Most people arriving at Calais, see it as simply a gateway to France and travel on without stopping. Linger a while and you will find that the town has plenty to offer visitors, with its sandy beach, excellent restaurants and open-air markets.
Outside the Hotel de Ville stands Rodin's famous statue: The Burghers of Calais. This commemorates the remarkable act of self-sacrifice by six burghers of the town, who offered their lives in order that the rest of the town might be spared during a siege in the fourteenth century. Climb to the top of the lighthouse and you might be lucky enough to see across to the white cliffs of Dover.
Very few old buildings remain as much of the town was destroyed during World War II. To discover the history of this, visit the museum in the village of Ambleteuse, ten minutes drive from Calais.
The Stade de l'Epopee is the home of the city's rugby club, but is also used for football. A short drive along the coast will bring you to the attractive fishing village of Wissant, where surfing and other water-sports are popular.
The Musee des Beaux Arts et de la Dentelle houses an exhibition on the history of lacemaking in Calais. Surprisingly, this has its roots in Nottingham, from where lace-makers emigrated in 1816. Lacemaking machines were met with opposition in Nottingham, but were welcomed in Calais. Two lacemaking factories continue to employ over 3,000 people in the city, but its primary industries are fishing and transport, Calais being the principal port for traffic between the UK and continental Europe.