Calais

Calais (/ˈkæleɪ/ CAL-ay, traditionally /ˈkælɨs/; ; Dutch: Kales) is a town and major ferry port in northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras. The population of the metropolitan area at the 1999 census was 125,584. Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 mi) wide here, and is the closest French town to England. The White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day from Calais. Calais is a major port for ferries between France and England, and since 1994, the Channel Tunnel has been linked to nearby Coquelles from Folkestone by rail.

Due to its position, Calais since the Middle Ages has been a major port and a very important centre for transport and trading with England. It was annexed by Edward III of England in 1347 and grew into a thriving centre for wool production. Calais was a territorial possession of England until its capture by France in 1558. The town came to be called the "brightest jewel in the English crown" owing to its great importance as the gateway for the tin, lead, lace and wool trades (or "staples"). In 1805 it was a staging area for Napoleon's troops for several months during his planned invasion of the United Kingdom. The town was virtually razed to the ground during World War II, when in May 1940, it was a strategic bombing target of the invading German forces who took the town during the Siege of Calais. During World War II, the Germans built massive bunkers along the coast in preparation for launching missiles on England.

The old part of the town, Calais proper (known as Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. The modern part of the town, St-Pierre, lies to the south and southeast. In the centre of the old town is the Place d'Armes, in which stands the former Hôtel-de-ville, now the town hall and police offices. The belfry belongs to the 16th and early 17th century. Close by is the Tour du Guet, or watch-tower, a structure dated to the 13th century which was used as a lighthouse until 1848 when a new lighthouse was built by the port. The church of Notre-Dame, built during the English occupancy of Calais, is arguably the only church built in the English perpendicular style in all of France. Today, Calais is visited by more than 10 million annually. Aside from being a key transport hub, Calais is also a notable fishing port and a centre for fish marketing and some 3,000 people are still employed in the lace industry for which the town is also famed.

Read more about Calais:  Geography and Climate, Demographics, Economy, Education, Sport, Transport

Other articles related to "calais":

List Of Railway Lines In France - Regional Lines (RFF) - Nord-Pas-de-Calais
... railway Arras–Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise Boulogne–Calais railway Busigny–Somain (via Cambrai) Coudekerque-Branche–Fontinettes railway (Dunkerque–Calais) Ferri ...
Communauté D'agglomération Du Calaisis
... d'agglomération du Calaisis was created on December 28, 2000 and is located in the Pas-de-Calais département, in northern France ... Coquelles Coulogne Marck, Pas-de-Calais Sangatte Calais ...
List Of Captains, Lieutenants And Lords Deputies Of English Calais
... The town of Calais, now part of France, was in English hands from 1347 to 1558, and this page lists the commanders of Calais, holding office from the English Crown, called at different ...
Avesnes (disambiguation)
... is the name of several villages and towns in France Avesnes, département Pas-de-Calais Avesnes (Somme), département Somme, former municipality, now part of Vron ... Seine-Maritime Avesnes-le-Comte, département Pas-de-Calais Avesnes-les-Aubert, département Nord Avesnes-lès-Bapaume, département Pas-de-Calais Avesnes-le ...
SS Bessemer - Career
... The ship sailed from Dover to Calais on a private trial in April 1875 ... On arrival, it sustained damage to a paddle-wheel when it hit the pier at Calais, due to its failure to answer to the helm at slow speed ... After two attempts to enter the harbour, it crashed into the Calais pier again, this time demolishing part of it ...