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Travel Guide to See in Calais France

Unlike Dover, its counterpart on the other side of the English Channel, Calais is booming. It has a new attraction in the form of a giant dragon walking along the coast, whose buses and boats are now free for everyone.

It is an excellent weekend destination, perfect for stocking up on plonk and cheese and dining in its excellent Restaurants. It is also easy to forget that it is a long and wide sandy beach that extends to the cliffs of Cap Blanc Nez, offering a completely safe swimming for children and matures.

Calais Dragon

Dragons are certainly well known in the northern region of France and the traditional processions and parades of effigies of giants and dragons are now inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. A more recent attraction, the Dragon of Calais, is a colossal construction in steel and carved wood designed by François Delaroziere. He takes 48 passengers on a 45-minute journey as he climbs on the Balloon, perched above parked cars and pedestrians, and the fog escapes from his body through thirty vents.

You go up by an integrated staircase at the back and take a seat on the upper deck. From this Position you will have a magnificent view of the sea and the beach while moving at a speed of 4 km / h. But the best part is the sight of unsuspecting pedestrians jumping out of the way as he moves his eyelids, ears, mouth and tongue, spitting fire and water. Of course, everything is done by teamwork and a crew of six people is needed to control the dragon. Other technicians engage while the dragon docks in a huge shelter at the end of the Promenade

Calais town hall

A Dragon weather vane is perched on the bell tower of the Calais Town Hall and dominates the city. The building commemorates the merger of the two cities of Calais and Saint Pierre in 1885, but work did not begin until 1911. Louis Debrouwer was one of the first architects to use reinforced concrete and therefore survived the First World Debate more or less unscathed. However, due to redevelopment works, it was opened only in 1925, and in 1940 there were other damages.

Inside, a large staircase leads to the first floor, decorated with magnificent stained glass windows. They tell the story of the liberation of Calais from the English by the Duke of Guise in 1558. the ornate clock tower and the brick bell tower are a landmark of Calais and are 75 m high. It contains one of the most beautiful chimes in the North of France and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Go upstairs for a panoramic view of the city and a close-up of the Dragon’s weather vane.

Calais lace and fashion museum

Calais has been making lace since 1816, when machines were illegally smuggled in from England. These industrial looms were after modified to use the Jacquard system, allowing the mechanically made lace to compete with the hand-made Variant. In 1910, more than 40,000 people were employed in high-tech crafts, but today only a handful of companies remain. The region is still responsible for about 80% of the world’s cutting-edge production, and the best designers always come back to Calais for their materials.

The museum was installed in 2009 in a nineteenth-century glass factory and has a modernist annex made of glass and steel. The first section is devoted to the history of artisanal lace from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century and presents beautiful examples. From the nineteenth century, it then moves on to industrial production and five functional Leaver looms have been installed, each with its own trained operator. Here you will see how the lace is made and a guided tour will guide you through each step of the process. Finally, there is the fashion department with more than 3,000 items made between 1850 and today.

Dom

A 45-minute drive from Calais is one of the most impressive remains of the Second World Debate in Europe. The Dome is a huge domed bunker built by slaves in 1943-1944 as a V2 rocket launch site in London. It was heavily bombed by the Allies and leaved in the summer of 1944 without firing a single projectile.

The V2s, which hit London and Antwerp in September 1944, were sent to Holland by mobile units. Since 1997, it has been a history and memory center, a museum of the Second World Debate dedicated not only to the V1 and V2 weapons, but also to the history of the Nazi occupation of Northern France.

You enter a dark tunnel filled with the sounds of construction work and shelling to access the luminous concrete dome. It was supposed to be the launch site of the V2 and the exhibition traces the history of Wernher von Braun, the German rocket designer. After the debate, he was kidnapped by the Americans and worked for NASA to take men to the Moon. He is still a divisive figure, responsible for weapons of mass destruction and also a pioneer of the space race.

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