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Tuck into the burgers of Calais - Mary Kenny

Regulars | By Mary Kenny

The French port of Calais is relaunching itself as a seaside resort. Mary Kenny can’t wait to swim – and eat – there

Calais is anxious to counteract its image as a sad port with depressed migrants trying to cross the Channel.

So it’s ‘relaunching itself as an attractive seaside resort’, with a €46 million (£39.4 million) renovation of the seafront and the leisure facilities. The municipality is hoping that British motoring tourists crossing to France will stop off for a visit, rather than just rushing off southwards.

It is a little-known fact that Calais already has a stunning, sandy beach, with civilised facilities such as shower areas and public changing huts, seldom provided at the British seaside. It’s well worth a stopover.

Calais has some excellent restaurants, a decent bookshop in the ‘Espace culturel’on the Boulevard Jacquard, and an old Notre Dame church where General de Gaulle was married. It also has a fine Rodin statue in front of the Town Hall, ‘The Burghers of Calais’.

‘The Burgers of Calais’ might be a handy name for a hamburger joint but gastronomic friends recommend ‘Au Côte d’Argent’ by the quays for an exceptional dining experience.

I’ve enjoyed staying at a fine old hotel, the Meurice, with 18th century adornments and furniture, and an air of charming tranquillity: and it’s near a small Beaux-Arts museum.

The local authority is seeking to give the town ‘a Californian flavour’, with wooded boardwalk, skatepark and solarium, from where you can view the White Cliffs of Dover.

Calais is never going to be Meghan and Harry’s Santa Barbara, but it’s good to see it promoting its attractions. I hope to get a swim on golden Calais beach over the summer season.


The Rev. Ian Paisley often claimed the European Union was a Papist plot - and now the Vatican has put Robert Schuman, ‘the father of Europe’ on the road to Catholic sainthood. Schuman, an Alsatian who died in 1963, launched the embryonic EU by reconciling France and Germany in 1950. He has been made a ‘Venerable’ by Pope Francis, on the grounds >span class="s3"> he can deliver a couple of miracles, he will be the first politician to be canonised since St Thomas More, made a saint in 1935. Schuman was by all accounts a pious man and generous to the poor.

Yet there are also currently five British candidates for sainthood, including City financier and humanitarian Andrew Bertie, Elizabeth Prout, a Victorian nun who cared for destitute women in the Manchester slums, John Bradbourne, who ran a leper colony in what was Rhodesia, Margaret Sinclair, an Edinburgh lass who worked in the McVitie’s biscuit factory, and Cornelia Connolly, who had five children before becoming a nun and establishing a teaching order in Sussex.

Brexiteers may wish to champion the UK contenders!

This story was from August 2021 issue. Subscribe Now