Remembrance at the Menin Gate

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I have been travelling to the battlefields of Europe almost all of my adult life and for much of that time I have made the most of the convenience and speed offered by the Eurotunnel link between England and France. The history of North-West Europe sometimes makes for grim reading; the area is so peppered with historic battlefields and evidence of conflict that it is often described as the ‘Cockpit of Europe’. You literally only have to emerge from the tunnel at either end to find yourself on a battlefield. That said, battlefield touring is a fascinating and generally, outdoors activity, usually undertaken in the warmer months of the year. Perhaps though, like so many people in November, you are thinking of Remembrance? The CWGC is currently offering assistance with Battlefield Guides. 2018 marks the centenary of the 1918 Armistice and the eventual end of the Great War; the war that it was hoped would end all wars. The recent centenary commemorations have stimulated much new interest in the First World War. If you have family links and few do not, or you just want to pay your respects, why not take the opportunity to visit Flanders yourself this month and perhaps also attend an act of remembrance? Ypres Where in Belgium: West Flanders Drive from Calais: 92.1km / 1h 11m One of the most emotive battlefields of the FWW was the Ypres Salient at the heart of Belgian Flanders. A battlefield so close to the channel coast and the fighting so ferocious that the sound of the heavy guns were often heard in Kent. A salient is a bulge in an otherwise straight line of military positions; in this case British and Commonwealth forces around Ypres frustrated the advancing German Army by forming an inconvenient salient measuring roughly 25 x 15 kilometres. The Wipers Salient as it became known, was held stubbornly by the British and their Allies for the duration of the war. Menin Gate 54,896 names are listed inside Menin Gate. The main artery that fed men and material into the salient was the Menin Road. Troops marched into the line over its muddy cobbles, many sadly never to return. It was the symbolism of this route that later saw the construction of a Memorial to the Missing on the site of the original Menin Gate, a memorial at the entrance to the salient. Today’s Menin Gate is possibly the most famous memorial to missing war dead in the world, it is located in the reconstructed centre of the picturesque Belgian town of Ypres; just over an hour’s drive from Calais. The iconic gate was built after the Armistice in the style of a Roman Triumphal Arch, its purpose to record the names of missing soldiers of Britain, her Empire and its Commonwealth who marched into the maelstrom of combat in the muddy Salient. The gate was designed by Sydney Blomfeld in 1921, then completed and inaugurated in 1924. The stone panels of the gate list the names of 54,896 men who the fortunes of war denied a marked grave; they are all, as Rudyard Kipling stated ‘known unto god’. This staggering number is however not the full total; those listed were lost in what Churchill described as the ‘immortal salient’ from the outbreak of war in 1914 until 16 August 1917. A further 34,984 missing in the salient are listed on a huge memorial wall at the rear of the Tyne Cot Cemetery close to the infamous Passchendaele Ridge. The Ethos of the CWGC, equality in death and every casualty should were practicable have a marked grave or their name listed on a memorial to the missing. Credit: CWGC Last Post Ceremony It was during the opening ceremony at the Gate that Field Marshal Plumer epitomised in words the function of the memorial when he said to an assembled throng of bereaved mothers and widows, ‘He is not missing, he is here.’ The missing are not forgotten, since 1928 a simple daily ceremony has taken place at the gate, a solemn act of Remembrance carried out by the townspeople of Ypres. Since its inception the Last Post Ceremony has taken place under the Menin Gate every night at 8PM, only interrupted by German occupation during WW2. Buglers found from the Town Fire Brigade salute the missing by playing the last post bugle call every evening without fail. This simple evocative ceremony for which local traffic is stopped attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. Once experienced it is never forgotten. Should you be present at the ceremony you are considered to be taking part, not attending. You can in fact, should you wish, lay a wreath or a simple poppy cross during the ceremony. Further information is available on the website of the Last Post Association. Looking out onto the town of Ypres from inside Menin Gate. If you are going to take part in the Last Post Ceremony I advise you to get to the Gate at least 50 minutes before the ceremony at 2000 hours local time. Discover the sites of the Great War and the rebuilt town of Ypres. Plan your trip ahead and find the best fares, book your tickets early for the best price. Top image credit: CWGC

The home of Robert Tatin

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In an otherwise typical corner of France, there lies a whole world of amazing temple-like statues reminiscent of the ancient figures you might find in the temples of Asia or South America. Welcome to the wonderfully creative world of French artist, Robert Tatin. Who is Robert Tatin? Born Robert Émile Ernest Tatin on 9th January 1902 in the town of Laval. His early life was spent largely surrounded by women, being brought up by his mother, grandmother, sister and nurse, as well as nature and astronomy, all of which became recurring themes in his work in later life. Robert Tatin began studying painting from the age of 14 when he took art classes at the Perrine School in Laval, which also included sculpture, enamels and ceramics. Not having very much money, when he moved to Paris in 1918 to further pursue his career, he enrolled in the free classes of Vilvoski at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and evening classes at the École des Beaux-Arts. The entrance to Robert Tatin’s home and the main art gallery. Throughout his life, Tatin never stopped studying and learning new craft skills, and received great critical acclaim and numerous awards. In 1930, he started up a business in his hometown of Laval, offering services such as carpentry, painting, interior decorating, amongst others, which was the beginnings of what is now the Robert Tatin Museum. In 1962, Tatin moved to a place called La Frénouse in Cossé-le-Vivien, not too far from Laval, and started creating his masterpiece. He continued working on his incredible ‘environnement d'art’ right up until his death in 1983, and it has remained unchanged since. The Robert Tatin Museum Where in France: Cossé-le-Vivien, Mayenne Drive from Calais: 523km / 5h 10m When you first enter the Robert Tatin Museum, your first encounter will be with the ‘Alley of the Giants’. Along a path about 80m in length, are 19 towering statues that tell the story of Tatin’s life and important discoveries. Representing his childhood, there’s a statue of Joan of Arc and Vercingetorix, who was a tribal leader of the Gauls, both of which link to his study of French history. His growth into adolescence and later life are marked by statues relating to mysticism, and questions of ‘Being’ and ‘Having’. The statue of Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d’Arc, representing Tatin’s childhood. His adult life, and the development of his career as an artist, is represented by statues of the most prominent influences on his work, including Pablo Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Auguste Rodin, and Jules Verne, to name just a few. Of course, the entire museum is built around the house that he lived in with his wife, which today serves as a gallery. Inside, you’ll find his studio where the weird and wonderful creations all around you were born, as well as examples of his early work. Because the house itself is so small and fragile, only small guided tours are permitted inside. Also, look out for the tombstone in the garden marking the artists final resting place. The magical Garden of Meditations, reflecting our journey through life. From the small garden in front of the house, you can continue on to what is probably the most popular part of the museum. Centred around a still and peaceful pool of water is the Garden of Meditations. Around the edge, the twelve months of the year are represented in line with the direction of the rotation of the earth. To the north of the garden, you’ll see a large 6.5m tall statue called ‘Notre-Dame-Tout-Le-Monde’, linking heaven and earth. And to the east and west, you’ll find the ‘Gate of the Sun’ and the ‘Gate of the Moon’, respectively. The whole garden is designed to reflect our journey through life, and the pursuit of meaning and wisdom. The dragon is not a demon, but a guardian of knowledge. The magic and wonderment of the Robert Tatin Museum continues with more captivating sculptures, such as the dragon, and ‘Gate of Giants’, and there are also rotating temporary exhibitions held in the Barn. Over the years, numerous exhibitions have looked at a variety of different aspects of the artist’s work and interests, and they all strive towards a common goal. In accordance with the final wishes of the artist himself, the museum is there as a living, breathing space to ensure that contemporary art remains an important part of culture, and to inspire new artists. And after a walk around the house and gardens, you will be left feeling nothing if not inspired! The Gate of the Giants represents five great artists. Visiting the museum The Robert Tatin Museum is open throughout the year, except for the month of January, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. From the 1 June to the 31 August, the museum is open every day of the week from 10am until 7pm, but otherwise, it’s closed on Tuesdays and opening hours vary, so check the website ahead of your visit. Ticket prices vary, depending on whether you wish to explore the house as well as the rest of the museum, and there is different prices for adults, children, families, and other groups. As these are subject to change, see the website for more information. If you’re looking for something a little different that will leave you feeling inspired to create, look no further. And don’t forget to book your tickets across the Channel with us early to take advantage of the best fares available.

Spectacular museums of Belgium

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For centuries, Europe has been at the forefront of great historic discoveries and therefore has some of the world’s best museums. And Belgium in particular is no exception. Young or old, you’re sure to discover something new that will surprise and delight, helping to create holiday memories that will last a lifetime. Atomium Where in Belgium: Brussels Drive from Calais: 195km / 2h 5m The Atomium was originally built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, and has since become a landmark building in the city and is now also a museum. The structure itself is actually quite a marvel, designed to represent the shape of an elementary iron crystal, only magnified to 165 billion times its actual size. Explore the tunnels of the amazing Atomium in Brussels. Credit: © 2018 – www.atomium.be – SOFAM Belgium It’s made up of nine spheres, five of which are open to the public, all of which are linked with 20 interconnecting tubes containing either lifts, escalators or stairs to explore the interior. Inside the Atomium, you’ll find a permanent exhibition taking a look back at the history of the structure and what it represented in post-war Belgium at the time. There are also a number of temporary exhibitions to discover, and as these often change, it’s best to check their website before you visit to see what’s on. The main draw for most visitors are the beautiful panoramas from the top sphere, and you can even book a table for dinner and enjoy the view with your meal. It’s a good idea to book in advance, though, as the Atomium remains Brussels’ most popular tourist attraction. Historium Brugge Where in Belgium: Bruges Drive from Calais: 117km / 1h 30m Housed in a beautiful neo-Gothic building on the Markt (market square) in the centre of Bruges, the Historium Brugge takes its visitors on an immersive trip back in time. The audio and visual tour is about an hour long, taking you back to medieval Bruges in 1435. There’s a bit of a love story to set the narrative scene, which is great for visiting couples and families alike. Step through the doors of the neo-Gothic Historium Brugge, and step back in time to 1435 There’s also a VR experience to really make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, as well as a special Family Trail full of interactive experiences to keep kids entertained. Round your visit off with stunning panoramic views of Bruges and the Markt with a locally brewed beer in hand at the terrace at the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café. Generally speaking, Historium Brugge is open from 10am until 6pm every day, but do check ahead of visiting in case it’s closed for a public holiday. Euro Space Center Where in Belgium: Transinne Drive from Calais: 320km / 3h 15m Out in the picturesque Belgian countryside, you’ll find the fascinating Euro Space Center, a museum dedicated to all things space-related. It’s the perfect day out for the whole family, particularly if you’ve got any budding astronauts in your midst. And if you’ve got time to spare, you can even extend your visit to two days, and take part in a special mission! Head to the Euro Space Center for an out-of-this-world experience! credit: Euro Space Center If you fancy going all out, and making someone’s space-travel dreams come true, why not take a look at some of the longer planned out mission activities. You can choose from one or two day experiences, learning everything about becoming an astronaut, and even training on Moonwalk simulators. You’ll also get the chance to learn a little rocket science and build your own miniature rocket! If you’re a bit pushed for time, though, don’t worry – there are plenty of activities to get involved with independently. As well as the fascinating planetarium and the incredible 5D space show, you can still experience what it feels like to walk on the Moon or Mars in a reduced gravity environment. Opening times vary depending on the season, so it’s best to check these out before you go, particularly in the winter months, when the Euro Space Center is often only open on weekends. If your interest has been piqued and you feel inspired to set off on your own adventure of discovery, make sure you book your tickets with us early to take advantage of the best fares available. Top image Credit: © 2018 – www.atomium.be – SOFAM Belgium

Hidden gems of the Netherlands: Delft

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Just a short three-and-a-half-hour drive from Calais, with its peaceful canals lined with medieval buildings, you’ll find the beautiful city of Delft. This charming little city is perfect for a short trip or weekend break, and packs just as much of a cultural punch as Amsterdam, just on a smaller, more intimate scale. Vermeer Centrum Delft High on your list of must-see attractions is the fascinating museum dedicated to the life and work of Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer. He may not be as well-known and instantly recognisable as say, Monet or Picasso, but you’ll no doubt be familiar with his most famous piece, Girl with a Pearl Earring, which inspired the book and film of the same name. Inspiration isn’t hard to find in beautiful Delft During his lifetime, he was relatively unknown, and faded into obscurity after his death in 1675. It wasn’t until the 19th century that his work and mastery of light was recognised, and he has since come to be recognised as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. The Vermeer Centrum Delft is open seven days a week, except for Christmas Day, and there is an admission fee for adults, students and children aged 12 and older. There are free guided tours in English on Sunday mornings, and there’s also a café and a shop for all the refreshments and souvenirs you need. Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles Another of Delft’s most famous exports is their blue and white pottery, or Delftware, which has been in production since the 16th century. The most famous and highly sought after period is from circa 1640-1740, when a shortage in Chinese porcelain boosted the popularity and creativity of Delftware. Pick up a charming souvenir from the Royal Delft shop The Royal Delft Experience is housed in the last remaining earthenware factory from the 17th century, and offers a look at the history of the Dutch pottery trade, and a glimpse at the skill that still goes into crafting these beautiful ceramic wares. Royal Delft is open daily, with reduced hours on Sunday, and it’s closed on 25th and 26th December, and 1st January. Children aged 12 and under go free, and there is a reduced ticket price for 13-18 year olds and students. Oude en Nieuwe Kerk There are many lovely churches that you could pop into in Delft, but there are two in particular that stand out. The Oude Kerk, or Old Church, and the Nieuew Kerk, or New Church. The crooked tower of the Old Church is best seen from the canal As you may have guessed from the name, the Old Church is the oldest of the two, built in 1246. Back in those days, the church was known as St Bartholomew’s, named after the patron saint of its founding father Bartholomeus van der Made. During the centuries that followed, the church underwent some major expansions and developments to become the magnificent gothic basilica that we see today, but there is still a distinctly medieval feel about it. The other main church in Delft, the New Church, is only new in relative terms. Construction actually began in 1381, but it wasn’t completed until 1655, almost 300 years later. Both churches are famous for their respective towers, and they also each have important tombs housed within them. The Old Church’s tower stands at 75m in height, and has come to be known as ‘Scheve Jan’, or ‘Crooked John’ in English, as subsidence from the surrounding canals has caused it to lean roughly 2m from the vertical line. You’re not allowed to climb the tower, but inside the church you’ll find the tomb of Delft’s artist in residence, Johannes Vermeer. The New Church offers stunning views from the top of its tower The tower of the New Church is taller at 108.75m, to be precise, which makes it the second tallest tower in the Netherlands. Fortunately, as this tower isn’t wonky, you can climb the 376 steps to the top, if you’re feeling energetic. It’s well worth the hike, as on a clear day, you can see all the way to Rotterdam and The Hague! If stairs aren’t your thing, spend some time admiring the stunning interiors, and don’t miss the tomb of William of Orange whose effigy has been carved out of white marble, along with his faithful spaniel who lies at his feet. You can buy one ticket to visit both churches, and children 5 and under go free, although they are not allowed to climb the tower and older children must be accompanied by an adult. The churches are both open daily, Monday to Saturday, but are closed on Sundays for religious services. Check the opening hours before you visit, as they change seasonally. If you’re feeling inspired to plan a little getaway or short break to explore Delft and beyond, remember to book your tickets with us in advance to get the best prices.

Experience the V8 Hotel & Autobahn

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For those of you who are fans of cars, nothing is better than an open stretch of road, a beautiful day and a tank full of petrol. But why not really experience a car-lover’s dream and drive the autobahn and rest for the night in the V8 Hotel? Driving through Europe is a holiday in itself. Motoring through the different European cities and countryside provides a completely different driving experience. But, what is the icing on the cake for the real car fans out there? V8 Hotel and Motorworld 7 hours from Calais Located at Motorworld in Stuttgart, the V8 Hotel is the ultimate place to rest your petrol head. Before you get to your motor-themed room (more on that later) there are lots of activities you can get involved in at the ultimate place for car lovers. What to do at Motorworld Discover the history of your favourite car brands at Motorworld. Credit: Frank Hoppe Go back to where it all began, 125 years ago, at the Mercedes Benz Museum, and discover the history of the world-famous brand. For fans of speed, the Porsche Museum is the first place to go to immerse yourself in the supercar brand. Or, take to the skies and fly to your dream destination on the flight simulator. With lessons from a professional pilot, you can discover what it’s like to be in control of a plane. If the rest of your family aren’t quite as car-mad as you, there are still plenty of activities for them to get involved in. Outlet City Metzingen is near the V8 Hotel, and is packed with shops selling top designer brands. So, after your stay at the hotel you can drive away with a head full of memories and a car full of souvenirs. The Rooms at the V8 Hotel Love Mercedes? Spend the night in the ultimate Mercedes shrine. Credit: Frank Hoppe While the car-activities are reason enough to visit the V8 Hotel, it’s the accommodation that makes you stay. Every room is car based, but some are a little more special than others. Take the Mercedes Suite for example: four floors of Mercedes madness, including a panoramic bathroom and sauna! Go back in time to the 1950s and sleep in a vintage gas station. Credit: Frank Hoppe If the Mercedes Suite is out of your budget but you still want to stay somewhere a bit special, there are plenty of other options for you. Spend a night in one of the themed rooms, from Route 66, to a drive-in cinema, and even an automatic carwash, there are lots of fun options. Drive the Autobahn One of the most famous road systems in Europe, the autobahn is any speed lover’s dream. While there are many roads that motorists long to drive down in Europe (such as Route Napoléon and Col de Turini for example) there is one very famous road system that is of course, the autobahn. Rather than just one road, the autobahn is the German motorway, and stretches over the whole country, totalling about 8000 miles. The reason why so many people want to drive these roads, is due to their lack of speed limit. German authorities insist you must drive at the recommended 80mph, but you can drive faster if you wish. It’s good to always be aware of the other drivers on the road, as it’s not uncommon for cars to zoom past you at 100mph, or faster. So, are you eager to put the peddle to the metal? It won’t be long before you’re in Germany, the home of fast cars and precision engineering. It’s just 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, so start planning your route now. Top image credit: Frank Hoppe

The Museum of the Great War

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The Museum of the Great War was opened in 1992, at the very heart of the Somme Battlefields in Péronne. The contemporary museum, designed by architect Henri-Edouard Ciriani, was incorporated into Péronne’s 13th century castle, an emblem of the town of Péronne, besieged many times throughout history.  At the heart of the Somme Battlefields, the Museum of the Great War presents the full magnitude of the First World War.

Artists' Homes in France

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A place to contemplate and create The dwellings of an artist can have a great impact on their work, as they often need a space where they can relax, in an environment that inspires them to create new ideas and works of art. We've taken a look at some famous artists from throughout history, and the buildings that they chose to call their home. La Californie and Château de Vauvenargues - Pablo Picasso Famed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso had a long and successful career as an artist, and he continues to be one of the most influential and well-known artists of the 20th century. His style altered greatly throughout his career and he is regarded as one of the main pioneers of the Cubist movement. His changing styles of painting were influenced by many factors including personal relationships with other artists, as well as where he chose to live. Having been exiled from his native country of Spain in 1939, Picasso spent the majority of his remaining years in France, having first visited Paris in 1900. Between the years of 1955 and 1961, Picasso lived in La Californie, a villa in Cannes, with his last wife Jaqueline Roque. Later, seeking a quieter and more secluded life, Picasso was shown the Château de Vauvenargues, in the south of France, and immediately fell in love. He began renovating the Château, and eventually moved his entire collection of artworks there from his house in Cannes. Visible from the surrounding hills, today the Château is privately owned by the Picasso family, but it is possible to visit La Californie, which is now a museum and gallery open to the public. Picasso's house is now a museum giving insight into his childhood Giverny - Claude Monet Claude Monet's house and gardens in Giverny are a beautiful place to visit, whether you're an art enthusiast or not. He lived here for an incredible 43 years of his life, and throughout this time, Monet adjusted the house to his own tastes, creating the stunning gardens that inspired his most famous series of paintings, Water Lilies. Originally, the house was quite small with a barn next door, but Monet extended the building to create a much larger space for him to work and live in. He used the barn alongside the house as his first studio, and used the light, airy space to store his canvases. Monet adored colours, and he filled the gardens with an array of wonderful flowers, as well as creating the ponds and a bridge area that can be seen in several of his paintings. Throughout the years, Monet and his family lived in this beautiful home, and you can take guided tours throughout the property, where you'll see the many colourful rooms which Monet decorated himself. Monet's famous house is decorated in pink and green, which was chosen by the artist Clos Lucé - Leonardo da Vinci A small château in the French city of Amboise, Clos Lucé, or Château du Clos Lucé, was the home of Leonardo da Vinci from 1516 until his unfortunate death in 1519. The artist was invited to the nearby Château d'Amboise by King Francis I, who offered Clos Lucé to him as a place to live and work. Today the site exists as a museum dedicated to the artist, and visitors are able to walk through various rooms of the building, including the reception room and kitchen. The inside is decorated in a Renaissance style, which has been maintained to keep it in as similar fashion as possible to how it would have looked at the time of Da Vinci's death. Even though he lived here during the last few years of his life, Leonardo da Vinci continued to be a prolific creator right up until his death. The beautiful Clos Lucé As you walk through the house, you can see some of the artist's workplaces, and one room that's particularly fascinating is the Model Room. As well as a famous painter, Leonardo da Vinci was also a respected inventor. The Model Room displays a selection of replicas of his creations, from flying machines to tanks, and they are accompanied by detailed illustrations by the artist. Rue Campagne Première - Yves Klein Born of two artists, one a figurative painter and one an abstract painter, Yves Klein was creative from a young age. He lived a short but successful life, and today he is seen as a prominent figure in European post-war art. Most people know him from his monochromatic paintings, particularly his blue period, from which he went on to develop his own rich, highly pigmented blue colour, which became known as International Klein Blue. During his lifetime, he hopped between France and the rest of Europe to chase creative projects, but eventually around 1958, he found himself back in Paris, and whilst here he lived and worked at Rue Campagne Première. His apartment is located in the Montparnasse neighbourhood, which is famous for attracting many creative figures such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Andre Breton, to name just a few. Montparnasse, Paris, where Yves Klein lived During this time in Paris, Yves Klein explored his 'living brushes' technique, which involved using nude models, and his signature IKB hue, to create figurative prints. Outside the building, you'll find a plaque which commemorates the artist, and it is actually possible to rent an apartment within the building, if you're keen. Getting there and around Travelling around by car is a great way to explore Europe's creative hidden treasures, and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle takes you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. Book your journey

Chateau Hardelot

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This Tudor-style castle is steeped in history Located between Calais and Le Touquet and home to the Entente Cordiale Cultural Centre, the Château d'Hardelot stands at the crossroads of the French and British cultures. Behind its characteristic nineteenth century architecture and interior, the story of this Franco-British history unfolds. From the dining-room to the smoking room, the library to the private apartments and along the pathways and groves of the Tudor gardens, Franco-British people and monarchs mingle in every space. William the Conqueror, Henry the VIII, Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II all rub shoulders with the extraordinary owners of the Château : Henry Guy, Sir John Hare, Sir John Robinson Whitley and the mysterious Abbé Bouly, in an amusing display of national treasures. The castle has been fully restored for the public to explore and enjoy. It is surrounded by a vast nature reserve, Condette Marsh, containing wetland, grassland and meadows. There are over 300 plant species and 80 types of birds, making it a diverse day out. This summer will see the opening of an Elizabethan theatre designed by architect Andrew Todd. Approved by Her Majesty the Queen in June 2014, during her latest state visit to Paris, this 400 seat modern « Globe » will host a high quality programme of artistic events throughout the year. Victoria’s fashion Fashion in the reign of Queen Victoria: exhibition from 17 September to 31 December 2016

Visit The National Gallery

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Art exhibitions and displays The Gallery displays priceless works of art dating from about 1250 to 1900. You can see works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Tuner, Renoir, Cezanne and Van Gogh. There are special exhibitions, lectures, guided tours and holiday events for both adults and children. Special events For details of special events at the National Gallery go tohttp://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/ Useful information Free entry - Open daily 1000 to 1800 and Fridays 1000 to 2100. Allow a minimum of 5 hours for your visit.  For more information How to get there ? Tube - Charing Cross The National Gallery Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN Book your journey

British Museum

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Visit the British Museum A museum of human history and culture. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. Find out more http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on.aspx Useful Information The Museum is free to all visitors and is open daily 10.00 –17.30 There are free daily talks and tours. For more information How to get there ? Tube : Holborn, Tottenham Court Road or Russel square. Tel : 020 7323 8299 Book your journey

La Coupole

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One of the great relics of the Second World War Situated 5km from the town of Saint-Omer, La Coupole is a gigantic underground bunker designed by the Nazis, in 1943-1944.

Nausicaá, Boulogne-sur-Mer

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Nausicaá, located in Boulogne-sur-Mer on the seafront, is more than just a mere aquarium: it is the largest exhibit in Europe dedicated to the discovery and protection of the marine world. With more than 58,000 animals, Nausicaá is an incredible destination for families: marvel at the majestic pelagic rays and hammerhead sharks, explore the beauties of the tropical lagoon, attend the medical training of the sea lions and many more experiences!

LAAC Dunkirk

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What is the CoBrA movement? An acronym of the hometowns of its founders - Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam - the CoBrA movement was created in 1948 in Paris by six young artists: Christian Dotremont, Joseph Noiret, Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Constant Nieuwenhuys and Guillaume Corneille van Berverloo. These six artists were interested in creating collaborative works of poetry, writing and paintings that were opposed to all artistic formalism. In addition to the ideas and opinions that they shared and their collective works, they organised exhibitions together and founded the COBRA review (March 1949), although only eight issues were ever published! This review brought together essays on writing, popular art and cinema.   The movement, which lasted only three years, was an essential moment in the history of modern art. To put it briefly, the characteristics of this movement are spontaneity and experimentation, and the works created by its followers feature vibrant brushwork and brilliant colours! Great exhibition at the LAAC in Dunkirk   Set in the middle of a sculpture garden, the LAAC ( Lieu d'Art et Action Contemporaine) in Dunkirk takes on the skyline with its unusual white ceramic architecture and is situated right next to the beach and the port. In addition to the cultural events it offers, the LAAC also regularly organises temporary exhibitions that showcase the museum's collections. The "CoBrA, sous le regard d'un passionné" exhibition will bring together an incredible collection of more than two hundred works, some of which have never before been shown to the public. This exhibition retraces the origins of the movement and the works produced during the CoBrA years and highlights the international dimension of the CoBrA contributors through presentation of works from American, French and English members of the movement.  Useful links to help prepare your visit! Find out more about the LAAC   Find out more about the city of Dunkirk   How to get there From the terminal in Calais, take the A16 motorway towards Calais/Lille and then take exit 62 'Dunkerque Centre' before following signs towards Casino/Parking Pont Lucien Lefol Book your journey

Mobile Pompidou Centre

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What is the Mobile Pompidou Centre? Created in 1977, the Georges Pompidou National Centre of Art and Culture originated from President Georges Pompidou's wish to create an original cultural institution in the heart of Paris entirely dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The Mobile Pompidou Centre is a travelling museum, the first of its kind in the world, showcasing masterpieces from the Pompidou's permanent collection. This roaming exhibition gives you the opportunity to see first-hand original works of art from French and international contemporary artists. It is a journey of discovery, from the 20th century to the present day, and now you can experience it too! The "tour" began in October 2011 and is in Boulogne-sur-Mer from 16 June to 16 September 2012.  No need to go all the way to Paris, the museum is coming to Boulogne-sur-Mer! Be part of a unique experience: the Mobile Pompidou Centre is the first mobile museum in the world Works available by Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Delaunay and a host of other great artists Masterpieces are not only held within the mobile museum: the structure by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers is also a work of art The Mobile Pompidou Centre is open six days a week and entrance is FREE Colour is the exhibition theme: from Picasso's blue period, to the reds of Matisse, not forgetting Kupka's yellows, you will see every shade under the sun   Choose between a guided tour (with a resident art expert or a costume actor), or simply wander around the exhibition, with the help of an audioguide (available in several languages). Useful links to help prepare your visit How to find the Mobile Pompidou Centre The Mobile Pompidou Centre is located at Eperon, within the harbour area at Boulogne-sur-Mer, a site steeped in history just like the town itself. To get to the harbour, follow the A16 motorway, and then take exit 32 towards Boulogne Centre. At the first roundabout, take the second exit (D96). When you get to the second roundabout, take the second exit (D940). Keep going straight ahead through the next three roundabouts. Turn right onto Place de la République, and when you get to the roundabout, takes the second exit. Continue straight ahead on Quai Thurot, go round to the left and take the first left. The Mobile Pompidou Centre is just a few metres away. Book your journey

Louvre Lens Museum

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Did you know that some of the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum in Paris are showcased in the Louvre-Lens museum, only one hour from Calais? There is no longer the need to travel to Paris to see these magnificent works of art. Opened in December 2012, the Louvre-Lens aims to give visitors a fresh perspective on some of the most celebrated artworks in the world.

Dentelle de Calais-Caudry

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Dentelle de Calais-Caudry ® (Calais Lace)   Dentelle de Calais-Caudry® appellation is a registered and protected trademark, exclusively reserved for lace made on Leavers looms by master lace-makers of Calais and Caudry using a unique method of knotting between the warp and the weft, which dates back to the beginning of the 19th century.   The Dentelle de Calais-Caudry® (lace from Calais) was invented at the end of the 18th century in the English town of Nottingham and was imported to France through the port of Calais. The thread is composed of silk, linen, nylon or other fibre made by lace makers by hand or machine. The main pattern is flowers. France's haute couture industry has long relied on Calais to provide lace worthy of its designs Exhibition - HUBERT DE GIVENCHY 15th June to 31st December 2017 Immerse yourself in the world of Parisian haute couture from the 1950s to the 1990s. Throughout his life, he has dressed a loyal cosmopolitan clientele including celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, his muse and friend. The pieces on show demonstrate an acute sense of elegance and exquisite cultural refinement. Among other sources of inspiration, we recognise the influence of artists dear to the couturier such as Miró, de Staël, Delaunay and Rothko, but also the opulence of the eighteenth century with the use of deep colours, precious materials and sumptuous drapery. From his 1952 "separates" to the vaporous wedding dresses in tulle and lace of his later years of design, 90 pieces pay tribute to one of the greatest couturiers of the twentieth century. They originate from prestigious private wardrobes, the Givenchy fashion house archives and the collections of European museums, including the large Givenchy holding of the Museum for Lace and Fashion. Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais This landmark museum recounts the history of the famous and celebrated mechanical lace-making industry of Calais. Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais Housed in what was once a 19th century lace factory, with a modern extension of glass and steel designed by the architects Alain Moatti and Henri Rivière, the building alone is worth a visit. Moatti and Rivière, who also designed the head office of Jean-Paul Gaultier Couture, wanted to highlight the value of the city's heritage, while creating a link with contemporary design. A long façade of screen-printed glass, with motifs from Jacquard punch cards of the Leavers lace machines, has been carefully grafted onto the original building. A testimony to Calais' industrial past, the Museum presents the know-how, techniques and uses of lace throughout Calais' economic and social history. A particular highlight is discovering five Leavers looms in operation. The museum also presents contemporary aspects of lace production, establishing itself as a place of both memory and modernity. It is a unique resource centre that attracts fashion designers and artists from all corners of the world. Kate Middleton chose the in-depth knowledge of the Tullists of Caudry (Nord "département"), who, for the last 150 years, have made a type of high-end Calais lace that is exported around the world. Read more... The permanent galleries, covering 2500 sq.m., are divided into five sections devoted to handmade lace, the industrial history of lace-making in Calais, lace-making machines and the production workshop, fashions in lace in the 20th and 21st centuries, the present and future of lace. The four fully-functioning Leavers looms a particular highpoint An area of 500 sq.m. is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The centre also provides a venue for study, research, training, meetings, social events and creativity. It houses an auditorium, fashion show hall, specialist library, workshops for all ages in learning lace-making, lace conservation, fashion and design, an area dedicated to the profession, a shop, restaurant, etc. The Museum for Lace and Fashion takes visitors on an exceptional journey into the world of lace. Prepare to be dazzled by the lacy haute couture garments on display, and some very sexy examples of lingerie. Getting there and around Just a 15 minute drive from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal. Cité internationale de la dentelle et de la mode de Calais® 135 Quai du Commerce 62100 Calais – France Tel.: +33 (0)3 21 00 42 30 Discover the unique lace experience! Opening Times: Open every day except Tuesdays, 10am to 6pm (5pm from 1st November to 31st March) Annual closure : From January 1st to 15th, May 1st and December 25th Book your journey

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