Boulogne-sur-Mer, located on the northern coast of France, is a charming city with a rich history and plenty of attractions to explore. As the largest fishing port in France, Boulogne-sur-Mer offers a unique blend of maritime heritage, scenic beauty, and cultural experiences. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Boulogne-sur-Mer:
1. Nausicaá – National Sea Centre
Nausicaá is a world-class aquarium and marine life center that offers an immersive experience for visitors. With over 50 aquariums and exhibits, including a massive shark tank, Nausicaá showcases the diverse marine ecosystems of the world. It’s a must-visit attraction, especially for families and marine enthusiasts.
2. Old Town (Vieille Ville)
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Explore the charming streets of the Old Town, which is surrounded by medieval walls. Admire the well-preserved architecture, picturesque squares, and narrow cobblestone alleys. Don’t miss the Basilica of Notre-Dame, a beautiful Gothic church that dates back to the 19th century.
3. Boulogne-sur-Mer Castle Museum
Housed in a medieval castle, the Boulogne-sur-Mer Castle Museum offers a fascinating journey through the city’s history. Explore the exhibitions that showcase archaeological finds, medieval artifacts, and artworks. The castle itself provides panoramic views of the city and the harbor.
4. Boulogne-sur-Mer Beaches
Enjoy the beautiful coastline of Boulogne-sur-Mer by visiting its sandy beaches. The Plage de Boulogne-sur-Mer and Plage de Wimereux are popular spots for sunbathing, swimming, and beach activities. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and soak in the refreshing sea breeze.
5. The Beurière House
Step back in time and visit the Beurière House, a 19th-century fisherman’s cottage that has been preserved to showcase the traditional way of life. Explore the furnished rooms, learn about the local fishing industry, and gain insight into the daily lives of the residents of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
6. Boulogne-sur-Mer Market
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Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of the local market, held in the Place Dalton. The market offers a wide range of fresh produce, seafood, cheeses, and local specialties. Immerse yourself in the lively ambiance, interact with the friendly vendors, and sample some delicious regional delights.
7. Belfry of the Town Hall
Climb the steps of the Belfry of the Town Hall for panoramic views of Boulogne-sur-Mer and its surroundings. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a unique vantage point to admire the city’s skyline, the harbor, and the coastline.
8. Local Cuisine
Boulogne-sur-Mer is known for its excellent seafood and gastronomy. Indulge in local delicacies like fresh fish, mussels, and seafood platters. Don’t forget to try the famous Boulogne-sur-Mer fish soup, known as “bouillabaisse boulonnaise,” which is a true culinary delight.
9. Museum of the Second World War
Located near the city center, this museum provides a comprehensive look at the impact of World War II on the region. Through exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, visitors can gain insights into the historical events that took place in Boulogne-sur-Mer and its surrounding areas.
10. Les Jardins de la Falaise
Explore the lovely gardens of Les Jardins de la Falaise, located near the old town. These well-maintained gardens offer a peaceful retreat with lush greenery, colorful flowers, and scenic viewpoints overlooking the sea. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic.
11. Le Château d’Hardelot
Just a short drive from Boulogne-sur-Mer, you’ll find the Château d’Hardelot. This Renaissance-style castle offers a glimpse into the region’s history and hosts various cultural events, including concerts, exhibitions, and theater performances.
12. Wine Tasting in the Region
Boulogne-sur-Mer is surrounded by vineyards and wineries producing excellent wines. Take a short trip to the nearby wine regions, such as the Boulonnais or the Pas-de-Calais, and indulge in wine tastings, vineyard tours, and learn about the local winemaking traditions.
13. Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Boulogne-sur-Mer hosts various festivals and events that celebrate the city’s culture, history, and traditions. From music festivals and seafood festivals to Christmas markets and historical reenactments, there’s always something happening in the city that offers a lively and vibrant atmosphere.
14. Day Trip to Le Touquet-Paris-Plage
If you have more time, consider taking a day trip to Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a popular seaside resort town located nearby. Enjoy the sandy beaches, upscale shops, lively restaurants, and the vibrant atmosphere of this charming coastal town.
15. Boulogne-sur-Mer Casino
If you’re feeling lucky, head to the Boulogne-sur-Mer Casino for some entertainment. Try your hand at the slot machines or join a game of blackjack or roulette. The casino also hosts live performances and events, adding to the excitement.
16. Le Touquet Forest
Just a short drive from Boulogne-sur-Mer, you’ll find the beautiful Le Touquet Forest. This vast forested area is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the walking trails, go cycling, or have a picnic amidst the serene surroundings.
Take a day trip to the nearby city of Calais, located approximately 30 kilometers from Boulogne-sur-Mer. Visit attractions like the Calais Lace Museum, the Calais Town Hall, and the Calais Beach. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the iconic Calais-Dover ferry crossing, which connects France and the UK.
18. La Crypte
Descend into the depths of Boulogne-sur-Mer by visiting La Crypte, an underground network of tunnels that date back to Roman times. Explore the fascinating archaeological site, which includes remnants of a Roman theater and an ancient burial ground.
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If you’re a golf enthusiast, Boulogne-sur-Mer offers excellent golf courses where you can enjoy a round of golf amidst beautiful surroundings. Golf de Wimereux and Golf de la Côte d’Opale are two popular courses in the area.
20.Shopping in Boulogne-sur-Mer
Take some time to explore the city’s shopping scene. Boulogne-sur-Mer boasts a range of shops, boutiques, and markets where you can find everything from local delicacies and fresh produce to fashion, souvenirs, and antiques.
21. Les Halles Marcadieu
Another notable market in Tarbes is Les Halles Marcadieu. This covered market is a bustling hub of activity where locals gather to purchase fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other regional products. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, interact with vendors, and indulge in some gastronomic delights.
22. Parc des Expositions de Tarbes
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If you’re interested in attending events, exhibitions, or trade shows, the Parc des Expositions de Tarbes is worth a visit. This modern venue hosts a variety of cultural, business, and entertainment events throughout the year, providing opportunities to discover local artists, businesses, and innovations.
23. Maison des Parcs et de la Montagne
Located in the heart of Tarbes, the Maison des Parcs et de la Montagne is a visitor center dedicated to the exploration of regional parks and mountains. It offers information, exhibits, and guided tours to help visitors discover the natural beauty, wildlife, and outdoor activities available in the surrounding areas.
24. Musée Massey
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In addition to Jardin Massey, Tarbes is also home to the Musée Massey, an art and history museum. Housed in a beautiful mansion, the museum showcases a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and historical artifacts. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the art and history of the region.
25. Pic du Midi Observatory
A short drive from Tarbes, the Pic du Midi Observatory is an iconic landmark perched atop the Pyrenees. Take a cable car to the summit and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains and surrounding countryside. Explore the observatory, learn about astronomy, and even stargaze at night.
26. Eglise Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus
Visit the Eglise Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus, a modern and architecturally striking church in Tarbes. Known for its distinctive design and beautiful stained glass windows, the church offers a peaceful setting for contemplation and reflection.
27. Golf de Tumulus
Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the Golf de Tumulus, an 18-hole golf course situated in a peaceful and scenic setting near Tarbes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the natural beauty of the landscape.
28. Explore the Pyrenean Villages
Take a day trip from Tarbes and explore the charming Pyrenean villages in the surrounding area. Visit villages such as Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Saint-Savin, or Luz-Saint-Sauveur, each offering its own unique character, architecture, and local traditions. Discover quaint streets, historical landmarks, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals.
Places and Things To Do