The northern French town of Calais is going dragon crazy – and for a very good reason, a dragon-horse is visiting along with a giant spider and the town is putting on a very special welcome...
Dragon Fever in an Incredible Free Show
From June 23 to June 26 2016, the streets of Calais will become a place of folklore and fairy tale as giant creatures will arrive to roam and romp.
In a unique and breath-taking event, you'll come face to face with a ginormous mechanical dragon horse called Long Ma and with Kumo, an immense spider: think 'Game of Thrones meets Harry Potter'! This is the only planned European performance of a most extraordinary free street performance - and definitely not to be missed (can you imagine the selfies you can take here?)...
These magnificent machines were created by François Delarozière, the genius designer of mechanical wizardry whose work is known all over the world and, you may already know of him from the incredible Island of the Machines in Nantes. Breathing smoke, walking the streets, batting their eyelids and generally creating mayhem and wowing all who see them, for four days the machines will rule the streets of Calais.
Find the full programme here.
Calais Welcomes the Machines
The townspeople of Calais have prepared a welcome for these magical beasts, designed to thrill visitors too!
At the Calais Fine Arts Museum, an exhibition is devoted to the “Extraordinary Machines”, the fantasy world of François Delarozière, artistic director of the company La Machine, genius and artist as well as engineer. The exhibition will showcase moving machinery, models including the one for Kumo the spider, plus original drawings from various shows – it’s certain to impress.
From 23 June to 27 November, Tuesday to Sunday, from 13h to 18h; Special opening from 10.00 to 18.00, 23 to 26 June
Local shops are getting into the spirit of the event and many will decorate their windows in welcome for Long Ma.
At the historic Town Hall, the town gardeners have prepared a special Asiatic garden and if you think you see a floral dragon breathing smoke – you may not be mistaken!
Spend the day in Calais
If you can manage to drag yourself away from the dragon, there’s plenty to see and do in the town.
Flavour Fest: After being wowed by the guests of honour in Calais, you’re bound to be hungry. In this French town, there are plenty of tasty options to sink your teeth into! Whether its authentic, traditional Brasserie style restaurants that float your boat or bistrot, gastronomique or gourmet you’ll find plenty of choice.
Head to the beach: Calais’ long sandy spotlessly clean beach is just right for a relaxing break, a picnic (with a fresh baguette, some cheese and a mouth-watering cake) or to paddle and let the kids run about and let off steam. The boardwalk is lined with restaurants - perfect for watching the world go by and the rather mesmerising sight of ferries to-ing and fro-ing from the port.
Climb a tower: Nip up to the top of the UNESCO listed Belfry next to the Town Hall for magnificent views over the town and the English Channel.
Calais Dentelle: The lace museum of Calais offers a fascinating collection of haut couture costumes, lace garments, lingerie, working looms and more.
Shopping – Calais is a great place to buy fab French food - fromage fans will love Maison des Fromages (1 Rue André Gerschell) and wine can be bought in the specialist stores or supermarkets.
Get loads more ideas from the Calais Tourist Office
Win Return Ferry Tickets to Calais with DFDS
To celebrate the extraordinary visit of Long-ma and Kumo, DFDS have offered two lucky winners a return crossing Dover/Calais, valid until 31 December 2016 * for a car and up to 4 passengers.
Just click here to enter the contest "Win a Return Crossing Dover/Calais with DFDS"