This is the largest fishing port in France and the ferry to Boulogne has traditionally been one of the main routes to France for British travellers. The Ville Basse (lower town) consists of the fishing port and other maritime pastimes, while the Ville Haute (upper town) is a traditional French town with cobbled streets and city walls.
Traditionally, Boulogne has been a popular tourist destination for British and
Belgian tourists, partly because of how easy it is to get there. It is still easy to get to Boulogne using any of our
routes to France. It's just 22 miles from Calais to Boulogne and approximately 50 miles from Dunkirk, down a route which takes you past golden, windswept beaches, rugged cliffs and more. You can also reach Boulogne in under 2 hours from our port in Dieppe, heading east.
Why visit Boulogne?
Holidays and day trips to Boulogne have been popular with British tourists for generations, and remains popular to this day thanks to its location on France's northern coastline and its beautiful town centre.
Boulogne's Ville Basse (lower town) is home to the port and the riverside, here there are markets every Wednesday and Sunday where visitors can pick up fresh fish, meat and other local produce. Ville Basse is also home to the aquarium de Boulogne sur mer, the city's most popular tourist attraction.
Ville Haute (upper town) is a medieval town centre with original castle walls, containing the Castle, the Belfry, the Town Hall as well as winding, narrow streets full of cafes, shops and restaurants. Ville Haute is most popular with tourists as it is a typically-French town centre and more attractive than nearby cities such as
There are also a huge range of restaurants in Boulogne serving everything from the freshest seafood to other specialities of the area.
What to see in Boulogne
Wander the beautiful town centre of Ville Haute and lose yourself among the cobbled walkways. Stop off for a coffee and a traditional French pastry and indulge yourself in some people-watching as the town goes about its day around you.
In Ville Haute, you can find the medieval Castle, built in the 13th century and surrounded by a moat filled with water lilies. The Chateau includes a museum with a collection of Greek, Egyptian and Roman artefacts, as well as an important collection of masks of Alaska. History fans will also enjoy the Cathedral, where you can see cannonballs used by King Henry VIII during his successful siege of Boulogne Walk along the castle walls and you can enjoy a stunning view of both the port and the old town.
In Ville Basse you will find the city's biggest tourist attraction, Nausicaà. This is Boulogne's aquarium with over 35,000 animals of approximately 1000 different species, whether freshwater, saltwater or land animals. There are more than 50 water tanks in Nausicaà, and all of the signs and exhibitions are in English as well as French so you can learn as much as possible from your visit to this fascinating sea life centre.
Boulogne is also famous for its beach, which has seasonal amenities for children during the summer. The city is also within easy driving distance of popular beaches such as Equihen, Le Hardelot or Le Portel.
Where to stay in Boulogne
There is no shortage of hotels in Boulogne with places to suit every budget both in the city and nearby. For a full list of hotels, then please check out our partner
Prices are subject to availability. Credit card & telephone booking fees apply. Terms & Conditions apply.
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named again as the World and Europe's Leading Ferry Operator 2016 at the World Travel Awards. We have been Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator for 5 years running now, and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator for 6 years.