In front of Calais' ornate city hall stands the first cast of Rodin's famous sculpture Les Bourgeois de Calais (The Burghers of Calais; 1895), which portrays six local leaders (burghers) as they surrender to besieging English forces (the year is 1347) knowing that they will soon be executed – but hoping that their sacrifice will mean their fellow Calaisiens will be spared.

Edward III's wife, Philippa of Hainault, persuaded the English king that killing the hostages would be bad karma, so in the end both the brave burghers and the people of Calais survived.