The Ultimate Travel Guide of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in Northern France

Where is Boulogne sur Mer located ?

Boulogne-sur-Mer is situated by the English Channel, facing the English coast. The town is part of the Pas de Calais district in the Hauts de France region where there is plenty of things to do. This city is well known to be the first fishing port in France ! This seaside town is also called "the capital of Opal Coast" as it is one of the main tourist destination in Northern France !

Good news for you if you're coming from the UK as Boulogne-sur-Mer is only about 30km from the Channel tunnel and the port of Calais. It is a must-see city during a trip in France and can even be the ideal pied-à-terre to visit the whole region. If you are looking for a comfortable & cosy holiday rental close to the main activities of the city we advise you to stay in our residence La Marina

What to do in Boulogne-Sur Mer ?

There is a lot to do in Boulogne-sur-Mer and you can't get bored ! Boulogne is France's leading fishing port, Europe's leading seafood processing platform which makes it a city with a very busy maritime life. Boulogne is also city of Art and History with an incredible city centre without forgetting to mention that you can find there the Europe's largest aquarium.

Discover below all the activities to do in Boulogne sur Mer and its surroundings. Among the must-do's during a visit in the old town, you will of course note the national sea centre : Nausicaa. The ramparts surround the old town and give it an absolutely incredible historical charm. The Basilica of Notre Dame will also delight you and you will be able to stroll through the heart of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The city also has a museum that may be interesting to discover if you like to learn about the history and culture of the places you visit. This is the museum of the county castle. However, you can also visit the crypt of Notre Dame Basilica. A great way to discover the heritage of Boulogne-sur-Mer

Finally, a must: the Boulogne beach! Swimming is permitted, the beach is supervised during July and August and many activities are offered all year round in the town. But these are just suggestions, we let you discover our guide and the activities to enjoy during your stay! 

Where to sleep in Boulogne-Sur-Mer ?
Evancy Boulogne-sur-Mer La Marina Vakantiepark - Evancy.be

What to do around Boulogne-Sur-Mer ?

The Boulogne-sur-Mer region is an incredible place full of little treasures. While the town is lively & fantastic, you should not neglect the small surrounding villages & charming seaside resorts.

Whether you like hiking, shopping or culture, you are bound to find what you are looking for and have a great stay! Between the shopping centres, the UNESCO listed sites, the fishing villages & sports activities... there's something for everyone in the Boulogne-sur-Mer area !

What is the weather in Boulogne-sur Mer ?

Boulogne sur Mer has an oceanic climate. It means that thermal amplitudes are low, winters are mild and summers rather cool, except during heat waves. Frost & snow days are quite rare so you don't need to bring your pair of skis even in the winter !

There are some prevailing winds from the south & west. Thanks to this there is relatively clean air which push the clouds towards the coast. Thanks to that Boulogne sur Mer is one of the sunniest cities in the north of France with over 1,650 hours of sunshine per yer. We strongly recommend you to take your pair of sunglasses with you !


What do we bring back in our suitcase ?

  • Hardelot's biscuits: We're all the same and we can't resist the idea of bringing a few treats back in our suitcase. Just to remind us of our adventures once we're home !
  • A good beer: Whatever the circumstance, beer warms hearts! During a birthday, an aperitif with friends or after an exhausting day... drinking a beer is always a good idea ! The good news is that you'll find a very large choice of french local beers in Boulogne sur Mer and its surroundings. 

The good news is that the destination offers very tasty local beers. For example you can enjoy a glass of Wimereumoise, La Condettoise or La Kipper which are perfect with a fish dish. On sale at the tourist office !

  • A huge cuddly toy ? In Nausicaa's souvenir shop you can find everything that is related to the ocean world. From a simple jellyfish pencil to a stuffed octopus or educational books... there is something for everyone !
  • Fish specialities: Fancy for fish & seafood ? Don't worry we're not telling you to go home with a herring in your suitcase.... But the good news is that you can bring back canned salmon & mackerel rillettes from the Bourgain or JC David Shops. You can shop these products on their websit or directly at the Tourist Office shop.

The history of Boulogne-sur-Mer

Boulogne sur Mer is known for its maritime life, its port, its fish market, its city center, the largest aquarium in Europe Nausicaa... but you probably don't know everything about the city yet!

2000 years of history have made Boulogne the city we know today. Here is a little summary of the history of Boulogne because getting to know a city's historical past is already a journey! 

Everything started when the famous Julius Caesar passed through Boulogne with the aim of invading the Isle of Brittany (now England). He set up his fleet in the Liane estuary which is the river that runs alongside our residence in Boulogne. His successors also built the military camp some parts of which are still preserved in the old town. 

Napoleon came here too ! He also had the ambition to conquer England and gathered an army of 120,000 men on either side of the Liane. Many traces of his passage are still visible. Surprising, isn't it ?

Then, by the time of the Entente Cordiale there was no longer any question of invading England. Some seaside resort like Wimereux started to develop thanks to the arrival of the railway. It was also the case of Hardelot which started to develop around its castle located at Condette at the initiative of Sir John Whitley. This "golden age" was only interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War.

The region of Boulogne-sur-Mer will play an important role during the Great War as a support base. The harbour was used to transport allied troops, and field hospitals were set up in Dannes, Saint-Léonard, Saint-Martin-Boulogne and Wimereux. This is why you can now find several military cemeteries in the surroundings.

The Second World War was much more painful, the economy was destroyed just as the most beautiful hotels, seaside villas and even the casino of Wimereux. The following decades were devoted to reconstruction.

It is from this rich past that the Boulonnais region on the Opal Coast founded its tourist vocation based on an exceptional maritime, historical and architectural heritage. Do you want to know more ? Follow us !

Where to sleep in Boulogne-sur-Mer ?

If you are looking for a hotel or holiday rental we recommend you to stay in our La Marina residence! Located in the port of Boulogne sur Mer our residence offers you exceptional hotel services at affordable prices.  You will find beautiful and large flats ranging from studios for 2 people to flats ideal for a whole family. The rooms are clean and accommodation is modern. We provide bed linen so you don't need to take anything with you. Cleaning is done after your departure and is included in the price. Finally, you can even enjoy breakfast for an additional €10 for adults and €6 for children. A great way to enjoy your journey in the north of France and discover French hospitality. 

You will be located right next to the fish market and you can stroll through the old town of Boulogne sur Mer just a few hundred metres away. You will be able to discover incredible restaurants and taste good fish dishes... or other typical French things if fish is not your thing. We promise you an unforgettable stay between the Basilica, the sea, the port and even the beach of Boulogne which is very cute with its typical little beach cabins. Not forgetting that you will be just a few metres from Nausicaa right next to the port of Boulogne as well: a fairy-tale journey into the marine world. 

Boulogne sur Mer is an incredible town where you will feel at home and enjoy living by the sea for a few days !