20 min walk
from the City of the Dragon

Hotel de Ville
Place du Soldat Inconnu
62100 Calais

The heritage emblem of Calais, fully restored in 2015

Accessible to all by lift, the top of this unique belfry offers you an overview of the city. You can also visit the vast rooms of the neo-Flemish-style Town Hall, one of the most beautiful town halls in France.

© Fred Collier – Ville de Calais

Calais town hall

Following the merger of the cities of Calais and Saint-Pierre-Les-Calais, the former Hôtel de Ville de Calais has become a museum. The town hall of Saint-Pierre was used for a time for the Greater Calais agglomeration, but it quickly proved to be too small and the construction of a new building was decided. Of the 95 projects proposed, it is that of the architect Louis Debrouwer which will be selected and which is a pioneer by using reinforced concrete. No expansion joint has been left. The architecture combines the Flemish style and the Renaissance style. The town hall contains magnificent stained-glass windows depicting the liberation of the city by the Duke of Guise in 1558 as well as a canvas by Jeanne Thil representing the dedication of the Burghers of Calais and the busts of Henri de Guise and Richelieu. Its construction began in 1911. The building was inaugurated in 1925 and saw the marriage of Captain de Gaulle and Yvonne Vendroux. It is listed as a Historic Monument by decree of June 26, 2003.

© Fred Collier – Ville de Calais

The Burghers of Calais

On January 28, 1885, the City of Calais placed an official order with the sculptor Auguste Rodin for the realization of a work about the dedication of the six burghers of Calais (Eustache de St Pierre, Jacques et Pierre de Wissant, Jean de Fiennes, Andrieus d’Andres and Jean d’Aire), heroes , during the siege of the city in 1347. It was inaugurated on June 3, 1895, and installed in front of the Richelieu park.

The monument was moved several times in the city: at the entrance of the Richelieu garden (1900), on the Place d’Armes (1924), and since the end of the Second World War in front of the current town hall. This bronze is the first in a series of 12, scattered around the world, the last of which was cast in 1995 and which can be admired in Seoul. Only the first four were executed during Rodin’s lifetime.

© Fred Collier – Ville de Calais

The Dragon at the top of the Belfry

Whatever their origin, dragons are often endowed with scales, horns, claws and wings. This chimera always contains several animals such as the lion, the eagle or the reptiles. The dragon is also a very intelligent being. It is said that the world originated from the dreams of dragons. In the North, we know for sure, since the traditional processions of huge effigies of giants and dragons are now classified by Unesco as an intangible cultural world heritage. Present at the top of the Belfry of the town hall of Calais, a dragon indicates the direction of the wind. Was it the discreet sign of the arrival of the Dragon of Calais?