In the last few years, there have been numerous films released, based on a specific location or historical event. Many countries and cities were already famous before the release of these films, such as Manhattan and Australia, while others were made popular only after the movie release, such as the country Madagascar, which just about everyone has now heard of, thanks to the animation film released in 2005.
As someone who enjoys learning and is curious about the world around me, I thought I'd do some research, exploring facts, history and things to do, in some of these famous movie locations. Today I would like to share about the city of Dunkirk, which the multiple Academy Award winning film"Dunkirk" was based around. The film was rooted around the historical evacuation in World War II, code-named Operation Dynamo, when the allies were forced to pull out of the Western Front. For more in depth history of Dunkirk, you can find some great information in books and audio books on iTunes.
Dunkirk is located in the North of France, and it is 10 kilometers (6.1 miles) from the Belgium border. I've just recently discovered that it's only 58 minutes by car from Lille, the city where I live. If you are looking to visit, Dunkirk is easily accessible to travel to by train or bus, once you are in either Belgium, France or pretty much anywhere in Europe.
Dunkirk is famous - you've heard of it and are aware of the historical events which took place, but if you wanted to visit this unique city for yourself, what would you do there?? That's exactly what I'm here to help you with today. Here I have provided the best ways to spend your time, the places you must see and great locations to eat, during your visit to Dunkirk.
Before we get started, the top ways to get around during your stay are on foot, by city bus or by car. Your choice of transportation will likely depend on what exactly you decided to do and where it is based, location-wise.
Places To Go:
If history sparks your interest, and more specifically the history of the city, there are a few particular places that I would recommend to get your fill. The first of these places is the Dunkirk 1940 Museum, which has a great deal of historical galleries, as well as live footage from the incredible Dunkirk evacuation. If you want to get an eye opening experience as to what kind of losses went on during the battles and see some beautiful memorials, you can visit the Commonwealth War Graves.
Continuing with the historical theme, the beach, where the 2017 movie was filmed, is called Malo Les Bains. It's a great place to spend some time, whether you just want to see it for yourself, relax, or even perhaps catch some sun and breathe in the salty air.
If visiting museums is your thing, here are a few that you may love. Most of the entrance fees are about 4 Euros, which is a fair price for admission:
Musée Portuaire - Specialty Museum, extra options to tour a boat, sometimes specific events/activities offered - Prices range at this museum
Frac Nord-Pas de Calais - Contemporary Art Museum
Things to do:
For outdoor Activities, consider heading over to Parc Zoologique de Fort Mardyck, a great zoo with an entry fee of only 4 Euros for adults and 2 Euros for children.
Looking to go on a tour? There is a company called Le Taxel who will take you right out onto the water, for a tour by boat.
If you are searching for adventure and would like to get your adrenaline pumping, Mer et Encontres offers a variety of thrilling activities based on or around the beach, ranging from yachting to buggy-kiting.
If you love hiking and are looking for something to do, just outside of Dunkirk, there are three highly recommended hiking trails which have paths leading through forts and dunes, that you may want to check out during your visit. They range from 4-6 km in length. To visit the hiking website, learn more about these hiking paths and to download the hiking guidebook off of the main website click HERE.
For great parks to explore, just outside the city, you can visit either Parc Fort Louis, which is both constructed around an old fort and has unique sights and pretty bodies of water, or Parc Galamé, which is filled with hiking trails, places for fishing, swimming, areas with animals, as well as paid activities including low ropes courses, mini golf and the museum of traditional games.
Things to See:
Le Beffroi - Former steeple on the church of St. Eloi, which was attacked and burned down in 1588. It serves today as a bell tower and the top can be reached by a narrow staircase, which offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Place Jean Bart - A royal statue in one of the city's squares.
Dunkirk Lighthouse - This pretty historical monument stands 63 meters tall.
Best Places to Eat:
Google will tell you that there are numerous great places to eat all throughout Dunkirk, so when looking for something delicious to satisfy your hunger, there is no shortage. Receiving some inside information, I was recommended a few places to eat by a local, from the city:
If you are spending some time around the beach, I was advised to check out some restaurants in that area, especially if you are looking for great mussels and fries.
If you would like some local food in the city, check out a restaurant called L' Estaminet Flamand.
Later on, if you are looking to grab a beer or check out a bar, head on over to Rue de la Soif, for some great options.
If you're in the area, or are looking for a nice day or even weekend trip, I want to encourage you to go ahead and schedule yourself a visit toDunkirk. If you plan on having an extended stay there, or are looking for even more great things to do and see, head over to the Dunkirk Tourist Website, which includes even more ways to spend your time in the city. Remember, there is so much more to a place than what Hollywood has to say. Go and check it out for yourself!