The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 24

Bringing you the best of France - full length features on Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Montpellier, Boulogne, Le Havre, the Dordogne, the French Alps and loads more. Delicious recipes, brilliant guides - don't miss this jam-packed issue - it's the next best thing to being there...

Historic centre Looking

Historic centre Looking like something out of a film set, Boulogne-sur-Mer's Ville Haute, a perfectly preserved medieval city, is a must-see. Head to the tourist office to find out what’s on in town and climb the UNESCO listed Belfry which dates back to the 12th century. There are 183 steps going right to the top from where there are stunning views over the city. The tower contains a museum of Celtic remains dating from the Roman occupation of the City and cannon balls fired on the city by Henry VIII when he laid siege to the town in 1544. the inhabitants closed the gate, Porte de Degrés and it stayed that way until 1895! Now you can walk through the gates, climb the stairs and stroll around the ancient, boulevard-wide ramparts. Guided tours are provided in both English and French languages. There are seventeen towers around the ramparts and from Gayette tower, near the Porte des Dunes, you’ll spot a plaque dedicated to Pilatre de Rozier, the first person to fly a Montgolfier balloon over Paris. In 1785 he attempted to cross the Channel from the ramparts. It was not successful; he is buried at Wimille a little way around the coast. Basilica Notre-Dame The Basilica of Notre-Dame in the old town is astonishing. Built on the site of other churches dating to AD636, it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, this place is unique, unusual and utterly fascinating. Taking a pinch from Rome’s Pantheon, London’s St Paul’s Cathedral and Les Invalides in Paris it was designed by a priest with no architectural experience – and it is magnificent.

There is a brass hand in the church and visitors are invited to place their hands over it and pray for a miracle. Inside it is a sliver of wood said to come from a statue of the Virgin Mary which, legend claims, was pushed ashore at Boulogne-sur-Mer by Angels. In 1477, Louis XI declared it a "true Madonna", and the relic bought pilgrims and Kings to the town. Alas the statue was destroyed in the French Revolution, only the slither remains. The walls of the church are adorned with plaques sent by those who prayed here and were granted their wish. The crypt is astounding and enormous. In fact it's one of the biggest in France at over 100m long and truly beautiful. Decorated in Romanesque style, the walls are covered with frescoes and there are precious relics on display. Here Edward II of England married Isabelle of France in 1308. Their son Edward III later started the 100 years war. Market The Saturday morning market at Place Dalton is buzzing and has plenty of stalls selling local produce wicker baskets, tablecloths and more. (Also held Wednesday though not quite as big). Take a break in one of the many cafés on the square. If you love cheese, nip to Philippe Olivier's famed fromagerie, just follow your nose as this shop stocks all your smelly favourites! Just down the road you’ll find the former home of Argentinian-born General José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras. Better known as José de San Martín, he liberated Argentina (1816), Chile (1817) and Peru (1812) from Spanish rule and is considered the “Father of Argentina”. He lived in this house from 1848 until his death in 1850 and it is today a museum and a place that honours his memory. Read more about it here…

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