Northern France Tourism : official website

Boulogne-sur-Mer, a port town: its lighthouse, its yachts, its walkers

The port of Boulogne: an unusual visit!

Boulogne-sur-Mer has always lived to the rhythm of fishing. See the to-ing and fro-ing of the trawlers; breathe in the harbour air to the piercing cry of sea gulls: an unforgettably sensual experience! Over towards Capécure is a whole district with its150 fishing boats, more than 250 businesses and 5,000 fishermen, fish traders, customs officials, or carriers. To learn about this world, the tourist office offers visits which include the fish auction and breakfast at the Châtillon, a brasserie and HQ for sailors. Treat yourself to a salty breakfast, washed down with coffee or a glass of white wine, in friendly surroundings where professional seamen and tourists rib shoulders. And to see the port from the sea, nothing beats a trip aboard the sea-launch "Le Florelle".

Sail boats - Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • Sail boats - Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • © Anne-Sophie FLAMENT
Boulogne-sur-Mer has always lived to the rhythm of fishing.

The old town of Boulogne, a historic treasure

Boulogne-sur-Mer, the largest Roman port in north-west of Europe, has retained a remarkable architectural heritage. Gateway to England, the town built up its fortifications on the foundations of a Roman enclosure. Go up the Grande Rue, the main street linking the upper and lower town, and take the path along the ramparts, a superb stroll. Go back down via the Porte de Calais, a fortified gateway. Here you find yourself in front of the basilica dedicated to Our Lady, an audacious piece of architecture topped by a dome which has become the symbolic beacon of the town. Restored painted décor and treasures in stone are revealed in its crypt which is the largest in France. Two streets along, the castle, built in the 13th century, and now a museum, will guide you well beyond local history.

Aerial view of Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • Aerial view of Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • © Philippe FRUTIER

The Crypt – Boulogne-sur- Mer

The Basilica of Our Lady was built in the 19th century on the ruins of the mediaeval church at the centre of the old town. When the work began in 1927, an ancient Roman crypt was discovered which inspired the restoration of what is now the largest crypt in France. This place is an exceptional piece of heritage which enables you to trace the 2000 year history of the town back to its Roman remains.

Nausicaà, sea-life city

Impossible to leave Boulogne-sur-Mer without visiting the Nausicaà Centre - the sea-life city! Located on the beach, this aquarium is the largest of Europe! A day's visit here and you will be amazed by the immensity of marine life. Stroll past more than 36,000 sea, freshwater, and terrestrial creatures. Shudder as the sharks twist and turn, just there, behind the glass! Enjoy the antics of the sea lions, join in the lagoon fish feeding, talk to the keepers, tickle the rays in the touch pool... Lots of adventures to experience, as in the deep, but on the beach!

Discover the sea lions at the show!
  • Discover the sea lions at the show!
  • © Anne-Sophie FLAMENT
The "Grande Armée" column, the tallest in France!
  • The "Grande Armée" column - Wimille
  • © Anne-Sophie FLAMENT

The "Grande Armée" column, the tallest in France!

At Wimille, climb to the top of the column dedicated to the Emperor Napoleon I.