When I first booked my £1 return car trip on our return ferry to France we had no clue where we were actually going to go. With a deal that good sometimes you have to trust yourself to work out the details later! One place we entertained but dismissed was Dunkirk, which we decided against in favour of travelling a bit further out to spend time in Brugge instead. However, I still wanted to have a look around this historic city so we stopped by on our way to Brugge to try and see as much as possible in our limited time.
Dunkirk is, of course, best known for being the location of one of the most famous battles of World War II and the city doesn’t shy away from this. Heading into the centre of town there are plenty of relics from this period to be found as well as evidence of more ancient history and a bunch of shops and restaurants. The first thing we did was head for food, Dunkirk has a ton of different independent restaurants and we headed to a French Bistro (when in Rome and all that) to try something I had never had chance to before, steak tartare. I have to admit I was nervous at the thought of trying raw beef but it was utterly delicious. The meat was tender and seasoned so well and proved the French’s reputation for good food.
From there we wanted to explore the town with our limited time, in the centre of the city we checked out the beautiful Eglise Saint-Eloi Church before heading down to its famous beach to see the D-Day memorial. On our way there we saw much of the urban side of the city was a rather run down. We did walk through the garden of the Lieu d’Art et Action Contemporaine de Dunkerque sculpture park which has a beautiful pond and artwork before we finally found our way to the beach.
The beach is vast and was fairly empty on the day we visited, it is hard to imagine the ordinary soldiers who were rescued by from here by the British public with their civilian boats people almost 80 years ago during the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were saved. the memorial here is simple and quiet, it’s a great place for reflection.
Leaving here we walked back along the beach and along the harbour, which is one of the most beautiful parts of this city. This area is the most modern and the boats are beautiful and enjoyed our walk around here as we headed back to our car.
If you have more time in this city you can also check out the Operation Dynamo Museum, the Musée Portuaire de Dunkerque which covers the history of Dunkirk and Fort-Mardyck Zoological Park but in all, a day here is more than enough. Have you ever visited Dunkirk?