The Dragon of Calais

Guardian of the balance of worlds, the Dragon of Calais is a lasting creation that accompanies the rehabilitation of the city’s seafront. This saurian is imagined as a structuring element of the city. By its movements, it creates emotions and interacts with locals and visitors.

© Fred Collier – Ville de Calais

A monumental machine

The Dragon of Calais is a monumental construction made of steel and sculpted wood, with a mobility inspired by reptiles. At once sea, earth, fire and air dragon, he spits fire, smoke and water in different forms. Very expressive, his eyes, eyelids, ears are mobile. Do not be fooled by his imposing size, he is able to lie down, get up, run up to 4 km / h and flap his thick canvas wings!

Worlds gatekeeper

The etymology of the word, ‘dragon’, means ‘to see’, ‘to have a sharp eye’. It is the dragon, who watches over a treasure trove in folklore. They also symbolise the union of opposites and embody the fascination for the unknown.

Irrespective of their origin, they are often covered with scales and are horned, clawed and winged. The dragon is a chimera, which contains elements of several animals like the lion, eagle and reptiles. The dragon is also a being of great intelligence. It is said that the world was created from the dreams of dragons. Dragons are certainly known in the Nord region of France and the traditional processions and parades of effigies of giants and dragons are now included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List. On the top of the belfry of Calais’ Town Hall, there is a dragon weathervane showing the direction of the wind.

Dimensions

Height : 10 à 15 metres
Width :  5 à 17,5 metres with wings unfurled
Length : 25 metres
Weight : 72 tons
Speed : 0 à 4 km / h
Propulsion : hybrid
Materials :  bois, metal, leather, canvas, copper
Manipulation :  4 to 6 pilots
Capacity :  Up to 50 passengers
Trip : about 45 minutes

© Angélique Lyleire – Compagnie du Dragon

The Dragon of Calais Myth

“Beneath the thick crust of the earth runs a maze of deep galleries which connect the seas and the continents. Sometimes, these galleries branch out and widen until they create worlds. Fantastical creatures inhabit these galleries. Large human settlements are the gateways out of this subterranean labyrinth, they open up the passages that connect the underground world to our world.

Since the dawn of time, these «gateways» have been sealed and held shut by sacred stones. The Dragons are the world’s gatekeepers. It is they who maintain balance. Dragons exist in all shapes and colours, they possess enormous powers and every dragon is unique. Le Dragon de Calais is fire, air, earth and water… he has always watched over the lands and seas of thenorth.

Dragons only appear to humans in situations of extreme need, to settle a conflict or to allay an evil. They are naturally benevolent but can also be wild and unpredictable.“

On November 1, 2019, freed from the underground worlds, the Dragon of Calais woke up to enter the city during a great show by Compagnie La Machine.

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Travel aboard the dragon !

Ready for an original adventure? Book your trip aboard the Calais Dragon, an unusual journey on the Côte d’Opale, to the rhythm of this exceptional animal! Stroll on the panoramic terrace embedded in his back and discover the new seafront of Calais!

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