Shopping in Calais
An abundance of shopping opportunities in Calais makes the entire town seem like one big shopping centre
A quick hop across the Channel to Calais means you can take advantage of the fantastic shopping opportunities. Not only can you buy wines and Champagnes at sometimes half the UK price but enjoy cheaper shopping across the board. Overall you can expect to save around 20% on good and products including DIY products available at wine outlets, the hypermarkets and speciality shops just 26 miles away from Dover.
Rue Royale, Calais’ most popular shopping street has been greatly modernised over the last few years. New bars have opened up and the stylish Passage Royale has been created. Inside there’s a range of interesting small boutiques and café/bars. Rue Royal itself has some great speciality shops worth popping into. At number 61 check out Rene Classe for beautiful designer crockery and porcelain by Lalique, Christophle and Baccarat crystal all at prices up to 20% cheaper than available in the UK. Another is Brulerie La Tour at 65 where 70 different types of tea are on offer and at 67 is Au Royal Chocolate, a quaint chocolate shop whose sweets were enjoyed by King Henry IV.
Further into town near Boulevard Jacquard and Boulevard Lafayette is a new shopping centre called The Living Centre. Calais has a world class reputation for producing fine machine-made lace. If you love lace then be sure to visit Royal Dentelle at 106 Boulevard Jacquard. On offer is genuine Calais lace items like place mats and tablecloths and a lovely lacey line in lingerie.
For more general shopping head for the village of Coquelles to visit Cité Europe and for designer bargains Marques Avenue Factory Outlet may be just the ticket.
For other ideas, take a look at some of our favourites listed and be sure to follow our tips for a smoother and more enjoyable shopping experience across the Channel.
- The sales are on in January and June and last around 5 to six weeks. During this time there are superb bargains to be had.
- Make you sure have a 1 euro coin to hand as you will need this if you want to use a trolley (refundable) at the hypermarkets or supermarkets. You’ll find the trolleys in the car parking area and to unchain this just insert the coin into the slot to unchain the trolley.
- Take a cooler bag carry home those fabulous cheeses or freshly harvested seafood.
- Don’t bother buying baquettes to take home as with a life of just a few hours, they will be stale by the time you get back.
- Most shops are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Not much is open on Sundays.
- If you are taking advantage of the amazing tax differentials on alcohol and cigarettes in France, be sure to adhere to the guidelines as you could be mistaken for a bootlegger.
- Pay by credit card or cash. Eurocheques are not generally accepted these days.
- Don’t overload your car – you can be fined both in Britain and France for this. A case of beer weighs 17kg (37lbs), a case of wine 15kg and of champagne 22kg. Check both your maximum allowable load and tyre pressures.
Shop opening times:
Most shops in the centre of Calais are open between 9am and 7pm (local time), Monday to Saturday. Generally they close for lunch between midday and 2pm although many independent stores now remain open at this time. Food shops such as those selling fresh bread and cakes, as well as wine stores, open on Sunday mornings. Many cafes and bars open throughout the day and on public holidays.
Personal Alcohol and Tobacco Limits
In theory you can bring back unlimited amounts of alcohol. In practice, this is not so. Customs have built in some guidelines as to how you may interpret the words ‘for personal use’. They are clear in that your purchases must be ‘for your own consumption or gifts.’ If your interpretation is different you may well be stopped and the goods seized. For instance, a lorry load of beer stacked to the brim would look a little suspicious. The idea is to stop bootleggers and tax and duty evaders.
Advisory Customs & Excise Limits
Beer 110 litres
Wine 90 litres (must not include more than 60 litres of sparkling wine)
Spirits 10 litres
Port & Sherry 20 litres
Tobacco 1 Kilo