Boulogne-sur-Mer – Opal Coast

Boulogne-sur-Mer, Cité de la Mer, city of art and history

Situated only a short distance from the Channel Tunnel on the ‘Côte d’Opale’, you will find Boulogne-sur-Mer with 2,000 years of history…. A rich history marked by the presence of Romans, English and Napoleon… visit the XIIth century belfry, the ramparts of the XIIIth century Château-Museum, the imposing Cathedral and a medieval Crypt … to mention a few…for those who enjoy more modern pursuits take a look at the colourful markets and shops or tempt your tastebuds with fresh fish specialities in one of the many restaurants, the port is situated close to the heart of the town where the colourful fishing boats can be seen bringing in their daily catch…. don’t miss the Nausicaa National Sea Centre close to the beach…. yes there is plenty to keep everyone happy here!

Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department of Pas-de-Calais. The name Boulogne was first recorded during the Roman Empire as Bononia, possibly a derivative of the root found in the Germanic word bona meaning “plank floor”, related to “Bühne”, German for theater stage and also found in Vindobona, the Roman name for Vienna. A “bona” was probably a granary. This derivation is also found in the name of the Italian city of Bologna. This city was founded by the celtic Boii. “Sur mer” is French meaning “on the sea”. Originally named Gesoriacum and probably also to be identified with Portus Itius, by the 4th century Boulogne was known to the Romans as Bononia and served as the major port connecting the rest of the empire to Britain. The emperor Claudius used this town as his base for the Roman invasion of Britain, in AD 43, and until 296 it was the base of the Classis Britannica. Zosimus called the city “germanorum”, Germanic speaking, at the end of the 4th century. The city was an important town of the Morini.

Main Sights

  • Belfry (11th century), part of the UNESCO Heritage Sites List.
  • Medieval castle, whose foundations date to Roman times. It houses an Egyptian art collection
  • Gothic church of St. Nicholas, housing several 15th century statues
  • Cathedral basilica of Notre-Dame, with a dome standing at over 100 m. The crypt is one of the largest in France, and has Roman, Romanesque and Gothic elements.
  • Opened in 1991, Nausicaä – The French National Sea Centre is a science centre entirely dedicated to the relationship between mankind and the sea. It houses Aquaria, exhibitions on the marine fauna, and the exploitation and management of marine resources (fisheries, aquaculture, coastal planning, maritime transport, exploitation of energies and mineral, tourism).
  • The Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, created during the Great War

Images of Boulogne-sur-Mer

See more photos of Boulogne on our Flickr page ‘Here’

Christmas in Boulogne-Sur-Mer

This annual event is held within the Old Town Walls and is considered to be one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in the Pas-de-Calais region. With the cobbled streets of the Old Town and its picturesque charm, it all adds to the festive spirit of the Christmas season. Bologne’s Christmas Market features stalls displaying a wide variety of goods, there are arts and crafts, Christmas gifts, regional delicacies and local specialities such as smoked herring and Craquelin pastries.

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