Day trips to France

Stuck for ideas for the school holidays or an empty weekend? A day trip to France can be a whole new family adventure!

Day trips are an excellent way to ‘try out’ France if you are thinking of a holiday there or if you live within reach of the channel ports or Eurotunnel. There are usually plenty of travel offers available and it’s worth looking out for these in the daily papers, on the internet or in travel brochures. Calais is the obvious destination because of the short crossing times. However it is possible to visit some of the other channel ports, particularly now many services operate high speed crafts, which can for example get you to Cherbourg in 2 ½ hours or Caen in 3 hours.

Another possible day trip would be to head off to Paris or Lille using Eurostar sevices from London St Pancras or Ashford in Kent. With a journey time of only 2 hours 40 minutes to Gare du Nord in Paris, an early departure could give you plenty of time to enjoy some of that wonderful city’s many delights.


Try these itineraries in the Calais/Boulogne area to make the most of your day. These can be mixed to suit but remember some places close for lunch – check times in advance.

Calais coastline
Calais on foot
St Omer and wartime relics
Boulogne and Montreuil
Shopping extravaganza!


There are bargains to be had (as well as wine and beer!) if you do your homework in advance! Check prices in your local supermarket before you go. Cooking oil, mustard and coffee are much cheaper. Aside from basics there is also the opportunity to bring back cheeses, cold meats and pâtés. Don’t forget to bring a cool bag and ice packs for those perishable items!  Read more about shopping in France.

Supermarkets – you have a huge choice but we usually use one of the following:

– Auchan in Calais – located just north of A16, come off at junction 14. Located on a minor road parallel to A16.
– Carrefour at the Cité Europe shopping centre, near to Eurotunnel.
– Auchan at St-Martin, Boulogne – on N42 2 kms east of J31 of A16.
– Leclerc in Outreau area of Boulogne – come off at J29 of A16, follow signs to Boulogne centre + is is on your left.
– Carrefour in St.Omer – north side of St.Omer in the commercial centre at the roundabout by D928 and avenue du Maréchal Joffre.
– Calais Vins – on north side of A16. Leave at J15.
– Wine & Beer World – J3 of A26 if coming from the Calais ports and J18 of A16 if coming from Le Shuttle.

Read more travel in France:

Gite Holidays in France

Thinking of an extended stay?  Take a look at nearby gites in Brittany, gites in Normandy and gites in Picardy for some great French family holiday ideas.