Stage town for the third time Sub-prefecture of Pas-de-Calais (62)
Population: 76,000 (Calaisians), 105,000 in the 14 communes of the Grand Calais Terre & Mers agglomeration
Personalities: Louis Daquin (film-maker), Jacques Vendroux (journalist), Jean and Pierrre Galle (basketball), François Ruffin (MP), Didier Lockwood (violinist), Romain Barras (decathlete).
Specialities: welsh (toasted bread topped with beer, ham, cheese and mustard), Dragon and 2 Caps beers, Le Calais (pastry with a coffee and chicory taste)
Sport: French rhythmic gymnastics championship in 2022, qualifying tournament for the European hockey cup in 2023. Facilities: Épopée stadium, Zap'ados skate park, Calais beach skate park.
Economy: first French city to link with Great Britain
Events: Virtual Calais exhibition (video games)
Labels: City of Art and History, tourist resort, Terre de Jeux 2024
Websites: www.calais.fr / www.grandcalais.fr / www.calais-cotedopale.com / https://www.facebook.com/villedecalaisofficiel / https://www.facebook.com/jeunesseinfocalais / https://www.facebook.com/GrandCalaisTerresetMers/ / https://www.instagram.com/villedecalais/ / https://twitter.com/calaisofficiel
CALAIS, A STORY
As the gateway to the British Isles and the point of passage for the English to the continent, Calais enjoys remarkable accessibility thanks to maritime traffic, the Channel Tunnel, two motorways and high-speed rail links to London, Paris and Brussels. This geographical position favours a natural concentration of passengers and goods. Calais is thus working to create the conditions for economic development in order to assert itself as a point of convergence for trade between the United Kingdom and Western Europe. In the same way, Calais is committed to promoting its assets and the quality of its living environment to visitors and tourists. This ambition is reflected in a bold events strategy. Every year, summer and winter, Calais stands out for the diversity and originality of its events programmes, which give rhythm and colour to the town. This cultural offer attracts thousands of tourists every year, in addition to the loyal visitors who are won over by the vitality of Calais. This events policy accompanies a tourism development strategy supported by extensive communication campaigns that have been acclaimed nationwide. In 2021, the City of Calais was awarded the first national CAP' COM prize in the "Attractiveness and Territorial Marketing" category. This prize rewards the quality and boldness of the large-format communication campaign implemented as part of the launch of the "Calais LA Plage" seaside resort in the summer of 2021.
CALAIS AND CYCLING
As a port of entry to the UK, Calais has seen the Tour de France and its followers pass through each time it has visited the UK, but the town has only been a stage town twice before, in 1994 and 2001. The first time, after a Grand Départ in Lille, it was a 66,5 km team time trial that saw the GB-MG Technogym team win and Johan Museeuw take the Yellow Jersey before crossing the Channel for three stages in England. Seven years later, Calais was the starting town for a stage that ended in Antwerp with a winning sprint by Marc Wauters. Several times the finishing town of the Four Days of Dunkirk, Calais was also, in the pioneering days, the destination of two historic road races, Lille-Calais, won in 1895 by Maurice Garin, the future first winner of the Tour, and Paris-Calais, contested between 1909 and 1926 and won for the first time by Eugène Christophe. Second place went to Léon Lannoy from Calais, who took part in the Tour de France in 1909 and 1910. Another local rider, Steven Tronet, was French road champion in 2015.
Town hall and belfry
Foundation: built in the 20th century (1925).
Style: neo-Flemish (Arch. Louis Debrouwer).
Characteristics: 75 m high. Four knights covered in gold leaf fix the four cardinal points at the top, above the 4 clock faces. Unlike other older buildings, its tower is entirely empty. Only a staircase was inside: it was only used by the technician in charge of setting the clock to winter or summer time.
History: the construction of this belfry was decided in 1885, at the same time as that of the new town hall, in order to concretise the reunion of the communes of Calais and Saint-Pierre. Listing: a historical monument since 2003, the belfry is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the Belfries of Belgium and France.
Monument of the Burghers of Calais
Construction: Work carried out in the 19th century (between 1884 and 1889) by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).
Description: the monument celebrates the collective sacrifice of six notables who went to hand over the keys of the town to the victorious King of England at the end of the siege of 1346-47 during the Hundred Years' War. The six characters are individualised, united on the same base, but independent. Alone in the face of their destiny and death, they do not look at each other or touch.
History: commissioned by the town of Calais, the monument, completed in 1889, was installed in 1895 on the square of the town hall of Calais, without however respecting Rodin's wish that it be presented very high.
Calais The Beach
The "Calais La Plage" project is a reclamation of a strategic part of the city. It is a complete transformation of the seafront, intended to reinforce the seaside character of Calais. Inaugurated in July 2021 during a large-scale show, the "Calais LA Plage" station will offer residents and tourists a new living, relaxing and walking environment.
The Calais Dragon
In November 2019, on the occasion of a grandiose inaugural show, 400,000 visitors greeted the arrival in Calais of the monumental "Dragon of Calais". For four days, the magic of the dragon worked for the public. Accessible to passengers since February 2020 for a 45-minute ride, the Calais Dragon continues to make a very strong impression on those who discover it or board its back. The Dragon attracts thousands of visitors, particularly during the summer season www.compagniedudragon.com
Notre Dame Church
Listing: listed as a historical monument in 1913.
Foundation: built in the 13th century.
History: It is the only religious building built in the English perpendicular style and its bell tower is in the centre of the building.
Trivia: it was in this church that Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970), then a young captain and future President of the French Republic from 1958 to 1969, married Yvonne Vendroux on 7 April 1921.
The City of Lace and Fashion
It is housed in one of the last typical collective lace factories, dating from the end of the 19th century. Following an architectural competition launched in 2004, the Moatti & Rivière firm was selected for a project launched in 2006. This building now houses magnificent collections of haute couture lace and industrial heritage, including the famous Leavers looms that still make Calais lace. www.cite-dentelle.fr
The Calais is a cake made of a progrès biscuit, a coffee cream and a chicory glaze. This dessert is said to have originated in the aftermath of the Second World War with a Calaisian baker in the Calais-Nord district. Due to its success, other pastry cooks in the town took over the recipe.