EUROPEAN UNION OF AQUARIUMS CURATORS Conference 2019 october 14 - 18

Less than a two-hour journey from London and the South East, NAUSICAA is located on Europe’s most unspoiled stretch of coastline, the Côte d’Opale – Opal Coast. A visit to NAUSICAA can also include time to discover Boulogne-sur-Mer, France’s biggest fishing port and Europe’s biggest seafood processing centre.

A holder of the Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (City of Art and History) label, Boulogne-sur-Mer offers many must-see attractions : its fortified city, its UNESCO World Heritage-listed belfry, and its Basilica of Notre-Dame.

Other tourist towns are located less than an hour away : Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a chic seaside resort, Hardelot with its Franco-British castle, and Calais with its Museum for Lace and Fashion. The Opal Coast is adopting responsible and sustainable tourism as the ethos for the region and its cultural and gastronomic hotspots.

A country to travel

France is the most visited country in the world, reasons to include its easy-to-reach locations, various landscapes and sea shores, French history, French lifestyle and French cuisines. NAUSICAA is a real driving force for tourism in the Hauts-de-France region which, with its six million inhabitants, is France’s third most heavily populated region. NAUSICAA aspires to be among France’s five most visited tourist attractions alongside such sites as Disneyland, Puy du Fou, Futuroscope and Parc Astérix. 

A central location in Europe with a strong link to the sea

Boulogne-sur-Mer is ideally located in the north of France, 2 hours from London, Paris, Brussels by train or motorway. Besides, Boulogne-sur-mer is the biggest fish port in France, and the biggest place in Europe for seafood trade and processing. Universities, research laboratories specialized in marine biology and technology a sea are also located in Boulogne-sur-Mer. 

A high quality environment

The Opal Coast around Boulogne is a large marine and land protected area, with cliffs, sandy and rocky beaches; it offers shelter to many migratory species of birds and sea mammals. A lot of sightseeing is available all along the coast. The area is rich in natural beauty, close to Cap Gris-Nez, Cap Blanc-Nez and Regional Park forests.

Leisure on the Opal Coast: a choice of sustainable activities

Tourists can discover Boulogne-sur-Mer and the surrounding area by trying the various sports activities that are on offer. There is something for everyone : hiking, cycling, tennis, horse riding or outdoor activities ranging from land sailing to kayaking and kite surfing…

Deux Caps : a « grand site de France »

The department of Pas-de-Calais gained the « Grand Site de France » (Great Site of France) label on 29 March 2011 for its iconic coastline featuring Deux Caps. It is known and recognized for its outstanding scenery, its colors and the special quality of its light. This stretch of coastline measuring 23 kilometers and includes eight communes. With nearly 7,000 hectares of classified and designated land, this natural area features stunningly beautiful cliffs, Fort Vauban in Ambleteuse, local flint farmhouse and the art deco steeple of Audinghen Church. 

Somme bay : a « grand site de France » 

The Opal Coast neighbors the 70-kilometers-long Picardy coastline. It includes the Somme Bay, which ranks among the world’s prettiest bays and was awarded the « Grand Site de France » label in June 2011. Visitors can observe France’s biggest colony of harbor seals here, as well as the thousands of migratory birds that have found refuge in this area.

A link with the past of human society

Boulogne-sur-Mer is a city of history. A Roman town, with its city walls from the 13th century, its imposing cathedral and its medieval crypt still intact. From Julius Caesar to Napoleon then to the world wars of the last century, numerous memorials and monuments can be seen all around. Dunkirk and Calais are less than one hour away and the beaches of Normandy are 2 hours drive away. 

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Notre-Dame Cathedral 

Notre-Dame Cathedral, which you can’t fail to spot due to its position in the Upper Town, is an iconic location in the city. You can also visit the crypt.

Medieval architecture

You will soon notice the city’s medieval character when you visit the belfry, the ramparts, Saint-Nicolas Church or the old town with its cobbled streets. 

Castle Museum 

Another must-see attraction in the Boulonnais region is the museum. It houses Greek and Egyptian archaeological treasures and also offers other permanent or temporary exhibitions. 

A way of life

Every aspect of the French lifestyle can be experienced in Boulogne-sur-Mer and its surroundings : traditional markets, shopping malls, cafe, bakeries, restaurants of all sorts, as well as quality facilities such as golf, horse-riding and an abundance of water sports. The British lifestyle is only 1 hour away, and the Opal Coast has strong English associations. Le Touquet, Hardelot and Wimereux owe their origins largely to turn-of-the-century English visitors. 

Beaches

There are many beaches along the Boulonnais coastline, each with its own unique character, from the seafront promenade in Wimereux to the wilder beaches of Audresselles or Équihen. 

Markets 

You will find markets on the Place Dalton, the Boulevard Clocheville, the Place Vignon on the Chemin Vert or Damrémont, where you can sample delicious regional produce.

Banks of the Liane 

Enjoy a stroll along a 5.2 km route that loops around the city’s river. The pedestrian and cycle lanes in these towns will enable you to discover the whole of the Lower Town.

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