The faded seaside town in Europe given £750m facelift | Travel News | Travel

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Throughout the years, Calais has gained a reputation as a seedy haven for booze-loving cruise passengers. 

Its image was not helped by the ‘Calais Jungle’ migrant camp constructed in 2015, which became the source of significant political tension. 

Needless to say, the port city was neither top of travel agents’ recommendations, nor tourists’ bucket lists. 

Despite receiving around 10 million visitors per year, it’s unfortunately the case that people simply stop off at Calais whilst on a journey to glitzier, more exciting destinations. 

However, a near-£750million investment package lasting 15 years has begun to turn this reputation around, making Calais a prime holiday destination once again. 

After the first phase of investment, Calais now offers tourists a sparkling white beach and a shiny new promenade. 

This new promenade is the ideal spot for any family to spend the day. It has smooth paths perfect for cycling, scootering, or rollerskating. Or, simply take a stroll down it and admire the glittering English Channel.  

Another awesome feature of Calais, arguably the star of the show if we dare say so, is its resident dragon. 

Yes, you heard right. The forty-foot-tall metal dragon is truly spectacular. Capable of breathing fire as it carries 48 passengers up and down the promenade, this dragon roars and flaps its wings with the help of four skilled puppeteers. 

This isn’t the only mechanical beast in sight, however. Admittedly a little smaller than its mythical elder brother, the Sentinel Iguana is a 13-foot lizard that tourists can even have a go at controlling themselves! 

And this is just the beginning for Calais, with these two creatures being the first in a 13-strong lineup of mechanical reptiles due to roaming throughout the city. 

If you’d prefer your visit to have a more historical, artsy focus, head to the Museum of Lace and Fashion. Marvel at the spectacular array of historical fashion, and catch a glimpse of what life as a 19th Century lacemaker was like. 

Similarly impressive is the Fine Arts Museum, which hosts one of the most amazing Rodin sculpture collections in the world. 

Calais is also home to a fantastic array of street art and sculpture. For a relaxed afternoon out, grab an ice cream from a local café and wander the city in search of them. 

Local gastronomy has always been marvellous and remains so today. Calais is filled with top-tier boulangeries selling all manner of delectable sweet treats. Pop into Aux Délices de Calais on Boulevard Jacquard and indulge in a Le Calais cake. 

For your evening meal, a seafood restaurant is a must-visit. If you’re craving a regional fish supper, head to Le Grand Bleu.

Wanting something a bit different? Why not try Restaurant Marrakech on Boulevard des Allies and sample some delicious Moroccan dishes? 

As for hotels, you will be spoilt for choice. Alongside the typical Ibis and Holiday Inn offerings is an array of brilliant accommodation options. 
For a luxury stay, opt for the Chateaux de Cocove, a 5-star option that lets you stay in a stunning 18th-century manor just outside the main city.

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