Ten family activities in Boulogne
Activities to do with your family in Boulogne sur Mer
You have come to Boulogne-sur-Mer with your family to visit the largest aquarium in Europe: Nausicaá. What else is there to see on the Opal Coast?
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The town of Boulogne-sur-Mer and its surroundings abound with leisure activities for kids, and grown-ups too. When you leave Nausicaá, you can go to Boulogne-sur-Mer’s immense beach, perfectly equipped for the summer – the ideal place for a host of activities: racket games, kite-flying, building sandcastles and every sort of water sport. It’s not unusual to see sand yachts hurtling by, as Boulogne has several yacht clubs. So, you’ll be able to take lessons with all the family at one of the yacht clubs for an introduction to sand yachting, a typical sports activity on the Opal Coast.
The activity at the Boulogne-sur-Mer fishing harbour is impressive, but it must be remembered that it’s the Number One French fishing harbour in terms of its number of boats: there are 150 of them criss-crossing these very busy straits every day. They bring in tens of different species of fish and crustaceans, making the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer a major European fishing, transformation and commercialisation platform for the produce of the sea. Individual and group guided tours are organised to promote this sector of activity (booking at the Tourist Office or with the recommended organising companies) .
To help you get your sea legs, there is a boat, “La Florelle”, proposing sea outings that will allow you to make the most of an unusual view of Boulogne-sur-Mer’s port and of the shores of the Opal Coast. Her captain – a marine habitat and fishing techniques expert – also proposes outings for learning how to fish.
And if your children are passionate about marine activities, take them to Rue du Mâchicoulis, to the Beurière Museum which recounts the activity of the port through the ages: period objects, costumes, prints, photos, postcards, magazines and films tell you all about the history of the port of Boulogne.
In 1986, Boulogne-sur-Mer – the town where Sainte-Beuve was born in 1804 – signed the Town of Art and History Agreement, notably for the preservation of its religious heritage: a crypt, by chance in 1828, extends over the whole length of its basilica. But Boulogne-sur-Mer, thanks to its position on the Channel, 35 km from Calais, has always aroused keen interest, and its architectural riches today bear witness to its tumultuous past.
So, before going to the town centre and its shopping streets, take the time to soak up the town’s rich history by exploring the fortified town with its basilica and crypt, along with its ramparts, belfry and imperial palace. And don’t miss a visit to the county palace and its museum on the heights of the old town.Notably, you can admire a loan from Dunkirk Museum: Ounnout, an Egyptian mummy (found in 1906) covered with gold leaf, one of the best-preserved mummies in Europe.
Another museum, other skies: set out to discover the liberation of Argentina, Chile and Peru that were under Spanish rule at the time. It was in Boulogne-sur-Mer that General San Martín settled with his family. The Musée du Libertador, which was his home, is dedicated to him.
For the pleasure of children and adults, there’s also the Jardin Éphémère: situated in the old town, on Place Godefroy de Bouillon, this large garden is transformed each season to highlight a new theme. From La Fontaine’s fables to local legends, landscape artists give shape to the plants taking you on a journey as you enjoy a pleasant walk.
The walk around the ramparts is another activity that children and adults may enjoy: strolling along the ramparts surrounding the fortified town will give you a 360° view of the town centre and the Boulogne area.
For a complete change of atmosphere, go to Escalles, just 30 minutes away from Nausicaá, for a lovely open-air stroll through the region to Cap Blanc-Nez, also on the Opal Coast.
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