The good old ‘booze cruise’ is still going strong, but rather than simply heading over to Calais, France, to buy up cases of cheap wine, beer, and spirits (and possibly top it off with some extra strong cheese and cold meats – why not?), there are some fantastically interesting and different place to visit while you’re there.
Make the most of your day in France and do a little exploring. It will make your adventure much more memorable!
Calais isn’t just about hypermarkets and cheap drink. There is much more to it than that, and if you spare a few hours to delve deeper, you’ll find it worth your while. Calais old town is a beautiful and very well kept secret, with some fantastic and very traditional French restaurants for you to spend some of the money you’ve saved by purchasing your wine across the Channel. Not only that, but on Wednesdays and Saturdays there is a wonderful market where you can pick up even more bargains.
The Wine Society
If wine really is your thing, then you may wish to check out the prestigious Wine Society in Montreuil-sur-Mer, around 40 minutes’ drive from Calais. To join the Wine Club you need to purchase one share. Once you have that, you are allowed access at any time to sample (and purchase) some of the finest wines around (many for less than a tenner).
Not only that, but you will receive expert tuition in wine, giving you some sparkling dinner party conversation that will have the other guests enthralled! If you’re really keen, you can order the wine online or over the phone, and pick it up when you are in France. There are over 500 different varieties to choose from.
Cap Blanc Nez
Take a drive out from Calais’ hypermarkets and you will be surprised at the difference a few miles (or kilometres, since you’ll be in France) makes. The Opal Coast is the stretch of coastline that meanders away from Calais until it gets to Boulogne-sur-Mer (around 26 miles (about 42 kilometres)).
There is plenty to see along this lovely stretch of road, and Cap Blanc Nez is one such attraction. From the top of the cliffs here it is possible to see Dover, but that’s not the only highlight. If you’re feeling adventurous you can try your hand at paragliding or parachuting off the top!
If it’s fresh air and the feel of the wine in your hair that you are craving after being stuck on a ferry for a while, then the ideal place to go to blow the cobwebs away has to be Wissant. This quaint little village plays host to an excellent riding school that allows its client to ride the horses along the cliff top paths. It’s exhilarating and as close to nature as it’s possible to get.
The Souvenir Museum, Dunkerque
Dunkirque is famous for many things, and the history of this town is everywhere you go. But for a truly different visit, it’s worth a trip to the Memorial du Souvenir. The Battle of Dunkirk raged between 26th May and 4th June 1940, and this museum is dedicated to souvenirs from that time. It contains everything from soldiers’ uniforms to pieces of planes, and it is a fascinating insight into those “nine terrible days”.