Commune of Calais
|Pier and lighthouse on the Calais seafront|
|Region||Nord-Pas de Calais|
|Intercommunality||Communauté d'agglomération du Calaisis|
|Mayor||Natacha Bouchart (UMP)
|Elevation||0–18 m (0–59 ft)|
|Land area1||33.50 km2 (12.93 sq mi)|
|- Density||2,235 /km2 (5,790 /sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||62193/ 62100|
|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.|
Calais (French pronunciation: [kaˈlɛ]; in English often /kæˈleɪ/, traditionally /ˈkælɨs/) is a town in northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras.
The population of the metropolitan area at the 1999 census was 125,584.
Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 miles) wide here, and is the closest French town to England, of which Calais was a territorial possession for several centuries. The white cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day.
The old part of the town, Calais proper (or Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. The modern part of the town, St-Pierre, lies to the south and southeast.
People have lived in Calais since ancient times. The Romans called the settlement Caletum. As the centuries passed it grew in importance as a port. While sovereignty over Calais passed from one authority to another, the people spoke mostly Dutch. Its position as the point in continental Europe closest to England led the English king Edward III, who believed himself the rightful king of France, to cross the Channel and capture the city in 1347. The Treaty of Brétigny in 1360 ceded the city to England. For two centuries Calais remained an integral part of England, with representation in the English Parliament (see Pale of Calais). In 1558 Calais was finally recaptured by the French. In 1805 Napoleon massed troops there for his planned invasion of England. In World War I Calais was a major base for the BEF. In World War II it was the site of a major engagement, the Siege of Calais, in which some 4,000 British soldiers surrendered to the Germans after holding out for four days. Four years later, the Allies mounted Operation Fortitude, a deception campaign intended to convince the Germans that the main Allied landing would come around Calais instead of in Normandy. The Allied effort succeeded in causing Hitler to keep significant forces in and around Calais until July 1944, a month after the Invasion of Normandy had begun. Calais was finally liberated by the Canadian 1st Army later that year.
The city's proximity to England has made it a major port for centuries. It is the principal ferry crossing point between England and France, with the vast majority of Channel crossings being made between Dover and Calais. The French end of the Channel Tunnel is also situated in the vicinity of Calais, in Coquelles some 4 miles (6 km) to the west of the town.
The mainstay of the town's economy is, naturally, its port, but it also has a number of indigenous industries. The principal ones are lace making, chemicals, and paper manufacture. It possesses direct rail links to Paris, 148 miles (238 km) to the south.
Calais has restaurants that are popular with English visitors, in the tradition of seaside towns, but shopping is its most popular attraction.
Some 700-800 migrants, mostly Afghan, were camped in an area among the dunes near the port, locally called 'The Jungle', but this was destroyed by French authorities in a dawn raid on September 22, 2009.. The inhabitants were partly imprisoned at the nearby Centre de Rétention of Coquelles, but many more were taken to detention centres all over France before being released and having to make the long journey back to Calais by foot. After the closing down of the camp, the French authorities have threatened to repatriate "sans-papiers" ("immigrés en situation irrégulière") to Afghanistan .
Local bus services are provided by STCE.
Calais is represented in association football by the Calais RUFC, and are members of the Championnat National. Calais RUFC have a reputation as bieng great giant killers in French cup comeptitions and went as far as the final in the 01/02 season, losing out finally to Nantes.
Virtually the entire town was destroyed by heavy bombardments during World War II, so little in Calais pre-dates the war. The Tour de Guet, situated in Calais Nord on the Places d'Armes, is one of the few surviving pre-war buildings.
The German wartime military headquarters, situated south of the train station in a small park, is today open to the public as a war museum.
The town centre is dominated by its distinctive town hall, built in the Flemish Renaissance style (and visible well out to sea). Directly in front of the town hall is a cast of the statue The Burghers of Calais (French Les Bourgeois de Calais), by Auguste Rodin. The town centre has seen significant regeneration over the past decade.
Another must see for visitors to the area is the Alhambra cinema, an arthouse cinema located on the same square as the Hôtel de Ville.
On the outskirts of Calais there is Cité Europe, a huge shopping complex with shops, a games arcade, bars restaurants and a multiplex cinema. Located next to Cité Europe is L'Usine, a factory outlet centre for higher-end brands. These are both built on land next to the Channel Tunnel terminal.
On clear days, the buildings of Calais can quite readily be seen with the naked eye from the British shore, 33 km (21 miles) away.
Calais is twinned with:
Calais is a city in the Nord-Pas de Calais region of France. It is the closest point on the French mainland to England; Dover lies across the English Channel (La Manche) just 32 km (20 miles) away. The town has a major cross-channel ferry port and the French entrance to the Channel Tunnel is nearby. Calais is popular with British day-trippers arriving by ferry or on Channel Tunnel shuttle trains one reason being due to the fact that France has lower taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Large warehouse supermarkets have sprung up on the outskirts of Calais just to serve these British "booze cruisers" who return to the UK with their suspensions groaning under the weight of cheap booze and cigarettes. While most tourists view the town as simply a port there is a little more to the town.
From Dover takes just over 1h15 minutes; the operators are:
Running from Folkestone to the western edge of Calais the service takes about 35 minutes (although only about 20 minutes are in the tunnel) and offers the fastest way to go between the countries; this service is for passengers with cars only who remain with their car for the duration of the short trip, onboard there are no restaurants (although there are facilities – a fast food restaurant and various shops in the terminal buildings) but there are toilets.
Running from London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet and Ashford, Eurostar offers Calais in 1 hour; there are around 3 trains a day in each direction. Note that the Calais Fréthun TGV stop is some distance from Calais itself; there are however shuttle buses and taxis.
Cars can be taken to the South of France, destinations such as Narbonne, Marseille and Lyon can be reached by train (your car is carried with you).
Most people travel by car around the town, but there is a comprehensive network of buses running from the town centre to the suburbs and Cité Europe. The port is served by a special shuttle bus - although via a footbridge the centre and the harbour terminal are only 15 mins apart. Bus #5 is useful for reaching the large Auchan and Carrefour hypermarkets and the Cite Europe shopping mall and #6 goes to Calais Frethun Eurostar station. Services run every 30 minutes during the day and cost between 80c and €1 (board through the front door and pay the driver) and all terminate outside the Gare D'Ville.
* La cours d'artistes : 294 grande rue du petit courghain, 62100 Calais 0660846363, http://www.courdartistes.com/modulosite2/accueil.htm * Mondiavision : galerie de photos , rue du Vauxhall, Calais
* - Museum shop * - Boutique Noyon : 85 rue de Vic - 62100 Calais Tel : 0321 46 78 04, www.noyonboutique.com / old factory turned into a designer shop * - Les dessous de Calais : Boulevard Lafayette - 62100 Calais tel :0321 xxxxx : outlet design shop for lingery and clothes ... Great discounts !
There is a fantastic crepe restaurant called La Chênaie in Rue Jean de Vienne.
For a lot more infos, have a look on the Couchsurfing Wiki Page of Calais : http://wiki.couchsurfing.com/en/Calais
A lot as you can imagine ... too close to UK ! ;-)
Have a look on the Couchsurfing Wiki page of Calais : http://wiki.couchsurfing.com/en/Calais
If unfortunately, you don't find a couch, here are 2 cheap but serious adresses :
To hitchhike to Belgium or the Netherlands, if you leave the terminal, you must walk 500m through a large car park, after which you will see roundabout and an on-ramp to the motorway. That is the place to hitch a ride: there is enough space even for a big lorry.
For a more 'traditional' experience of France, Saint Omer is a mere 26 miles (43 kilometres) down the road from Calais. The Saturday morning market on its main square, the Place Foch, can be enjoyable. There are also good affordable restaurants and friendly bars, as well as interesting architecture.
Worth a visit in the surroundings :
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Species: C. afghanicus - C. brandti - C. parreysii - C. persicus - C. sulcicollis - C. wittmeri
Calais Laporte de Castelnau, 1836