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Boulogne - To See & Do - Recommended

Rue de Lille

Once known as the Street of Cooks, this busy street has always been lined with inns, hostelries and taverns for hundreds of years. It was also home to the candle-makers who sold their candles to the pilgrims who came to see Our Lady of Boulogne. Nowadays the cobbled, pedestrianised street is lined with restaurants, shops and wine bars.

Rue Guyal Jardin Valentine Hugo

This pretty cobbled street used to house the merchants’ guilds and now leads to the gardens of Valentine Hugo.

The Annonciades (Library)

The impressive façade of the library dates back to the 13th century when the Grey Sisters of the Hospice of St Catherine looked after the sick and the pilgrims that came to the town. 1628, the Convent of the Annonciades was found in the same building, and the elegant chapel can still be seen. Nowadays the Library has an impressive collection of 500,000 books, 1,150 manuscripts, and 88 early printed books.

The Palais de Justice (Law Courts)

The Law Courts date back to 1852 and the building’s façade was inspired by a Grecian temple. The carved pediment and the statues in the niches on the façade represent Law protected by Justice, the allegorical figures of Commerce, Industry, Arts and Crafts, Charlemagne and Napoleon.

The Musée Libertador San Martin

The Museum is contained within the house that was originally inhabited from 1848 until his death by the Argentine General, José de San Martin, who liberated Argentina from Spanish rule in 1816, and freed Chile in 1817 and Peru in 1821. His remains are now contained within the Crypte Notre Dame.

The Promenade San Martin & The Beach

The sandy beach is perfect for children and adults alike, with a variety of water sports to enjoy throughout the year. The Promenade San Martin is dominated by the statue of the Argentine Libertador, José de San Martin, inaugurated in 1909, and is also busy with shops and stalls in the summer. Visitors can also walk out to the little red lighthouse and enjoy the views across the water.

The Palais Impérial / Hôtel Désandrouin

Built in 1777 by the Viscount Désandrouin, a wealthy Boulogne industrialist, the Imperial Palace was once the headquarters of the Grande Armée with Napoleon staying there first in 1803 as First Consul and returning as Emperor in 1810 and 1811. Today it has been restored and furbished in period style and houses the Research Centre of the University.

The Poudrière (Powder Magazine)

One of the original powder magazines from the Camp de Boulogne, which has been beautifully restored and can now be reached at the top of the cliff near Nausicaä.

Place Dalton and the Church of St Nicholas

The Place Dalton is home to the colourful market, which takes place on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, overlooked by the Church of St Nicholas.

Further Afield

The Parc Naturel Regional Boulonnais and the Fôret de Boulogne

Boulogne is surrounded by the nature reserve of the Parc Naturel Regional Boulonnais which stretches for 100km from the bay of Authie to the Oye beach, and is made up of cliffs, dunes and marshes, creating a safe haven for birds and plants. Visitors can enjoy guided tours along its footpaths. The Forest of Boulogne covers 200 hectares and has many sign-posted footpaths for visitors to ramble along.

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