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Carte Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Flag region Nord-Pas-de-Calais

Administration & Statistics

Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Departement Pas-de-Calais
Postal code 62200

Elevation 0-110 m
land area 8 km2
Population 44,273 (2006)
Density 5,258 /km2
Situated in the northern part of France, Boulogne-sur-Mer is a beautiful port city. It is part of the region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and serves as sub-capital of the Pas-de-Calais district. Boulogne-sur-Mer is a commune recognized in the arrondissement of the same name containing 75 communes and 8 cantons.

The recorded history of Boulogne-sur-Mer goes back to the 4th century, when the Romans identified it as a prospective settlement area. At that point of time, the place was known as ‘Gesoriacum’. The Romans knew it as ‘Bononia’. The importance of the city lay in its identity as a port, connecting this part of the world to Britain.

The origin of the city’s name lies in the word ‘Bononia’ coined by the Romans. The word is thought to have come from ‘bona’ which means ‘settlement’ and ‘sur mer’ referring to ‘the sea’. While the word ‘bona’ is of Celtic origin, ‘sur mer’ has its origins purely in France.

Boulogne-sur-Mer has held an important position throughout the important phases in French history. In the 19th century, when France went against the rule of Napoleon, the emperor sought to find a massive army in this part of France. During World War II, the city was bombed by the English Air Force to fight the Germans who had taken command of the city.

Amongst the most famous sights of attraction in Boulogne-sur-Mer is the Notre Dame de Boulogne Cathedral. The construction of the cathedral was initiated and completed during the 19th century. The architectural influences of this structure are essentially Classical, but certain influences of the Renaissance period can also be found.

Other places worth a visit are the medieval castle that was used by the Romans, the Church of St. Nicholas displaying Gothic architecture, and the public aquarium called ‘Nausicaa’ that has some splendid marine life.

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