Are you looking for the best things to do in Boulogne Sur Mer? Look no further! In this article I will go into detail about what to do in this French coastal town. From tasting the best local food to visiting the aquarium and the hotel Napoleon Bonaparte stayed in between 1803 and 1811 – I got you covered!
If you are still looking for a great place to stay in Boulogne Sur Mer, have a look at my overview of the Best Airbnbs in Boulogne Sur Mer!
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Nausicaa is one of the biggest aquariums in Europe, and if you are ever wondering about what to do in Boulogne Sur Mer the you should definitely check this place out! The aquarium is fun for the friends and families alike as you can view a multitude of sea creatures, and even interact with them too! Come face-to-face with sharks, visit the mangrove area, or even see tropical fish on a coral reef. There are tons to do here, and tons of animals to see, a perfect activity to do if you are simply looking for things to do in Boulogne Sur Mer.
Visit the Boulogne Cathedral
Considered as one of the historical sites of Boulogne Sur Mer, you can bask yourself in history as you visit the cathedral which was first commissioned in 1801. The building has gone through its own share of history as it used to be burned down, damaged, and eventually repaired around the early 1800s. visiting the cathedral and learning about Boulogne Sur Mer’s history will be quite the activity, especially if you are interested in the overall history of Boulogne Sur Mer itself, which provides a great activity for you to do if you are looking for things to do in Boulogne Sur Mer.
Enjoy Boulogne Sur Mer’s special seafood
Now here is an activity worth looking forward to for all you food connoisseurs! Come and visit Boulogne’s wonderful seafood at Le Chatillon which is a seafood restaurant that has been feeding local sailors and dock workers since the 1950s. You can try out tons of seafood here including scrumptious scallops, oysters, mackerels, herrings, skates, and much more! Le Chatillon serves the finest products using fresh fish and ingredients that were sourced on that same day. This is a perfect place to visit whenever you are craving some food, or if you are wondering about things to do in Boulogne Sur Mer.
Eat like a local at Boulogne Sur Mer
Another thing to do in Boulogne Sur Mer is to simply go on a culinary adventure, whether it is local street food, or fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants, travelling around and trying out the local delicacies would be a great activity to do! There are tons of takeaway baraque and vans on the quayside that will serve you the best local food you can try. You can also try out the La Matelote which is a Michelin starred restaurant which is located near Nausicaa which serves special Monkfish medallion, a dish you won’t see very often! Finally, you can visit Place Dalton and try out more local dishes like le Welsh which is melted cheese poured over toasted bread and ham!
Visit a beautiful beach at Wimereux
Although technically not in Boulogne Sur Mer, Wimereux is just out of town where you can enjoy beautiful seashores and sandy beaches. If you are ever wondering about what to do in Boulogne Sur Mer, then visiting the beach can never go wrong! It is a popular spot for locals, and there is a beautiful sight called the Pointe aux Oies which is a kilometer’s walk from the beach. Pointe aux Oies is a natural spot on the coast where you can enjoy the natural landscapes and feel the ocean breeze as you relax near the sea. Be sure to try our L’Art des Mets if you are in Wimereux where they offer panoramic views and high-quality cuisine. Visiting Wimereux will definitely make your day an eventful one, and one you will not forget soon!
Visiting Cathedral Crypt
An ancient crypt that was discovered in 1827, this historical site was sealed for over 300 years. Visiting the crypt is one of the best things you can do in Boulogne Sur Mer due to its significance in archaeological discovery. The crypt itself is full of labyrinth of subterranean chambers and secret passageways full of painted walls. Currently, the crypt is fitted with lights, museography, and tons of treasures and sculptures dating back as far as the 1100s. The crypt is such a fascinating site to visit, and is another thing to do at Boulogne Sur Mer, such an ancient and historical discover that dates back hundreds of years is definitely worth the visit!
Visiting Ville Fortifiee
Another wonderful historical site, this wall was founded in the 1300s, and the design is derived from the Romans. This wall goes on for 1.5 kilometers and it is a simple castrum that has tons to see if you are walking alongside it. It includes a total of 20 towers, a multitude of stone passageways, gates, a moat, and a wonderful arched bridge that connects to the Chateau Comtal. Around the vicinity of the Ville Fortifee are little parks and benches where you can take breaks and enjoy the scenery while your kids have a bit of fun. It is intriguing to understand the history of this historical site, and also a pleasure to realize how it goes back hundreds of years back to the 1300s, simply a marvelous thing to understand.
Beffroi de Boulogne Sur Mer
Did you know that this building was once a castle that was built for the Count of Boulogne in the 1100s? The remains of the castle are all that’s left when you visit this historical site. If you are ever wondering about what to do in Boulogne Sur Mer, then visiting the remains of the castle is a great idea! Any archeological site that dates back to the 1100s warrants a must visit, especially when the site is well maintained like this one. This belfry is also one of the few belfries that survived the Second World War, which makes you realize how incredible this site is, and how much it has gone through. The history and experiences of hundreds of years, all experienced by the Beffroi de Boulogne Sur Mer, simply a wonderful place to visit due to its historical significance!
Visit the Fish Market
Come visit the fish market of Boulogne Sur Mer which is located on Quai Gambetta. It is recommended that you visit the fish market at seven in the morning, to see the local fishermen unloading their catch as you wander through the stales where a multitude of fish are on display. Witness the variety of fish and seafood that are on sale as you walk through the market, you are even allowed to pick up live seafood to inspect them if you are looking to buy some for yourself. Even if you aren’t buying any fish, you can visit the grocery market nearby which has a ton of stuff to purchase as you bring home some of the market’s special cheese and other goodies.
Visiting the beautiful Opal Coast
The Opal Coast is a natural park of sandy beaches, dunes as far as the eye can see. Such a beautiful sight would provide for a wonderful experience if you are looking for things to do at Boulogne Sur Mer. Just north of Boulogne is the Cap Gris-Nez which protrudes into the channel. The location is actually the closest point in mainland France to England. Definitely worth a visit if you are looking for things to do in Boulogne Sur Mer, a beautiful location that is worth the visit to take some pictures and immersing yourself in the beautiful dunes of white.
Taking a tour at Hotel Desandrouin
This hotel which is located on Place Godefroy de Bouilloy was built in the late 1770s during the reign of King Louis XVI. It is also known as the Palais Imperial, and was used as the staff headquarters for the army. Napoleon himself stayed at the hotel between 1803 and 1811. Do take the tour if you want to go in the hotel and learn about its extensive past. A guided tour will be provided and is a perfect place to visit if you are visiting Boulogne Sur Mer. Bask in the history, and enjoy the architectural significance of this wonderful historical site.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!