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Welcome to Dunkirk and French Flanders !
Well known throughout the world as the scene for Operation Dynamo in 1940, Dunkerque is one of the few places in Europe that seamlessly combines a wealth of history with fabulous boutique shops, hypermarkets, delightful restaurants, a stunning golf course and miles of sweeping sandy beaches at the seaside resort of Malo-les-Bains. Access is easy thanks to DFDS’ high quality ferry link.
There are a number of places for visitors to take a look through a window into the past including the Battle of Dunkerque museum (Mémorial du souvenir) which houses a collection of war time relics and moving photographs. There have also been a number of memorials erected over the years to including The British Memorial, The Fort des Dunes and The memorial to the battles of May and June 1940 are all located within easy walking distance and pay tribute to all those that fought at Dunkerque.
Discover Dunkerque’s maritime history at the Port Museum and on board the Duchesse Anne, a stunning schooner dating from 1901. Curious as to how ports work nowadays ? Take the boat trip on board « le Texel » through the impressive landscape of France’s third biggest port.
Dunkerque is also home to the prestigious Lieu d’Art et Action Contemporaine (LAAC) which houses an eclectic mix of contemporary art from the 1950s through to the present day. The rich collection of the Fine Arts Museum includes paintings and sculpture from Flemish, French, Dutch and Italian masters .
In the surrounding countryside, a number of typical Flemish villages boast beautiful churches, windmills and fascinating museums. The peaceful walled town of Gravelines was left surprisingly unspoilt during the great wars and still retains a great deal of French architecture to savour. In addition to the city itself there are the boat rides on the canals to enjoy. Bergues is still contained within ramparts for over five kilometers. Surrounded by greenery, these walls provide a walk that is as magnificent as it is instructive. There is no doubt you will be won over by the attractive traditional old houses and private mansions.
Unlike its neighbour, Dunkerque, Gravelines still retains a number of buildings that capture the delights of 16th and 17th Century French architecture. This stunning example of a fortified city can be found almost immediately outside the passenger port and is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the French way of life.
Established in the 21th Century, Gravelines offers a number of historical sites not to be missed from Guard Rooms, barracks, bowl'sdoor and belfry tower all of which constitue its heritage. These historical buildings are now under the inheritance of UNESCO to ensure their preservation for future generations to visit, enjoy and learn about the past.
Created by British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, the Chapel of Light, this impressive work of art, a stunning group of 15 sculptures laid out over 450m2, forms part of the project to restore the choir of the church of Saint John the Baptist at Bourbourg.