Located just minutes from the border with Belgium and with beaches that are very well-known since WW2, Dunkirk is a charming town with plenty of things to do and see. Its history is fascinating and much of it is based around its port and coastline. The museums here are definitely worth a visit and the beach and dune walks are highly recommended.
Beffroi de Dunkerque
One of the most iconic sights is the UNESCO-protected Belfry of the town that was built in the 15th century. It stands almost 60m in height and provides wonderful panoramic views of the area should you venture to the top. There are plenty of steps to tackle on the way up though so make sure that you are prepared! The 48 bells in the tower chime every 15 minutes and on the hour they play a snippet of La Cantate à Jean Bart, a song with special meaning for Dunkirk.
Plage de Malo-les-Bains
Located just east of Dunkirk’s port is its famously-huge sandy beach. It is considered to be one of the best to visit in the whole of northern France and is a buzzing hub of activity on any given summer’s day. There are a number of restaurants and ice cream parlours that line the beaches and if you have smaller children with you, a kart ride along the waterfront is an absolute must! These karts are iconic of the Flemish coast.
Dunkirk 1940 Museum
Bastion 32, which is now the site of the museum, is where the Allied forces coordinated Operation Dynamo from in 1940, when more than 330,000 soldiers were evacuated from France with the Axis powers advancing. The museum is a great place to discover what happened during the operation in finer detail. There are also authentic weapons and uniforms as well as scale models of different components of the operation.
Parc Zoologique de Fort Mardyck
Although not the biggest in the world, this zoo still provides a fun day out for small children to see and discover some of their favourite animals. There are 40 species based at the zoo including flamingos, lynxes, brown bears, beavers and dwarf goats. There is also the collared peccary, an animal that is resistant to the bite of even the most venomous snakes.
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