As part of our road trip through Europe, Boulogne-sur-Mer happened to be our first stop in France and it was a surprisingly pleasant one. As it turned out, Boulonge was not only located by the sea as indicated by the addition sur-Mer, but it had also been quite an important harbor town throughout the centuries. Initially founded during Roman times, Boulogne became known as the major port used by the Romans to conquer and rule Britain.
After a brief period of Germanic presence and an alternating occupation of French and English kingdoms during the Middle Ages, Boulogne finally ended up as an imperial city of France. At some point William the Conqueror passed through this port town to invade Britain and even Napoleon once attempted to do the same with Boulogne-sur-Mer as the base. During the First World War it became the major port for the British troops to land in France and WW2 saw Boulogne-sur-Mer once more as a strategic and war decisive harbor city.
Nowadays Boulogne-sur-Mer seemed to be split in two. On the one hand there was the lower new town with the port which unfortunately had made a comeback as concrete city after its complete destruction at the end of WW2, while on the other hand there was the beautifully preserved old town. This walled old town of Boulogne-sur-Mer consisted not only of nice historical buildings, but also a complete city wall, a medieval castle, a Notre-Dame Basilica with a tall standing dome and even a UNESCO inscribed belfry from the 12th century. Exploring this old town with its little alleys and shaded ramparts on foot was definitely the perfect thing to do…
Impressions of Boulogne-sur-Mer Old Town
City Wall and Ramparts
Chateau and Castle Museum
Basilica of Notre Dame Cathedral
Main Street Rue de Lille
Houses of the Side Streets
TIP: There was a caravan camp site just north of Boulogne-sur-Mer and the splendid sunset views over the sea actually make up for the lack of facilities. Arrive late and leave early if you like to avoid payment.
Do you enjoy exploring walled old towns like Boulogne-sur-Mer as well?
This post is part of Travel Photo Mondays and Sunday Traveler above.