessous de Calaisphone: +33 3 21 97 59 16address: Boulevard Lafayetteoutlet design shop for lingery and clothes with great discounts!
phone: +33 321 34 69 44address: 3 Rue André GerschellFor people who are really hungry, best quantity/quality value. Worth a visit for Christiane
La Guinguettephone: +33 321 36 96 95address: 17 rue Félix CadrasHome Food, family atmosphere, best quantity/quality value. Open 7/7.
L'Ambrosiaphone: +33 321 36 09 89address: 14 Rue de la MerWok specialist but not Asiatic with good value and price.
phone: +33 321 34 59 73address: 11 Place du Maréchal FochBar and brasserie - The largest choice of "welsh" dishes (speciality from Calais/Boulogne) - Open late - Big terrace.
Chocolat'Théphone: +33 321 34 34 85address: 53 rue Royalegreat home made food and excellent place for a Tea/coffee break in the afternoon
Friterie des Nationsaddress: Digue Gaston BertheSome chips in front of the sea
Friterie Wilsonaddress: Avenue Wilson, Parc Saint-Pierremay be the best chips in town
New Wayphone: +33 321 85 02 13address: 3 rue Babinetresh Sandwiches, Soups, Pastas and salads you can create by your own
phone: +33 3 21 34 50 14address: 5 Place d'ArmesGreat omelettes
La Mauvaise Herbeaddress: Rue Royale
L'Arsenicaddress: Rue Royale
Le bar du Yacht Clubaddress: Bassin Ouestnice 1980s music... particular atmosphere
Le n'importe koiaddress: Rue de la merconcert every Sunday afternoon. You can borrow free games to play inside.
La Suiteaddress: Rue Jean Quéhennight bar : to carry on after Baba ou Mauvaise herbe
Discothèque 555address: 63 rue Royaleold but famous disco ...
La Nauviaaddress: 16 Rue Jean Quéhendisco
Le Templeaddress: Sortie Calais ST Pierrebest disco
address: 59 rue Royaleslot machines, blackjack
phone: +33 321 467710address: 173 Boulevard GambettaFormer slaughter house, refurbished in a huge cultural centre with various rooms, café, resto, bookstore. This is a really great place.
phone: +33 321 34 70 20address: Avenue du Maréchal DeLattre de TassignyYouth hostel, but no age limit with private room. really close to the beach. Nice place
phone: +33 321 34 71 52address: 44 rue du Vauxhallfamily owned ... Guide du routard recommended
phone: +33 3 21 34 69 69address: 6 Boulevard des AlliésThe car parking is an experience, for good drivers.
Greecephone: +33 321-972700address: 12, Boulevard des Alliés, BP 450
To hitch-hike to Belgium or the Netherlands, if you leave the terminal, you must walk 500 m through a large car park, after which you will see roundabout and an on-ramp to the motorway. That is the place to hitch a ride: there is enough space even for a big lorry.
For a more 'traditional' experience of France, Saint-Omer is a mere 26 miles (43 kilometres) down the road from Calais. The Saturday morning market on the main square, the Place Foch, can be enjoyable. There are also good affordable restaurants and friendly bars, as well as interesting architecture.
- Ardres — for the old city and its lakes
- Guines — with its marshes, forest and old tower
- Wissant — with the Le site des 2 Caps on the seaside
- Oye Plage — with the natural reserve of Le Platier d'Oye