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Boulogne Sur Mer town guide

Boulogne sur Mer

Visitors should be careful not to miss Boulogne sur Mer on their way to or from France. This town which is the largest fishing port in France also has an important history as a stepping off point for those who were intent on invading Britain. The town is divided into upper and lower parts. The lower part of the town was severely damaged by the RAF during World War 2 to stop the Germans from building there in preparation for Operation Sea Lion.

Set off into the older upper town by going through the fortified town gates, this part of the town, set as it is well up from the shoreline, was much more difficult to attack successfully and has therefore retained its walls which contain the cathedral and the chateau. The origins of the largely nineteenth century cathedral can be found by visiting the crypt where you will see the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Diana. The Chateau may seem to be sited in a peculiar place as it is well back from the sea, its position on the north east corner of the town walls is chosen so that it can be used in the defence of the town from inland. The chateau now contains the Museum which, in common with many in port towns, has a wide range of exhibits that have been presented by explorers and travellers from early times. There is a good Egyptology section and a collection of Greek vases. For those who like their visual stimulation to be bit more modern, there is also a good Art Collection including works by Corot and Bodin with sculptures by Rodin, Pompon and Carpeaux.

The surrounding region has many delights on offer for the visitor exploring by hire car, not least the many fine beaches along the channel coast or further afield the war graves from the world wars that have left their mark in the area.

If you still have time visit Nausicaa which is the biggest sea life centre in Europe.

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