Top Historic Sights in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Explore the historic highlights of Boulogne-sur-Mer

Château de Boulogne-sur-Mer

The Château de Boulogne-sur-Mer was built in the 13th century by Philippe Hurepel (1180-1234), count of Boulogne and son of Philip II of France. Following the death of his half-brother, king Louis VIII after a short three-year reign, Hurepel was one of the leaders of a rebellion against the regent, Blanche de Castille, mother of the minor Louis IX. He constructed castles at Calais and Hardelot and refortified Boulog ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Boulogne

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Boulogne is a minor basilica and a prominent landmark of the city. The first Christian building on the site was probably built by the Romans during the 4th or 5th century, on the peak of the hill that forms the modern haute ville. According to legend, in about 633, while Saint Audomare (Saint Omer) was bishop of Thérouanne, an unmanned boat carrying a luminous statue of the Virgin Mar ...
Founded: 1827 | Location: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church is a large, cruciform town church set on Place Dalton at the heart of the lower town which clusters below the walls of the citadel. Due to the destruction of the French Revolution, WWI and WWII it is the most significant surviving medieval building in the town. The church is first mentioned in 1208 as a foundation of the Abbey of Notre-Dame within the citadel, a relationship which existed into the 16t ...
Founded: 1208 | Location: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Boulogne-sur-Mer Belfry

The oldest monument of Boulogne-sur-Mer was built in three stages, in the 12th, 13th and 18th centuries. In fact, this belfry was originally a seigniorial prison, transferred to the community in 1230. 38 years later, Saint-Louis ordered the destruction of the tower’s second floor, as well as of the community’s charter of freedom and the town’s seal, as it was refusing to pay a tax on the eighth crusade. ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.