Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode


Innovative exhibits trace the history of lacemaking – the industry that once made Calais a textile powerhouse – from hand knotting (some stunning samples are on display) through the Industrial Revolution. The highlight is watching a century-old mechanical loom with 3500 vertical threads and 11,000 horizontal threads bang, clatter and clunk according to instructions provided by perforated Jacquard cards. Signs are in English and French.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Calais attractions

1. Hôtel de Ville

0.31 MILES

Inaugurated in 1925, Calais' Hôtel de Ville (city hall) melds Flemish and Renaissance styles, as does its 78m-high, Unesco-listed beffroi (belfry) topped…

2. Burghers of Calais

0.34 MILES

In front of Calais' ornate Hôtel de Ville stands the first cast of Rodin's famous sculpture Les Bourgeois de Calais (The Burghers of Calais; 1889), which…

3. Musée Mémoire 1939–1945


Housed in a massive concrete bunker built as a German naval headquarters, this WWII museum displays thousands of period artefacts, including weapons,…

4. Plage de Calais

1.42 MILES

Children can splash in the shallow, clear waters of Calais' cabin-lined city beach (patrolled by lifeguards in summer), while its fine sand is ideal for…

5. Blériot Plage

3.22 MILES

This broad, gently sloping sandy beach stretching for 8km is safe for swimming and gets packed in summer.

6. Cap Blanc-Nez


Southwest of Calais, just past Sangatte, the coastal dunes give way to cliffs that culminate in windswept, 134m-high Cap Blanc-Nez, which affords…

7. Brasserie Artisanale des 2 Caps

11.21 MILES

Historic farm buildings deep in the countryside house one of northern France's best artisan breweries, established in 2003. Sample and buy here, or look…

8. Cap Gris-Nez

13.22 MILES

Topped by a lighthouse and a radar station that keeps track of the hundreds of ships that pass by here each day, the 49m-high cliffs of Cap Gris-Nez are…