This weekend we had such a nice time exploring Boulogne-sur-Mer. I’m not entirely sure what inspired our trip there, but we got talking and immediately decided it was the perfect Autumn weekend destination because 1) the sea and 2) the AQUARIUM IS NO JOKE. We could’ve stayed in there for hours. It’s the type of place that I wish you could bring a bottle of wine and just enjoy the scenery. Like an underwater sunset. But not wet. And with no light. So nothing like that at all, really…
We arrived Friday night (after listening to Southern Nightmare on the way – super interesting but the first four episodes were also super depressing). Because we know they allow dogs and we’re not fussy at all, we stayed in the Ibis just a few minutes walk from the city centre, and about 15 minutes from Nausicaa. Being the couple that we are, we brought a bottle of champagne and talked the night away. No complaints here, most of my favourite nights are spent with PJ, Hobson and a glass of something good, chatting about everything and nothing all at once.
On Saturday morning we took a beautiful walk through the town, stopping to admire the Saturday market and loaves of bread that were about as big as my torso, and definitely bigger than our tiny boy. We romped around the ramparts of the old town, enjoying the little streets, an installation of sculptures inspired by 16th-century poetry and fables by Jean de La Fontaine (like the city mouse and the country mouse).
We passed by the cutest buildings and bakeries, and after a mini Autumn-themed photoshoot with Bob, we made our way back to the hotel (obvi stopping for croissants on the way) so that the little nugget could pass out and we could make our way to the aquarium.
Yes. The aquarium. It. Was. Amazing. Much like the ocean, I also have a slight fear of aquariums. I always have that moment where my life flashes before my eyes and the glass cracks and all the water rushes out and the sharks devour me. A fairly active imagination, I know.
But man, this place. It was recently renovated and reopened. Split into two sections, the first takes you around one extremely large tank, with different viewing stations and information guiding you along. But once you get to the large view, it’s truly like a window into the depths. We made friends with some sharks and tiny fish and kept telling ourselves that we would watch one of the eagle rays pass “just one more time”. I’m certain they glided by us over 10 times before we finally moved to the second section.
This view alone is worth the admission ticket. Pro tip: take your break here. Buy a bottle of water and get off your feet for as long as you like and just enjoy it.
This was also quite nice, but my favourites were, of course, the sand tiger shark and sea lions. I love the penguins but prefer seeing them in Cape Town (which might be the most pretentious thing I’ve typed on this blog). We also tried to get in touch with our fishy friends in the touch tank, but the water was cold and those rays just weren’t having it anymore.
When we finally left, we walked past the water to a little place off the town square for some steak tartare, beef, fries and creme brûlée for dessert at Le Dôme’s terrace. I may have also peaked into Sephora since we don’t have those in Belgium…
In the evening, we walked Bob to the water and that golden hour sunlight did him well. I will always claim that my boy is the most handsome in the world (but all dog people do this, so my proof is rather subjective). Our evening ended with some beautiful fish dishes at Chez Jules. Definitely the place to go if you have a large party. If you want to go somewhere else on a Friday or Saturday night in the city, make sure you book a table in advance!
So, overall, 10/10 would recommend visiting this little town for a relaxed weekend of good food, sunny terraces, and hours among our under-the-water friends. Just don’t be like PJ and ask why they aren’t selling seafood in the aquarium. In there, fish are friends, not food.