Car Hire in Calais
Hiring a car in Calais
Every year, millions of people pass through Calais to get to their holiday destination elsewhere in France, but it is a place that is well worth a visit.
The port city is just 34 kilometres from England, which has led to Calais embodying everything that comes to mind when you think of France, but with a touch of British panache. You can take in everything it has to offer, such as lovely days out, delicious meals and stunning views, or you can use it as a launching pad to explore the Côte d'Opale in your hire car.
Once you hit the road, it will become very clear why Calais isn’t somewhere you simply pass through.
What you need to know
As Calais sees millions flock to its shores every year, there are a host of hire car companies that operate out of the city, so you just need to decide upon what type of vehicle you need. You can use our booking tool to narrow your search and get the best possible deal. We can show you what cars are available between your chosen dates, and the price you see is the price you pay. There are absolutely no hidden charges or credit card fees. There’s even a free cancellation policy, meaning there’s no penalty to pay if your plans change.
Where to pick up your car
Many people travel to Calais by ferry, as, after all, it is a port city. Hire cars can be picked up from the port, and you can choose from a number of companies such as Europcar and Budget. If you’re catching the Eurostar, you can also collect your vehicle once you arrive in Calais and will still be able to choose from a range of well-known firms. You can also pick up the vehicle at other places across the city, depending on the company you hire with and where is convenient for you.
Arranging your hire car ahead of time using Holiday Autos means that you’ll just need to sign your paperwork and then the keys are yours.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
There is so much to see and do in Calais, as well as in the city’s surrounding areas. Once you’re behind the wheel, you could sample the local history and visit the spectacular town hall, or take in the breathtaking views that are on offer from the top of the city’s lighthouse. If you’re looking to relax after your journey, you could drive to the beach, kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes. Calais is also home to some of France’s best restaurants, so if you’re in need of a bite to eat, then you can let the gastronomic delights of the city draw you in. How about a spot of shopping? Choose from charming boutiques, wine outlets and speciality shops that you can only find in Calais.
Many visitors to Calais use it as a gateway to the rest of France and elsewhere in Europe, meaning that there is a lot to see just outside the city. You just need to get in your car and hit the open road.
In less than an hour, you can get to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, which is a picturesque village made up of a maze of narrow lanes that take you past colourful cottages. You can make your way to the marina, where you can take in the views that the Bay of the Somme offers. You can also sample some local delights at the market, but this is only held on certain days so you should check before you visit if it is on. You can take a walk around the coast or meander around the pretty abbey.
Just 40 minutes outside of Calais lies Bergues, which is famous for its 14th-century belfry, whose bell chimes 50 times to mark each passing hour. The Municipal Museum is well worth a visit, as it’s home to paintings by masters throughout the ages, as well as a unique collection of sketches from the 16th and 17th century.
Just beyond the city is a stunning coastline that provides you with the perfect setting for a road trip. Along the 26 miles between Calais and Boulogne you will see breathtaking scenery, charming villages, sandy beaches and intriguing coves that are just waiting to be explored. Once you’re on the meandering road, you can see the white cliffs of Dover just across the Channel, giving you a hint of the UK
Travelling south on the D940 will take you to Wissant, which is home to a beach dotted with enormous sand dunes and surfers looking to ride the next big wave. Further along the road at Cap Gris Nez, you can learn about the town’s role in the Second World War, or just soak up the sun on one of its many beaches.
As you get nearer to Boulogne, you will pass elegant resorts teeming with bars, restaurants and quaint cafes, before you reach the historic town centre. Here you can peruse the plethora of shops and market stalls or head to the amazing Nausicaa aquarium. More than 3,500 different animals are housed here, as well as a living coral reef.
Top attractions to visit in Calais
The beauty of having a car whilst in Calais means that you can explore every area of the city in your own time. Here are just some of the attractions you could see during your stay.
Musée Mémoire 1939–1945
This unique attraction is located in an enormous concrete bunker that was originally built as a headquarters for the German navy during the Second World War. Inside you will find thousands of artefacts from the period, including uniforms, weapons and official proclamations.
A trip to this French city would not be complete without a visit to Calais’ beach. This ribbon of cotton soft sand is lined with pristinely white beach huts, making it look like it belongs on a postcard. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic picnic, a dip in the sea or a game of volleyball.
Burghers of Calais
Outside the elaborate city hall sits the first cast of François Auguste René Rodin’s Les Bourgeois de Calais (The Burghers of Calais; 1895) sculpture, which depicts six leaders as they defend against English invaders, despite knowing that they face execution. However, Philippa of the Hainault persuaded her husband King Edward III that it wouldn’t be such a good idea to kill the men, meaning they survived to tell their tale.