Boulogne-sur-Mer

Boulogne-sur-Mer

Echoing the Colour Path initiated by the Pompidou Mobile Centre, Boulogne hosts several modern art events and exhibitions between June 15 and September 15, 2012:

Earth pigments:

The exhibition tackles colour through its natural and raw pigments. Works handed by institutions from all over France will question why so many modern artists have opted to give an organic expression to their creations.

Signed by Ben

A handwriting, a signature: Ben’s work is now identified straightaway, at first sight. The exhibition leads visitors to discover the work of an artist for whom, “art must be new and shocking”.

Strange Cargo

The collective of British modern artists present a visual path throughout the city. Taking over public buildings, the exhibition is one of the highlights of the summer as it is also a link between the various exhibition sites in Boulogne.

Off the walls

An exhibition of photographs from 1950 to 1970 is held in the Martitime Station.

Three previous stages
Pop: 43,800
Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)Economy : fishing, maritime transport.
Specialties : fish.
Sport : US Boulogne Cote d’Opale (football)
Celebrities : Godfrey of Bouillon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jean-Pierre Papin, Franck Ribéry, Mickaël Bourgain.
Festivals : Cote d’Opale festival, Comics festival.
Slogan :  City of the sea.

Timeline

  • 55 BC

    From Portus Itius, Julius Caesar tried to invade Britain. Claudius succeeded in 43 and created the Britain fleet with Dover on the British side and two ports on the territory of Boulogne, Bonogna and Gesoiacum.
  • 9th century

    Rise in power of the counts of Boulogne
  • 1099

    Godfrey of Bouillon, count of Boulogne, headed the first crusade.
  • 1203

    Count Reginald of Dammartin granted Boulogne its first charter, but he was beaten at war by King Philip Augustus, who gave the town to his son Philip Hurepel.
  • 1478

    Hurepel died childless and Boulogne passed under the control of Artois, Auvergne and Burgundy and finally of King Louis XI.
  • 1544

    A coveted border town, Boulogne was seized by the English but bought back by King of France Henry II in 1550.
  • 1662

    Revolt of the Lustucrus against tax pressure.
  • 1689

    Demolition of the fortifications and trade boom with England.
  • 1803

    Napoleon builds the Boulogne camp.
  • 1815

    Boulogne becomes the first fishing port in France, which it still is.
  • 1914

    Boulogne becomes a base for the British army and a hospital centre for the Allies.
  • 1940

    WWII destroys the port and its surroundings but spares the upper-town.
Three previous stages
Pop: 43,800
Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)Economy : fishing, maritime transport.
Specialties : fish.
Sport : US Boulogne Cote d’Opale (football)
Celebrities : Godfrey of Bouillon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jean-Pierre Papin, Franck Ribéry, Mickaël Bourgain.
Festivals : Cote d’Opale festival, Comics festival.
Slogan :  City of the sea.

Boulogne-sur-Mer and cycling

Although the two last stages of the Tour which ended in Boulogne-sur-Mer were sprint finishes, with the victories of the Dutch Jean-Paul Van Poppel in 1994, and of the German Erik Zabel in 2001, the profile of the third stage is ideal for initiatives like those which allowed Pierrick Fédrigo and Sylvain Chavanel to obtain the French Champion’s jersey. In 2005, the air of the town greatly inspired Fédrigo, who also won the Dunkirk Four Days pink leader jersey a few weeks earlier.

The first Tour de France stage finish in Boulogne led to a freak incident. Stage winner Norbert Callens of Belgium did no wear the yellow jersey on the race the next day -- his masseur had left the garment behind in his hotel room. Callens was forced to borrow a yellow tee-shirt from a journalist and it did not bring him luck. The Belgian suffered a terrible crash later in the same Tour, which put an end to his career.

Boulogne is also the birthplace of track sprinter Mickael Bourgain, a four-times team sprint world champion and an individual sprint bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics. 

Three previous stages
Pop: 43,800
Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)Economy : fishing, maritime transport.
Specialties : fish.
Sport : US Boulogne Cote d’Opale (football)
Celebrities : Godfrey of Bouillon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jean-Pierre Papin, Franck Ribéry, Mickaël Bourgain.
Festivals : Cote d’Opale festival, Comics festival.
Slogan :  City of the sea.

What to see

The castle

Built in the same time as the walls, the castle was the centrepiece of Boulogne’s medieval defence system. It was the first castle built without a keep in the history of military architecture. Today, the ditch is filled with water again while the drawbridge has been restored. The most interesting rooms are located in the lower part: chapel, living room, underground. The gorgeous Gothic room of La Barbiere, adjacent to the prison, is not to be missed.

The museum

Created in 1825, it boasts rich collections some of them unique in Europe: Egyptian antiques, Greek vases, Gallo-Roman art, Alaskan masks, Oceanian and African arts, earthenware and chinaware, medieval arts.

Notre-Dame basilica 

Inspired by classical religious architecture, the basilica is the work of abbot Haffreingue, who drew the plans himself. It was built over a vast crypt including the remains of the Romanesque crypt and a sacred art treasure.

Notre-Dame de Saint-Sangchapel

It is a fine example of local neo-Gothic art. Built between 1859 and 1860, the chapel is almost entirely the work of British artists. Tradition tells that the chapel was built on the site where Ida of Lorraine, countess of Boulogne, received the holy blood of Jesus sent to her from Jerusalem by her son Godfrey of Bouillon.

NausicaaPark

Since its opening, the vast Nausicaa theme park has been aiming at increasing the public awareness of the need to protect the maritime environment. It is Europe’s biggest complex dedicated to the sea: 4,5 million litres of water, 36 aquariums, and 35,000 animals are gathered in the park for the public to see.

Three previous stages
Pop: 43,800
Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)Economy : fishing, maritime transport.
Specialties : fish.
Sport : US Boulogne Cote d’Opale (football)
Celebrities : Godfrey of Bouillon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jean-Pierre Papin, Franck Ribéry, Mickaël Bourgain.
Festivals : Cote d’Opale festival, Comics festival.
Slogan :  City of the sea.

Napoleon's Boulogne Camp and the Column of the Grande Armée

Like Roman emperors before him, Napoleon Bonaparte chose Boulogne as his base in his grand scheme to invade Britain. The emperor spared no efforts or money to achieve his plan, which finally never took place. After several failed attempts, he decided in 1803 to build a huge military structure known as the Camp of Boulogne. Works allowed the port to host more than 2,000 ship and new basins and docks were built. In the space of a few months, Boulogne was turned into a big garrison town, home to 150,000 to 200,000 soldiers. The Boulogne port proving too small, Napoleon had another one built from scratch in the nearing town of Wimereux. Four corvettes were supposed to leave for Britain from the new harbour. Barracks were set around the port while officers were staying in the castles of Wimille.

In 1804, Napoleon himself came to Boulogne to reward some of his soldiers with the newly created Legion of Honour. Some 100,000 men attended the ceremony.

Marshal Soult urged for a huge column to be erected to celebrate the event, dubbed column of the Grande Armée. The first stone was laid on November 9, 1804, but the monument was only completed in 1841. It is nowadays the highest column in France, standing at 54 metres and the main remain of a grand project that never saw the light. The Trafalgar debacle forced Napoleon to change his plans. In Wimereux, nothing remains of the Boulogne Camp, except for a street named after the emperor.

Three previous stages
Pop: 43,800
Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)Economy : fishing, maritime transport.
Specialties : fish.
Sport : US Boulogne Cote d’Opale (football)
Celebrities : Godfrey of Bouillon, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Dickens, Jean-Pierre Papin, Franck Ribéry, Mickaël Bourgain.
Festivals : Cote d’Opale festival, Comics festival.
Slogan :  City of the sea.
video 03/07/2012 

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