Calais is a city located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, it is the second administrative centre of Pas-de-Calais. The city accounts for about 75,000 inhabitants called the Calaisiens. Calais is renowned for having a privileged location close to the UK and being thus an important place for both French and English people who want to reach the neighbouring country - France or England according to the case.
Calais is the largest city of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. It was formerly a small fishermen village but became over the years a place not to be missed in northern France. It overlooks the Strait of Dover which separates the English Channel and the North Sea. Calais is the major ferry crossing point between France and England. Calais’ port represents the most important part of the local economy, but other industries are present in the town such as lace making, paper industry and chemicals. The city is famous amongst British people given its history: Calais belonged to England from 1360 to 1558.
This place is great for holidays as it has a 1km-long sandy beach where people can relax during summer as well as numerous monuments and places of interest. Calais suffered a lot from WWII and many of its monuments were destroyed, but the town managed to face this and is now an important touristy centre of the north of France. The town hall of Flemish Renaissance style, the belfry listed by UNESCO, the Lace Museum and fort are only a few examples of the jewels that the city has on offer.
Property prices in Calais are really affordable. In 2008, an apartment cost between €1,520 /sq m and €2,200 /sq m, which is pretty low in comparison with the department average: €3,723 /square metre. In May 2009, you should count about €1,760/sq m if you planned to buy a house in Calais. Prices for houses have been decreasing since August 2008, going from €2,200 /sq m to €1,780 /sq m in 9 months. As regards houses, below are some examples of prices in 2008:
54.7% of the inhabitants rent their property, so we can deduce from this figure that there are opportunities on the rental market. Given the number of holidaymakers who stay in the town just before leaving France or after arriving in the country, investing in a B&B or hostel accommodation would for sure insure great return on investment.
To get updated info about property prices in Pas-de-Calais, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Nord Pas de Calais Property Prices.
Shopping: Calais is the heaven for shopping lovers. Apart from the numerous shops where you can buy fine cheese, local wines, chocolate and so on, the Cité Europe is an unbeatable place to shop, ideal for a perfect shopping-day. Located only 4km from Calais, in Coquelles, this big shopping centre attracts many people all year round. Calais is also renowned for its lace production. You will find the very sought-after lace of Calais in local shops.
Monuments: the city houses outstanding monuments and places of interest. The Flemish Renaissance style town hall and the belfry - listed in the World Heritage of UNESCO - are not to be missed. The ‘Watch Tower’ (Tour de Guet) is one of Calais’ oldest monuments: built during the 13th century, the 38m-high tower is listed as an historical monument since 1931. The citadel was constructed on the vestiges of a medieval castle during the 16th century. The place d’Armes (‘weapons’ square’) is one of the biggest squares of the city and the place where street markets and fairs are held. Nieulay fort dates from the 17th century and used to protect the area in case of invasion. It is impossible to go around all the jewels that Calais has on offer, so you should visit the city and make your own judgement about this lovely place.
Events: from painting exhibitions to concerts of varied kind of music (hip hop, classical music, pop rock music…), going through street markets, celebrations, theatre plays and dance shows, Calais has many events and festivals on offer. History lovers will enjoy visiting the WWII Museum which tells a lot about the city and area during the war. The Fine Arts and Lace Museum is also worthwhile.
Location – transport links: Calais is not only the arrival point of the ferries from UK. When you go to the west of the city, you reach the Côte d'Opale, an extremely scenic cliff-lined section of coast which is very famous amongst both French and foreign holidaymakers (Cap Blanc-Nez, Cap Gris-Nez, Le Touquet, Boulogne-sur-mer, Hardelot, etc.). Only 30 miles from Dover, Calais has a privileged location as it allows easy access from and to UK, Paris and also north-western Europe. The easiest way to reach Calais from the UK is of course to take a ferry from Dover. In less than 2 hours, you will be on the French land. If you prefer to travel by air, you will have to take a plane to Paris and then hire a car to drive to Calais or take the train. There are indeed direct rail links to Calais from the French capital. The Eurostar and Eurotunnel are other solutions when travelling to the city.
Up and coming area - return on investment: given the popularity of the town as a ferry crossing point between France and England, there will always be a sustained demand for properties in the area as people are interested in having a pied-a-terre when arriving in France. Property prices are affordable and the city is a thriving industrial and commercial centre, so it offers a good future return on investment.
Town houses: these properties are constructed most of the time of red bricks, the roof being made of tiles or slates. They are attached or semi-attached and have small-to-large dimensions. They have a very practical layout and may come with a garden, garage, cellar, attic and/or courtyard (depending on the size of the property). Town houses are prefect for a first investment and for families as they are located close to all amenities ie schools, shops, post office and so on.
Farmhouses/cottages: in Calais’ surroundings, we can fin many farmhouses or cottages. As located in quiet and natural areas, they offer nice views over the countryside. Farmhouses have large dimensions and come with outbuildings, a closed courtyard - this is the particularity of farmhouses of northern France - and a large piece of land. Farmhouses and cottages are also constructed of red bricks as it is the major construction material of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, but stone and cement can also be used to build such properties.
Click here for more info about the Architecture in Nord Pas de Calais.
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