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A place in history

The town of Dunkerque, in northern France, will always be remembered for the dramatic events of 1940. This was when the advancing German troops cut off the Allied forces, who were rescued by a massive and courageous wave of small boats from the beaches of Dunkerque. It is also, though, a very popular seaside town which benefits from an important port and some lovely sandy beaches backed by dunes.

Colourful past

As well as the war time escapades, Dunkerque has a history of pirate activities in its seas. There is an argument which states that these pirates were not, strictly speaking, pirates but privateers, as they had the express permission of the monarch to attack foreign ships. Nonetheless the stories of their exploits give yet more colour to Dunkerque's history!

Busy port in attractive surroundings

Nowadays the port is a fishing port and also an important industrial resource, as it allows the importing of raw materials for the industries which support the economy of the town. The area around the port has undergone considerable regeneration in recent years, and like so many British dock areas such as Liverpool and Newcastle, is now a very attractive cultural and touristic area.

In town...

In Dunkerque itself there is plenty to see and do, no matter whether your interests tend to the cultural or to the educational. You might like to see the fine arts museum or the port museum, or the excellent Planetarium may fit the bill.

Shopping heaven

If, like Carrie Bradshaw, however, your idea of heaven is shopping, shopping and more shopping, then Dunkerque will leave you ecstatic! The town has every conceivable shape and size of shop, with some of Europe's biggest hypermarkets and supermarkets as well as little boutiques and gift shops. For fashion addicts all the top high street names are represented, with shops such as Mango, Kookai, Morgan and many others on hand to serve you. Dunkerque has some very good restaurants, and the social scene is lively with a good selection of bars, cafés and clubs.

Elegant promenade

The town has an elegant sea front, with graceful tall houses lining the opposite side of a wide promenade. Dunkerque's beaches are sandy and safe for families, and are backed by sand dunes reminiscent of those found in good old Blackpool! There are a good number of sports in and around the town, with beach based activities such as surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing and sand yachting popular. There is also an excellent and quite unique 27-hole golf course at Dunkerque. This has been designed to echo the town's military fortifications and history, so you can find tees in the form of artillery towers, and the course is dotted with moats and lakes.

How to get there

Reaching Dunkerque from the UK is easy, as there is a ferry port there which is served by a car ferry from the Norfolkline company. Calais is also close by, and this offers a greater choice of ferry company. You could choose to travel by rail as the town of Lille is within easy reach, and this is a stopping point for the Eurostar service from England. It is also, of course, possible to "drive" all the way now, with the Channel tunnel car train able to take you all the way under the sea without ever having to get out of your vehicle!

Property prices and availability in and around Dunkerque

Property in the far north of France is still generally less expensive than that in Brittany and many other areas. Recent investment in the region has resulted in considerable improvement, however, making Dunkerque and its environs a much more attractive proposition to property seekers. Prices are beginning to increase so the time to invest in property here is now... don't wait until it is too expensive!

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Dunkerque AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Dunkerque?

Dunkerque is located on the coast in the north of France, at the very north of the Nord department, close to the border with Belgium.

Dunkerque Property Map


Nord-Pas-de-Calais Guide

Nord-Pas-de-Calais Property Map


Nord Guide

  Nord Map

Population: 70,850

Access: By boat: The best way to reach Dunkerque from the UK is to travel by ferry. Norfolkline run car ferries into Dunkerque itself, or you can sail to Calais with a choice of ferry company. By rail: The Eurostar will take you to Lille from London.

Economy: The economy is based on a mixture of industry and commerce, with the port being of huge significance, particularly in importing raw materials for industry.

Interesting fact: Dunkerque was once a popular haunt of pirates!


Sextant France
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