Calais is a city and a ferry port located in the French department of Nord-Pas de Calais. It is the closest port in France to England and has been a long time-binding factor for trade and tourism between the two European countries. Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel. Calais was a British territory for many centuries before it became part of Northern France. On a clear day, Dover's famous white cliffs can easily be viewed from Calais.
Calais is divided into two parts: the old town and the modern town. Calais-Nord (Calais proper), the old town, is an artificial island bordered by canals and harbours. The other part, i.e. the modern town, known as St-Pierre, lies to the south.
Regular cross-channel ferry services connect the popular ports of Dover and Calais. Making a short crossing to France over the English Channel is a favourite lunchtime destination for Britishers living in southeast England. The main reason for this is that France levies lower taxes on alcohol and tobacco, and therefore, many stores supply drinks and cigarettes at a cheaper price.
Calais is also an upcoming tourist destination because of its rich cultural heritage, museums, French gastronomic delights, spirited nightlife, and its Belfries (siege towers constructed to protect the town from invasions), UNESCO World Heritage sites.
|33.50km² (12.9 sq.mi.)