More tons of fish are landed at Boulogne than any other fishing port in the country.
The sea is the soul of this city; the Romans launched their invasion of Britain from here, and Napoleon would have done the same in the first years of the 19th century, while a few decades later there was a British invasion, of holidaymakers to Boulogne’s beach.
The big tourist attraction these days is Nausicaä, France’s National Sea Centre and a first-rate aquarium that young ones will be wild for.
There’s loads of history too, at the marvellous cathedral crypt or in the intact walls of the Ville Fortifiée.
When the weather’s good in summer the beaches are as good as ever, and packed with facilities to make things even more comfortable.
Lets explore the best things to do in Boulogne sur Mer:
It’s fitting that France’s National Sea Centre should be in Boulogne, where ambitious seaborne invasions have been plotted and where France’s most productive fishing port is located.
Nausicaá is directly on the harbour and is among the largest aquariums in Europe.
Kids will get the most from the attraction, being able to go face-to-face with sharks, caiman in the mangrove area and tropical fish on a coral reef, and now they can also see what certain species feel like in the “tactile pool”. In the last decade or so Nausicaá has also added spaces for African penguins and Californian sea lions, both definite crowd-pleasers.