Many people thinking of moving to France want to live by the sea. While you might first think of the Mediterranean waters in the south or the Atlantic waves in the west, the seaside towns in northern France certainly have plenty to offer too. And there’s the added bonus of their location just a short hop across the Channel from the UK.
Situated just half an hour from Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer is France’s largest fishing port, and as the tourist office states, the town has “always lived to the rhythm of fishing”. If you’re an early riser, you can join other locals for a sunrise walk along the wind-whipped harbour where you will see the town’s fishermen bringing in their catch which they sell daily at Quayside Gambetta. Locals here have first pick from a varied selection of seafood including crab, lobster, langoustines and mussels before they are transported all over Europe. You can pick up other foodie delights at the open-air market on Place Dalton. Taking place every Wednesday and Saturday from 8am-12pm, the market is crammed full of stalls selling everything from fruits and vegetables to flowers, fresh herbs, homemade bread and locally made butter.
The sun-drenched south of France it is not, but Boulogne-sur-Mer is endearingly authentic. Plus, it has rainy days sorted in the form of Nausicaä Centre National de la Mer; one of Europe’s premier aquariums. Little ones will love the touch tank where they can stroke sting rays or better still, take them out to explore the rock pools at the beach. Set on the Opal Coast, Boulogne-sur-Mer has no shortage of long, sandy beaches where the familiar cry of seagulls, fresh salty sea air and crashing waves will make you feel right at home.