Boulogne-sur-Mer: Wikis


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Bolougne and Boulogne, France redirect here. For other places called Boulogne, see Boulogne (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 50°43′35″N 1°36′53″E / 50.7263888889°N 1.61472222222°E / 50.7263888889; 1.61472222222

Commune of Boulogne-Sur-Mer

Boulogne sur Mer Palais de Justice.jpg
Boulogne-sur-Mer is located in France
Country France
Region Nord-Pas de Calais
Department Pas-de-Calais
Arrondissement Boulogne-sur-Mer
Intercommunality Boulogne Côte d'Opale
Mayor Frédéric Cuvillier
Land area1 8.42 km2 (3.25 sq mi)
Population2 44,859  (1999)
 - Density 5,328 /km2 (13,800 /sq mi)
Postal code 62200
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department of Pas-de-Calais. The population of the city was 44,859 in the 1999 census, whereas that of the whole metropolitan area was 135,116.



The name Boulogne was first recorded during the Roman Empire as Bononia, a derivative of the Celtic word bona (meaning "foundation", "settlement", "citadel").[citation needed] This derivation is also found in the name of the Italian city of Bologna.[citation needed] "Sur mer" is French meaning "on the sea".


The cathedral of Boulogne towers over the city

Origin of the city

Originally named Gesoriacum and probably also to be identified with Portus Itius, by the 4th century Boulogne was known to the Romans as Bononia and served as the major port connecting the rest of the empire to Britain. The emperor Claudius used this town as his base for the Roman invasion of Britain, in AD 43, and until 296 it was the base of the Classis Britannica.[citation needed]

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages it was the centre of a namesake county. The area was fought over by the French and the English. In 1550, The Peace of Boulogne ended the war of England with Scotland and France. France bought back Boulogne for 400,000 crowns.

The Napoleonic period

In the 14th century the Cathedral of Notre-Dame was reconstructed by the priest Benoit Haffreingue after he received a call from God to reconstruct the town's ruined basilica. During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon amassed La Grande Armée in Boulogne to invade the United Kingdom in 1805. However, his plans were halted by other European matters and the supremacy of the Royal Navy (including thousands of Congreve rockets [1]).

The two world wars

On June 15, 1944, 297 planes (155 Avro Lancasters, 130 Handley Page Halifaxes, and 12 De Havilland Mosquitos) of the Royal Air Force bombed Boulogne harbour to suppress German naval activity following D-Day. Some of the Lancasters carried Tallboy bombs. As a result, the harbour and the surrounding area were completely destroyed. In August, 1944 the town had been declared a "fortress" by Adolf Hitler, but it succumbed to assault and liberation by the 3rd Canadian Division in September. In one incident, a French civilian guided the Canadians to a "secret passage" leading into the walled old town and by-passing the German defenders[2].

To replace the destroyed urban infrastructure, affordable housing and public facility projects in functional, brutalist building styles were carried out in the 1950s and 60s. The harbour therefore sometimes proves to be a disappointment to tourists looking for a typical northern French harbour scene.

The Belfry is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Main sights

  • Belfry (11th century), part of the UNESCO Heritage Sites List.
  • Medieval castle, whouse foundings date to Roman times. It houses an Egyptian art collection
  • Gothic church of St. Nicholas, housing several 15th century statues
  • Cathedral basilica of Notre-Dame, with a dome standing at over 100 m. The crypt is one of the largest in France, and has Roman, Romanesque and Gothic elements.
  • Opened in 1991, Nausicaä - The French National Sea Centre is a science centre entirely dedicated to the relationship between mankind and the sea. It houses Aquaria, exhibitions on the marine fauna, and the exploitation and management of marine resources (fisheries, aquaculture, coastal planning, maritime transport, exploitation of energies and mineral, tourism).


Boulogne-sur-Mer is the most important fishing port in France. 7,000 inhabitants derive part or all of their livelihoods from fishing.

IFREMER (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) and the Pasteur Institute are located in Boulogne Port.

Certain brands, including Crown and Findus, are based in Boulogne.


  • Radio : Radio 6, France Bleu Nord, Virgin Radio Côte d'Opale.
  • Television : France 3 Côte d'Opale
  • Print : La Voix du Nord (édition de Boulogne sur Mer), La Semaine dans le Boulonnais, Touzazimut


In the year 1905 the First Esperanto Universal Congress was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer. L. L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, was among the attendees. In the year 2005 there was a great anniversary meeting with more than 500 attendees.


List of Mayors
Duration Name Party Particularities
2008–2014 Frédéric Cuvillier PS Deputy
2004–2008 Frédéric Cuvillier PS Deputy
1996–2004 Guy Lengagne PS Deputy
1989–1996 Jean Muselet Conservative  
1977–1989 Guy Lengagne PS Deputy, Minister
1945–1977 Henri Henneguelle PS  
Past mayors are unknown.


Boulogne's Castle Museum.
Demographic evolution of Boulogne-sur-Mer between 1936 and 2006
1936 1954 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006
52 371 34 885 49 283 49 288 48 440 47 653 43 678 44 859 43 700



  • Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB
  • Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque
  • A16 motorway


  • The main railway station is Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city.
  • Boulogne-Tintelleries is used for regional transit. It is located near the University and the city centre.


  • The major port of Calais is only 30 km (19 mi) away and provides major connections to Dover in England.


The Saint-Louis campus of University of Côte d'Opale.

Boulogne sur Mer is famous for hosting one of the oldest Universités de l'été - summer courses in French language and culture.

The Saint-Louis building of the University of the Côte d'Opale's Boulogne campus opened its doors in 1991, on the site of the former St. Louis hospital, the front entrance to which remains a predominant architectural feature. Its 6 major specialisms are Modern Languages, French Literature, Sport, Law, History and Economics. The University is situated in the town centre, about 5 minutes from the Boulogne Tintelleries train station.


Public primary and secondary

  • High Schools : Lycée Auguste Mariette, Edouard Branly, Cazin (professional).
  • College : College Langevin, Angelier, Daunou.

Private primary and secondary

  • High schools: Lycée Nazareth, Haffreingue, Saint-Joseph
  • College: College Godefroy de Bouillon, Haffreingue, Nazareth, Saint-Joseph


There is one theatre, the Théatre Monsigny, and two cinemas.


Two health centres are located in Boulogne, the public Hospital Duchenne and the private Clinique de la côte d'opale.




  • Stade Olympique Maritime Boulonnais (Nationale 1)
  • ESSM (Pro B) located in Le-Portel.

Others Sports

  • Aviron Boulonnais, produce many olympic medals for France
  • Boulogne-sur-Mer is the place where Franck Ribery received two scars on the right side of his face during a car accident


  • The castle-museum of Boulogne, in the fortified town, houses the most important exhibition of masks from Alsaka in the world, the second largest collection of Greek ceramics in France (after the Louvre), collections of Roman and medieval sculptures, paintings (15th-20th century), an Egyptian collection, African Arts etc. As these collections are exhibited in a medieval castle, one can also discover the Roman walls (in the underground) as well as rooms built in the 13th century (La Barbière, banqueting hall, chapel, covered parapet walk...)
  • La Casa San Martin is currently a museum where José de San Martin the leader of independence struggle in Argentina died in 1850, from 1930 to 1967 this house was the consulate of Argentina in France.
  • Nausicaä, the French national sealife center.


  • La Matellote
  • Welsh Rarebit
  • Sandwich américain
  • Kipper
  • Le Hostellerie De le Rivere

Notable people

Born in Boulogne

Others associated with Boulogne

The Column of the Grande Armée commemorates Napoleon's gathering of 200,000 soldiers near Boulogne for a proposed invasion of England

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Boulogne-sur-Mer is twinned with:

See also



  1. ^ David Baker, The rocket: the history and development of rocket & missile technology. Taylor & Francis, 1978, p.13.
  2. ^ Stacey, C P (1966). [ "Clearing the Coastal Belt and the Ports September 1944 - Operation "WELLHIT"; The Capture of Boulogne"]. Official History of the Canadian Army. Department of National Defence. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOULOGNE-SUR-MER, a fortified seaport of northern France and chief town of an arrondissement in Pas-de-Calais, situated on the shore of the English Channel at the mouth of the river Liane, 157 m. N.N.W. of Paris on the Northern railway, and 28 m. by sea S.E. of Folkestone, Kent. Pop. (1906) 49,636. Boulogne occupies the summit and slopes of a ridge of hills skirting the right bank of the Liane; the industrial quarter of Capecure extends along the opposite bank, and is reached by two bridges, while the river is also crossed by a double railway viaduct. The town consists of two parts, the Haute Ville and the Basse Ville. The former, situated on the top of the hill, is of comparatively small extent, and forms almost a parallelogram, surrounded by ramparts of the 13th century, and, outside them, by boulevards, and entered by ancient gateways. In this part are the law court, the chateau and the hotel de ville (built in the 18th century), and a belfry tower of the 13th and 17th centuries is in the immediate neighbourhood. In the chateau (13th century) now used as barracks, the emperor Napoleon III. was confined after the abortive insurrection of 1840. At some distance north-west stands the church of Notre-Dame, a well-known place of pilgrimage, erected (1827-1866) on the site of an old building destroyed in the Revolution, of which the extensive crypt still remains. The modern town stretches from the foot of the hill to the harbour, along which it extends, terminating in an expanse of sandy beach frequented by bathers, and provided with a bathing establishment and casino. It contains several good streets, some of which are, however, very steep. A main street, named successively rue de la Lampe, St Nicolas and Grande rue, extends from the bridge across the Liane to the promenade by the side of the ramparts. This is intersected first by the Quai Gambetta, and farther back by the rue Victor Hugo and the rue Nationale, which contain the principal shops. The public buildings include several modern churches, two hospitals and a museum with collections of antiquities, natural history, porcelain, &c. Connected with the museum is a public library with 75,000 volumes and a number of valuable manuscripts, many of them richly illuminated. There are English churches in the town, and numerous boarding-schools intended for English pupils. Boulogne is the seat of a sub-prefect, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a chamber of commerce and a branch of the Bank of France. There are also communal colleges, a national school of music, and schools of hydrography, commerce and industry. Boulogne has for a long time been one of the most anglicized of French cities; and in the tourist season a continuous stream of English travellers reach the continent at this point.

The harbour is formed by the mouth of the Liane. Two jetties enclose a channel leading into the river, which forms a tidal basin with a depth at neap-tides of 24 ft. Alongside this is an extensive dock, and behind it an inner port. There is also a tidal basin opening off the entrance channel. The depth of water in the river-harbour is 33 ft. at spring-tide and 24 ft. at neap-tide; in the sluice of the dock the numbers are 291 and 231 respectively. The commerce of Boulogne consists chiefly in the importation of jute, wool, woven goods of silk and wool, skins, threads, coal, timber, and iron and steel, and the exportation of wine, woven goods, table fruit, potatoes and other vegetables, skins, motor-cars, forage and cement. The average annual value of the exports in the five years 1901-1905 was £10,953,000 (£11,704,00o in the years 1896-1900), and of the imports £6,064,000 (£7,003,000 in the years 1896-1900). From 1901 to 1905 the annual average of vessels entered, exclusive of fishingsmacks, was 2735, tonnage 1,747,699; and cleared 2750, tonnage 1,748,297. The total number of passengers between Folkestone and Boulogne in 1906 was 295,000 or 49% above the average for the years 1901-1905. These travelled by the steamers of the South-Eastern & Chatham railway company. The liners of the Dutch-American, Hamburg-American and other companies also call at the port. In the extent and value of its fisheries Boulogne is exceeded by no seaport in France. The most important branch is the herring-fishery; next in value is the mackerel. Large quantities of fresh fish are transmitted to Paris by railway, but an abundant supply is reserved to the town itself. The fishermen live for the most part in a separate quarter called La Beurriere, situated in the upper part of the town. In 1905 the fisheries of Boulogne and the neighbouring village of Etaples employed over 400 boats and 4500 men, the value of the fish taken being estimated at £1,025,000. Among the numerous industrial establishments in Boulogne and its environs may be mentioned foundries, cement-factories, important steelpen manufactories, oil-works, dye-works, fish-curing works, flax-mills, saw-mills, and manufactories of cloth, fireproof ware, chocolate, boots and shoes, and soap. Shipbuilding is also carried on.

Among the objects of interest in the neighbourhood the most remarkable is the Colonne de la Grande Armee, erected on the high ground above the town, in honour of Napoleon I., on occasion of the projected invasion of England, for which he here made great preparations. The pillar, which is of the Doric order, 166 ft. high, is surmounted by a statue of the emperor by A. S. Bosio. Though begun in 1804, the monument was not completed till 1841. On the edge of the cliff to the east of the port are some rude brick remains of an old building called Tour d'Ordre, said to be the ruins of a tower built by Caligula at the time of his intended invasion of Britain.

Boulogne is identified with the Gessoriacum of the Romans, under whom it was an important harbour. It is suggested that it was the Portus Itius where Julius Caesar assembled his fleet (see ITIus Portus). At an early period it began to be known as Bononia, a name which has been gradually modified into the present form. The town was destroyed by the Normans in 882, but restored about 912. During the Carolingian period Boulogne was the chief town of a countship that was for long the subject of dispute between-Flanders and Ponthieu. From the year 965 it belonged to the house of Ponthieu, of which Godfrey of Bouillon, the first king of Jerusalem, was a scion. Stephen of Blois, who became king of England in 1135, had married Mahaut, daughter and heiress of Eustace, count of Boulogne. Their daughter Mary married Matthew of Alsace (d. 1173), and her daughter Ida (d. 1216) married Renaud of Dammartin. Of this last marriage was issue Mahaut, countess of Boulogne, wife of Philip Hurepel (d. 1234), a son of King Philip Augustus. To her succeeded the house of Brabant, issue of Mahaut of Boulogne, sister of Ida, and wife of Henry I. of Brabant; and then the house of Auvergne, issue of Alice, daughter of Henry I. of Brabant, inherited the Boulonnais. It remained in the possession of descendants of these families until Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, seized upon it in 1419. In 1477 Louis XI. of France reconquered it, and reunited it to the French crown, giving Lauraguais as compensation to Bertrand IV. de la Tour, count of Auvergne, heir of the house of Auvergne. To avoid doing homage to Mary of Burgundy, suzerain of the Boulonnais and countess of Artois, Louis XI. declared the countship of Boulogne to be held in fee of Our Lady of Boulogne. In 1544 Henry VIII. - more successful in this than Henry III. had been in 1347 - took the town by siege; but it was restored to France in 1550.

From 1566 to the end of the 18th century it was the seat of a bishopric.

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Simple English

Boulogne-sur-Mer is a commune. It is found in the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais in the Pas-de-Calais department in the north of France.pcd:Boulonne


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