It is an ideal destination for a day trip but also for a short break for people to enjoy the combination of old and new that Calais provides. There are many old buildings still stand today with their heritage preserved for visitors.
Calais is on the coast and features miles of huge empty beaches. These beaches are only interrupted by the tall cliffs of Cap Gris Nez and Cap Blanc Nez, and otherwise contain fine white sand which obviously makes life there very pleasant. Heading inland from Calais you'll find a lovely countryside of small valleys, forests and rolling hills.
Within the town of Calais there is much to do and see. There are a range of shops which sell souvenirs, gifts and groceries. Famously, people come to Calais to spend the day stocking up on drink, which can be bought in bulk for good value. There are also a selection of restaurants, cafes and bars. You can get a guide to eating out at the Calais Tourist Office where there are a team, of English speaking staff happy to help you plan a stay in Calais .
The town of Calais divides into Calais-Nord, which was the old town that had to be rebuilt after the war - and Calais-Sud, which is separated from Calais-Nord by canals. Rodin's famous bronze Burghers of Calais stand outside the Hotel de Ville on the main shopping street of Boulevard Jacquard.
Having started out as a small fisherman's village, Calais received a charter of concession to be a port in 1190. The English attacked Calais in 1347, under Edward III. There is a statue recording the sacrifice of those from the village who offered their lives in order to protect the town and their citizens. Edward III evicted the townspeople and the town remained English until 1558.
It is an interesting combination of the old and the new, with relics of its colourful past still remaining. The old walls are still preserved at the Citadelle, and the Watch Tower that was built in 1229 is still dominating the Places D'Armes. The English built the church of Notre Dame and it is the only example of the Toudor style church on the Continent. It is currently being renovated towards its former splendour.
The Fine Arts & Lace museum showcases a model of the old town which enables you to get the full flavour of old Calais. New Calais dates back to 1840, and can be found in the narrow streets running off Boulevard Jacquard. Factories launched the machine-made lace industry and houses were build around here to house the work force. The town hall is worth a visit too.