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A Lace Surprise in Calais

At the start of our usual pre-Christmas visit to France we were waiting for the call at the Channel Tunnel Terminal when I was looking through the various tourist leaflets.  I always do this as it is surprising what you can find.  This time is was the Cité de Dentelles in Calais. 

We had previously been to the Museum in Calais which had the lace collection and were aware of the Noyon family who are still involved in Lace in Calais (and to Paul’s delight a small and very good brewery between Calais and Boulogne).

The permanent exhibition covers all types of lace through the ages over two floors and is very extensive, with interactive exhibits and also demonstrations of the huge Leavers Lace machines for high quality Machine Lace, the Calais speciality.

So what with an excellent museum (reduced price entry only €4 and opening hours 10h to17h every day but Tuesday), complete with good quality café and a nice boutique (if a little expensive) for those mementos and gifts, we thought this was well worth the visit.  A proper visit does take several hours by the way.  We stayed over two hours and will certainly go again.

Avril Everington

So with time to spare we decided to detour into Calais and have a look.  It was easy to find. Taking the E55 towards Calais and leaving it at Junction 44, signposted Calais St Pierre, the 
new museum was on the Quai du Commerce (D127) towards Calais Centre.  With a modern front to the old buildings and its own car park not a problem. 

Even better inside with helpful staff, an excellent building blending old and new, a good small French Restaurant and coffee shop – not your usual museum fare.

The museum is on the 1st and 2nd Floors (with lift if you need it). 

At the moment there is a special exhibition (until March 5), Dessiner la dentelle, covering the design of lace up to the current time, which is well worth the visit.  Anyone for a minibus?