Hopping Over to Calais From Dover


Hopping over to Calais from Dover and heading south through France with children there will come a time when you need to know where best to stop.  So here is our guide.

Two hours from Calais in Reims, there are 2 excellent 2-star hotels that make ideal stopping points. Hotel Cecyl right in the heart of town with recently refurbished rooms and Hotel Azur, in the Boulingrin market area. There is a good choice of restaurants near both hotels. Look out for the Brasserie Excelsior on Place d’Erlon or the Brasserie du Boulingrin.

However, we find Reims tends to be rather expensive not really surprizing given you’ve got all the facilities there to say nothing of the opportunity of tasting Champagne. We prefer to stop-over in Chalons-en-Champagne, half an hour further down the road on the journey.

Chalons is a pretty little place, much quieter than Reims and brand new 3-star Ibis Stylesopened early 2018 right in the town centre, on Place de la Republique, so although a chain, everything is really new.  The breakfast is one of the best and most reasonable hotel breakfasts we have yet to find.calais

The town welcomes families with the kids and offers a great selection of restaurants and attractions For something a bit different, check if ‘La Maison de Marie-Caroline‘ is open, just off the main square it offers a good selection of home made dishes from an ever changing menu.

If you have the energy, try the sound and light boat tour that departs from the embarkation point right next to the tourist office. You would need to book places beforehand.


An original and magical show, the tour is made aboard electric boats that circuit the city using its canals and waterways that include underground rivers.

As darkness falls the city is metamorphosed and adorned with lights, city buildings become the supports of fairytale light shows.

From the first when you enter the underground gallery Lochet, you will be fascinated by the scenography that is projected onto the vaults. Then, at the edge of the water, different light shows, succeed each other as monuments and bridges are artistically brought to light.

The tour departs after nightfall, but by mid-August, that is starting to not be so late.

Four hours out of Calais at Junction 22 on the A5 is Val Moret, a delightful family run hotel laid out and run rather like a motel. It really does have family appeal with a well laid out children’s playground and an indoor and out door swimming complex which has adjacent hot tubs and steam rooms.  The restaurant serves interesting well cooked food that is a hit with all generations.


Should you find yourself on another rout passing close by Auxerre some four hours distant from Calais then we suggest you consider the Mercure at Appoginy.  Another hotel with a swimming pool that despite not being heated is plenty warm enough in the summer months to let the kids burn off the energy stored up on a long car ride.

Fancy a bite to eat close by then for a family friendly meal the Restaurant de la Riviere in Guryis a good choice if only to try the Tempura Snails!  For those who prefer to push the boat out when it comes to a meal to remember then head into Auxerre and park outside thele Jardin Gourmand.  Not cheap but a true experience and the perfect place for a super indulgent Sunday lunch.