If you’ve only got time for a day trip to Calais by car you can still have a very full day and make the most of your time in this lovely part of France.
Things to do in Calais
On any day of the year there’s a market taking place somewhere in and around Calais and with a car you can reach them easily. Our feature on the markets of Pas-de Calais also gives you lots of information about sites and things to do and see in the towns where they are held.
We’d highly recommend that you take a detour out of Calais to Boulogne-sur-Mer using the winding D940 Opal Coast road. It will reveal a wealth of wonderful sights from the lovely landscape to historical towns and fishing villages and the most stunning views over the Channel.
If that doesn’t whet your appetite how about lunch in a wonderful town like Boulogne, St Omer just 30 minutes from the port of Calais, or Le Touquet just 40 minutes’ drive. All of these places offer a wonderful taste of real France real close to the UK. St Omer is a charming rural town with a Flemish feel and some great restaurants and lots to do. Boulogne has 1000 shops and restaurants, castles, churches and ramparts. Le Touquet is the chic seaside resort of the north beloved by Parisians hence its other name Paris-Plage. For a bit of history and tradition why not drive past Boulogne and detour to Montreuil-sur-Mer where Victor Hugo visited in 1812 and was inspired to write Les Miserables. It’s sure to inspire you too with its walled town, cobbled streets, and charming town square surrounded by restaurants and bars and lovely boutiques. Afterwards walk off that meal with a wander round the ramparts and visit the local food shops. This town is famous for its gastronomic delights.
If you’re on your day trip at the weekend there’s no better way to immerse yourself into the lifestyle of the locals than by going to a brocante or braderie – the bric-a-brac and second hand markets take place every weekend somewhere in France. You can look up details of what’s on locally and find out more in our feature about brocantes.
Stock up on French shopping at Cité Europe just outside Calais town or go to one of the huge supermarkets such as Carrefour, Auchan or E L’Eclercs which you’ll find in all the main towns in the region. They’re great for bargain wine and booze deals plus French cuisine specialities.
For those who want to visit the battlefields and war monuments and pay their respects a tour is possible in a day and there is much to see in Nord Pas-de-Calais which neighbours with the region of Picardy with its Somme memorials.
So, a day trip to Calais by car will yield lots to see and do but a weekend in Calais would be even better! Check out our Weekend in Calais article for loads more information.