Last updated: 12:00 AM ET, Tue January 01 2013
The Basilique Notre-Dame viewed from the 13th century Boulogne Chateau in the coastal town of Boulogne-sur-Mer in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region of France. (Photo via SteveAllenPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


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The Basilica of Notre Dame is an architectural showpiece glistening in the heart of Boulogne -sur –Mer.  It showers its onlookers with a scintillating Classical and Renaissance appearance, which echoes the beauty and sanctity preserved in its majestic halls.  The cathedral was constructed by the renowned Father Haffreingue during the 19th century, who daringly beautified it with a 128-meter long crypt, Corinthian columns, Latin cross, as well as a Roman temple to manifest the historic significance of its artistic façade.  The Basilica of Notre Dame is one of the many jewels behind Boulogne -sur -Mer, France’s magnificence.  The city’s splendor will amaze whosoever enters its magical realm; while its French exoticness will fulfill your deepest vacation desires. 

As the largest port city of France, Boulogne -sur -Mer reigns as the sub capital of the Pas-de-Calais division of Northern France.  During its early settlement, it was home to the Romans who referred to the city as Bononia.  However, in the 19th century, Boulogne -sur –Mer played a vital role in France’s history as the location where Napoleon searched for his Grande Armée (Great Army) to fight against the British. 

With such an impressive history, an exploration of its iconic gems will appear as though you have entered into a time machine.  A tour of The Old Town will be astonishing as 13th century buildings emerge right before your eyes.  The Castle Museum is a medieval masterpiece housing Egyptian and Greek antiques, ancient collections from Africa and Oceania, in addition to Inuit masks. The Belfry (watch tower) is an emblematic testament of public freedom that also houses a museum.   Towering at 54 meters high, The Column of the Great Army pays homage to Napoleon’s conquest for England.   The Church of St. Nicholas situated in the Town Center is also a colonial jewel with its adornments of gothic décor.  For tourists in need of aquatic thrills, Boulogne -sur -Mer‘s marina offers a wide spectrum of adventures including fishing and yachting.

Although sightseeing in Boulogne -sur –Mer is a must, so is shopping for souvenirs at its vibrant shops.  On Wednesday and Saturday the market of the Place Dalton bursts at the seams with “made in France” treasures from chocolates to clothing.  The shopping center is also where many shopaholics escape to empty their wallets on the city’s rich souvenirs as well as designer fashions. 

If it is seafood that you want then it is seafood you shall have! With a vibrant harbor overflowing with fish, mussels, clams, and other delicacies, the atmosphere of the city is intoxicated by the rich scents of daily catches cooked to perfection for your enjoyment.

Boulogne -sur –Mer experiences a humid temperate climate.  During June to September (warm season) the temperatures average between the low-70s and dropping to the mid-50s at night.  From November to March (cold season) the weather fluctuates within the high-40s to mid-30s.

There are several ways to get around Boulogne -sur –Mer and its surrounding areas.  Transports en Commun Region Boulonnaise offers local transportation and BCD is ideal for travelling to its neighboring towns.  The train also travels to its nearby cities as well as other European destinations.  Taxis can either be called from your hotel or flagged down from the street.  Veloc Opale supplies bicycle rentals for tourists wanting to tour Boulogne -sur –Mer while keeping off the vacation pounds.  Since many of the city’s trails are relatively narrow, it can also be explore on foot.