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Calais is a major ferry port city located in northern France. Calais metropolitan area has population of around 127,000. This port city overlooks the English Channel's narrowest point - the Strait of Dover, which is just 34 km (21 ml) wide here. This makes Calais France's closest to England town.
Calais port serves a huge number of ferries between the UK (leaving mainly from Dover) and France. English Channel's crossing durations range between 35 min (to/from Folkestone) and 1,5 hours (to/from Dover). The inaugurated in May 1994 Channel Tunnel (aka Chunnel, length 50 km / 31,4 ml) linked by rail the nearby Coquelles to Folkestone.
Since the Middle Ages, due to its strategic location, Calais has been a major port and an important post serving the trade with England. In 1347, it was annexed by Edward III of England and grew into a centre for wool production. Calais was a territorial possession of England until 1558, when it was re-captured by France.
The town used to be called "the brightest jewel in the English crown" due to its great importance as a gateway for the tin, wool, lead and lace trades (or "staples"). In 1805, it was a staging area for the troops of Napoleon for several months during his invasion of the United Kingdom. The town was razed to the ground in the early months of WW2. In May 1940, it became a strategic bombing target for the invading Nazi Germany forces who took it on May 21, 1940 (during the Siege of Calais). The Germans built massive bunkers along the coast, in preparation for launching missiles on England.
Calais-Nord (the old part of the town) is located on an artificial island surrounded by harbours and canals. The modern part (St-Pierre) lies to the south and southeast. In the centre of Calais-Nord is the Place d'Armes, in which stands the Tour du Guet (watch-tower). The structure was created in the 13th century and served as a lighthouse until 1848. To the southeast of Place d'Armes is the church of Notre-Dame, built during the English occupation.
Calais cruise terminal
Boulogne Calais Port is the operator of both ports - Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer. The distance between them is 31 km (19 ml).
Calais Port ferry terminal
Port of Calais is connected to the Europe's motorway network directly via the following routes:
- Route A26-E15 serves central France, also providing access to Paris.
- Route A16-E40 accesses Northern Europe's Benelux motorway system (Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg).
- Route A16-E402 connects the port to Boulogne and the Normandy region.
- The terminal's ticket office is permanently staffed and operational 24 hours a day.
- The main ferry lines that operate to and from Calais are P&O Ferries UK, and DFDS Seaways.
- At approx 4 ml (6,5 km) from Calais is Coquelles, where is located the Eurotunnel terminal. Coquelles also offers a direct train link Calais - Paris.
- Calais Terminal's location (GPS coordinates) are: latitude (50:57:58N or 50.96622) and longitude (1:51:43E or 1.86201).
- Terminal's address is "Car Ferry Terminal, 62100 Calais, France".
Port's parking service is free - a public car park is located right in front the Terminal building. However, the parking lot is unsecured and vehicles owners park there at their own risk.
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