21 November 2016
Plan your Christmas shopping trip now to snap up some unusual gifts and goodies for the Festive Season. There are such great deals available with the ferry companies it would be foolish not to take advantage of the super low prices with Aferry.co.uk. Of course on AFerry.co.uk, all the ferry companies are present so that you can compare and book all on the one site. DFDS, for example, have crossings to both Dunkirk and Calais (see below) - a dozen or more daily to Dunkirk and fifteen or so to Calais on a daily basis.
`If you opened my heart you would find Calais there' said Mary Tudor all those centuries ago. In fact Calais has always been a firm favourite with the English going right back to the fourteenth century when Edward III besieged the town. Calais stayed English right up to 1558. Homage to this fact is hewn into the very famous statue of the Burghers of Calais by Rodin that stands in the town centre.
Calais is the first passenger port of France. There is s stunning beach here too - perhaps a little chilly in winter but on a clear day you can see the white cliffs of Dover just 38 kilometres across the Channel.
Shopping in the town centre is an enjoyable experience indeed. The open-air market on the Place des Armes is a must on Wednesday or Saturday morning until 12.30. Maybe some smoked garlic strings will be on the shopping list? There are some lovely shops on the rue Royale such as Rene Classe for fine crockery and porcelain and Royal Chocolate whose sweets were once enjoyed by Henry IV. Calais is one of the finest producers of lace so maybe stop in Royal Dentelle for some place mats, tablecloths or lingerie that will make super gifts.
Otherwise the (warmer) place to shop is the Cite de l'Europe and the Marque Avenue Factory Outlet just out of town. Like the town-based emporia, the shops are open 9am-7pm daily (except ~Sunday). There are plenty of outlets on the way to the port to purchase stocks of wine and spirits, which are still very good value for us UK residents.
An alternative shopping destination is Dunkirk, the third largest harbour in France and a port from the eighth century onwards. It is the most industrial port in France producing principally steel and oil products.
The big shopping centre here is Auchan which has an agreement with local producers so buy your Christmas turkey from Licques Volailles or more unusually your rabbit from Lapins d'Artois. Otherwise look for gifts in Boulanger (electrical goods), TrTsor (household goods) or St.Maclou (rugs).
The main shopping streets in town are boulevard Alexandre III, rue Sainte Barbe, rue Clemenceau and the rue Nationale where you will find shops like the gorgeous cheese counter of Cremerie La Ferme. Wine outlets are abundant - try Chateau Expert on the rue de Cambrai. The open-air market is on Wednesday and Saturday 8am-4pm.