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Historic and attractive, hotels in Calais welcome sightseers as well as those passing through and visitors on booze cruises...
Poor Calais; it doesn't have a reputation as more than a ferry port and a place to buy cheap alcohol on the continent. And while both of these things are absolutely true, there are hidden depths to Calais that are worth spending time to discover. See the old town, Calais-Nord, which is on an island enclosed by a network of waterways. It is home to a number of architecturally-interesting buildings, such as the ornate belfry, Notre Dame church, and Tour du Guet, a 13th century watchtower. The Côte d'Opale, or Opal Coast, runs from Calais and down the French coast and offers a number of glorious places in which to spend some time by the sea.
Calais hotels offer good-value stays in this northern French town...
There's a good choice of hotels in Calais. You can book into one of the large historic hotels that dot the town or go for something a little more modern from one of the well-known chain brands, such as Ibis, Holiday Inn and Mercure. There are also plenty of hotels on the main routes in and out of Calais, which capture visitors fresh off the ferries or waiting for their return departure. For the most charming hotels in Calais, stay in the old town.
There's just enough worth seeing in Calais to stretch out that brief stopover into a few nights...
It isn't crammed with things to do and see, but visitors to Calais find plenty to fill their days.
Top five attractions
Town Hall and Belfry
At nearly 100 years old, this striking building and the 74-metre belfry has weathered well and its beauty draws visitors for a closer look.
Notre Dame church
Also called the Eglise Notre-Dame, this 13th-century church is notable as the spot where a young Charles de Gaulle married his Calais sweetheart.
Tour du Guet
Built in 1214, this ancient building has served as a lighthouse and a military post during the First World War. It's an arresting piece of the Calais skyline.
Second World War Museum
A former Nazi bunker, this museum in Parc St Pierre houses a number of interesting exhibits.
The Côte d'Opale
Take a journey down the Opal Coast for excellent beaches and stunning cliff-top vistas.
Find out what's on when with our guide to events in Calais...
Christmas is a magical time to be in Calais, but there's much to see throughout the year in and around the town.
Rand'Opale; May: A hiking contest from nearby Leubringhen, this event lures thousands of walkers hungry for coastal views and competition success.
La Braderie in Lille; September: Still in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, the cultural city of Lille is only an hour from Calais. In autumn you can shop at La Braderie with around two million other visitors; it's the largest flea market in Europe and a spectacular array of goods can be purchased.
Christmas: The festive season is a big deal in Calais. Visit the annual market, see the parade, gaze at the impressive lights display and make your own mind up during the Best Christmas Shop Window contest.