French commune

caption=Pier and lighthouse on the Calais seafront|

x = 130
y = 11
région=Nord-Pas de Calais
("sous-préfecture")| arrondissement=Calais
canton=Chief town of 4 cantons
maire=Natacha Bouchart (UMP) | mandat=2008-2014
intercomm= Communauté d'agglomération du Calaisis
alt moy=
alt mini=0 m
alt maxi=18 m
sans= 77,333
dens= 2,308

Calais (IPA2|kaˈlɛ; in English often IPAEng|kæˈleɪ, traditional English pronunciation IPA|/ˈkælɨs/; _nl. Kales) is a town in northern France. It is in the "département" of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a "sous-préfecture". Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's "préfecture" (capital) resides in its third-largest city of Arras.

The population of the city (commune) at the 1999 census was 77,333 inhabitants (74,800 as of February 2004 estimates). The population of the whole metropolitan area ("aire urbaine") at the 1999 census was 125,584.

Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 miles) wide here, and is the closest French town to England, of which Calais was a territorial possession for several centuries. The white cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day.

The old part of the town, Calais proper (or Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. The modern part of the town, St-Pierre, lies to the south and southeast.



The city's proximity to England has made it a major port for centuries. It is the principal ferry crossing point between England and France, with the vast majority of Channel crossings being made between Dover and Calais. The French end of the Channel Tunnel is also situated in the vicinity of Calais, in Coquelles some 4 miles (6 km) to the west of the town.

The mainstay of the town's economy is, naturally, its port, but it also has a number of indigenous industries. The principal ones are lace making, chemicals, and paper manufacture. It possesses direct rail links to Paris (148 miles / 238 km to the south).

As a result of the marked difference in taxation between Britain and France on such items as alcoholic beverages and tobacco, massive shopping complexes targeted at British day-trippers have sprung up on and around Calais to take advantage of the border trade. Such day trippers are colloquially known as "booze cruisers" and were the target of considerable attention from the UK Customs and Excise authorities. However, given that both the UK and France are members of the EU customs zone, there is no restriction on the movement of purchases between the two countries as long as the goods are for personal use. [ [ Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, UK] ]


As well as the large port, the town is served by two railway stations: Gare de Calais-Fréthun and Gare de Calais-Ville, the former being the first stop on mainland Europe of the Eurostar line.


Calais is represented in association football by the Calais RUFC, who will will compete in the Championnat National for the 2007-08 season having finished as Champions of the CFA Group A last season.

Main sights

Virtually the entire town was destroyed by heavy bombardments during World War II, so there is little in Calais that pre-dates the war. For most visitors, the town is simply a place to pass through "en route" to other destinations.

The town centre is dominated by its distinctive "hotel de ville" (town hall), built in the Flemish Renaissance style (and visible well out to sea). Directly in front of the town hall is a cast of the statue "The Burghers of Calais" (French "Les Bourgeois de Calais"), by Auguste Rodin.

The German wartime military headquarters, situated near the train station in a small park, is today open to the public as a war museum.

Immediately to the west is the Côte d'Opale, an extremely scenic cliff-lined section of coast that parallels the White Cliffs on the British coast and is part of the same geological formation.

On clear days, the buildings of Calais can quite readily be seen with the naked eye from the British shore, 33 km (21 miles) away.


External links

* [ Official Website] (in French)
* [ Agglomération] (in French)
* [ Info about the port and city] (in French)
* [ Port of Calais]
* [ Calais fortifications]
* [ Old Postcard Views of Calais]
* [ Photos of Calais in 3d (Anaglyphs).]
* [ 3D View of Castle of Calais from Henry VIII period Google Earth ]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Calais — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Calais (desambiguación). Calais Kales …   Wikipedia Español

  • Calais — Calais …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • CALAIS — Sous préfecture du Pas de Calais, la ville de Calais était, avec 75 309 habitants lors du recensement de 1990, la plus peuplée du département (agglomération: 101 768 hab.). Port de mer situé au nord du cap Blanc Nez, au débouché de plusieurs… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Calais — Calais, 1) (spr. lǟ) Seestadt im franz. Depart. Pasde Calais, Arrond. Boulogne, liegt in einer Entfernung von 37 km Dover gegenüber, nahe der schmälsten Stelle des Kanals (Pas de C.), an dem hier mündenden Schiffahrtskanal von C. (von der Aa nach …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Calais — ? Calais …   Википедия

  • Calais — Calais, Stadt im französischen Departement gleiches Namens, liegt am äußersten Punkte der Nordküste von Frankreich und den Küsten Englands am nächsten. Calais hat nur 9000 Einwohner, ist aber ungemein belebt durch die aus England kommenden oder… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Calais — Calais, 1) Souspräfectur im französischen Departement Pas de Calais; 2) Stadt u. Festung daselbst, im Arrondissement Boulogne, an der schmalsten Stelle des Kanals (La Manche, Pas de Calais), der hier nur 7 Stunden breit ist (Überfahrt nach… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • CALAIS — Boreae ex Orithyia filius alatus, qui una cum Zethe fratre similiter alato cum Argonautis Colchos profectus est. Qua in expeditione cum a Phineo Rege humaniter eslent accepti, Harpyias, quae epulas eius foedabant, persequi constituerunt: quas cum …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Calais — Calais, ME U.S. city in Maine Population (2000): 3447 Housing Units (2000): 1921 Land area (2000): 34.043047 sq. miles (88.171082 sq. km) Water area (2000): 5.980995 sq. miles (15.490704 sq. km) Total area (2000): 40.024042 sq. miles (103.661786… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Calais, ME — U.S. city in Maine Population (2000): 3447 Housing Units (2000): 1921 Land area (2000): 34.043047 sq. miles (88.171082 sq. km) Water area (2000): 5.980995 sq. miles (15.490704 sq. km) Total area (2000): 40.024042 sq. miles (103.661786 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Calais — (Calä), franz. Festung und Hafenstadt im Depart. des Pas de Calais, welche Meerenge hier nur 7 Stdn. breit ist, daher hier die kürzeste Ueberfahrt nach der engl. Küste. C. hat 11000 E., einen seichten, nicht ganz sicheren Hafen, ein Hauptzollamt …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”