Thanks to its sea-facing position opposite its eternal and well-loved England, Boulogne-sur-Mer soon became a favourite spot.
Thanks to its sea-facing position opposite its eternal and well-loved England, Boulogne-sur-Mer soon became a favourite spot for such military strategists as Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte, who left countless traces in their wake.
This large port in the North-West France has since been turned into the number one fishing port in France. The life-giving sea is paid tribute all year round through all sorts of events. The best way to explore the fishing life is to go early in the morning (according to weather conditions) on the port and have a look at the fishermen preparing nets and fish.
Sculpted by History, Boulogne sur Mer offers visitors a rich historic heritage, earning the strong label of “Town of Art and History”. The best way to explore the town is to walk around. The very old town (Fortified town) is very famous for the architectural treasures behind his fortified walls. Come on and have a look!
The existing stronghold and ramparts were built in the 13th century. Perfectly preserved, this very fine wall can be observed by following the covered way that run from the castle to “Porte des degr�s”. The stroll offers wonderful views over both the Old town and the port (stroll closed at night).
All the streets of this old town offer to visitors great charms: losing yourself in the cobbled streets of the fortified town is like rediscovering your childhood: candy-shop, souvenirs shops… You taste pleasures as delicious as they are secret.
Discover the Convent of the Annonciades, which currently houses a library containing over 1,150 manuscripts and some special and temporary exhibition in its covered cloister.
Further on, Notre-Dame Basilica, dedicated to the Virgin of sailors, dominates the entire town thanks to its 101 meters high dome. Inside, you can admire the extraordinary altar, a masterpiece of Italian mosaic including 147 different marbles and precious stones! And under your fleet lies an 11th century Roman crypt which, with its 128 meters long, is one of the largest in France.
At the moment, this part is closed to the public. But if you want to have a look at the collections, go to the Castle-Museum where a part of the exhibition is presented.
The Castle-Museum, now listed as a historical monument, was built by the Counts of Boulogne. Let’s have a look at the “Salle de la Barbi�re”, the guards room as well as the Chapel, all in its Gallo-Roman basement. The circuit will take you on a journey through time and space… Set off in search of Antiques cultures, in the footsteps of Mariette Pacha, the Boulogne-born Egyptologist, as well as the largest collection of Greek ceramics in the provinces. You will also be fascinated by the art of the Oceanian and African cultures through work brought back from exploration trips, not to mention the collection of Alaska masks – unique in Europe. Closed on Tuesday!
Do not forget to visit the Belfry – located at the city Hall. A familiar sight in Northern towns, this 12th Century belfry is the oldest building in Boulogne sur Mer. This old romanesque keep, 47 metres high, is all that remains from the first residence of Count Philippe Hurepel. He sold it to the Town’s wealthy classes when the castle, built at the eastern corner of the ramparts, was completed. The beneficiaries turned into the Belfry, a symbol of the town’s communal liberties.
26th – 27th April: “The Amazing History of Boulogne sur Mer” : show at the cathedral
28th – 29th April: Fortified Town Euroregional days – many places to discover.
Boulogne sur Mer and the Boulonnais region
1, boulevard du bassin Napol�on
62321 Boulogne sur Mer cedex
+33 321 10 36 07