There is no other city quite like it. Anyone who takes the time to lose themselves in its maze of streets will be stunned by its amazing diversity. It can almost be said that there is not one, but ‘several’ Boulogne-sur-Mers... While the lower city is lively with its fishing port and shopping area, the old town, perched high on its rocky headland, plunges you two thousand years back in time.
The old town
2,000 years of history - now that really is something! You have to climb up into the highest parts of the city to discover the oldest remains from its long history. From 51 BC onwards, Julius Caesar made Boulogne-sur-Mer his strategic point for invading the island of Britain (the United Kingdom of today). Royal and aristocratic families have all left their mark in their own way on the city’s history. You can admire the thirteenth-century castle-museum surrounded by ramparts, the UNESCO World Heritage belfry, or the basilica and crypt (one of the largest in France). The old town reveals its treasures just like an open-air museum.
Lively and commercial
Welcoming and vibrant, Boulogne-sur-Mer promotes the art of living with its pedestrian streets lined with shops, its markets on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (place Dalton) and the Sunday morning fish stalls at Quai Gambetta. Exhibitions, events and traditions full of colour punctuate the lives of the people of Boulonnais.
An international fishing port
Boulogne would not be Boulogne without its port, which is like a city within the city! It is the top fishing port in France, with a fleet of nearly 150 boats, and as a result lives in time with the return of the fleet. More than 70 different species of fish are landed each day and sold at the auction. Boulogne-sur-Mer focuses on all the tasks that the industry requires, from fishing to processing, marketing to distribution, and from training to research and development. Every day from the harbour or the covered stalls, you can buy and taste what makes these happy fishermen so famous! A visit to the National Sea Centre, Nausicaá, for a beautiful underwater experience of our seas and oceans is also not to be missed.