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Dunkirk is the northernmost town in France and third largest port in France, just six miles from the border with Belgium. Its close links with Belgium are even evident in its name which comes from the Flemish words for “dune” and “church”.
There is stunning scenery along the coastline, as well as long sandy beaches, and although much of the town centre was destroyed in the war and subsequently rebuilt old parts do remain. For example the magnificent 58 metre belfry dates back to 1440.
Cuisine plays as important role and you’ll find a distinctive Flemish influence. For example one of the most popular dishes is coq à la bière, chicken in a creamy beer sauce.
Dunkirk beaches are a popular spot for kite-surfers, sand-surfers and wind-surfers. The city is also great for hiking, cycling, kayaking and golf.
The coastline is also the site of one of the most significant events of the Second World War. During a 9-day operation in 1940, over 340,000 French and British soldiers were rescued from advancing German troops.
Visit Dunkirk War Museum which tells the story of this rescue mission. The Dunkirk Town Cemetery also includes an extensive war memorial.
Head to Dunkirk’s belfry for a stunning panoramic view. You can also visit the Museé des Beaux-Arts with its collection of French art or the Museé Portuaire, which details harbour life in the city.
The famous Dunkirk’s carnival runs from mid-January to late March and includes over 40 street parades with marching bands, competitions, music, traditional food and drink.