What’s On in Dunkirk, France?

Dunkirk Carnival, Dunkerque, France

If you’re heading to the pleasant shores of France and in the market for activities in Dunkirk, or Dunkerque if you prefer, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.

Dunkirk Carnival

If you can make your way to Dunkirk between the end of January and the middle of March, the most popular carnival in Northern France awaits you. The Dunkirk Carnival prides itself on being one-of-a-kind. The tradition of the carnival dates back centuries when the townspeople gathered together to see their fishermen off to Icelandic waters, a dangerous (and potentially deadly) job which lasted for months. The modern theme of the carnival is cross-dressing — all the men dress as women and the women dress as men, and everyone wears the most outlandish costumes they can find. The Dunkirk Carnival involves a lot of drinking along with singing, dancing and an odd fish throwing exercise involving the Mayor. All very strange but well worth the time to visit. Plenty of Brits make their way across the channel specifically for the carnival – the Dover to Dunkerque ferries will get you (and your costume) there with ease.

La Bracine

La Bracine Brewery, Blaringhem. France

Sticking with the drinking theme, La Bracine is a small family run brewery in Blaringhem just outside Dunkirk which produces homemade beer made from local ingredients. By appointment only they offer a tour of the beer making facilities including a tasting session. Their beer is renowned for being produced in great variety and very small batches.

Château Coquelle

Château Coquelle, Dunkirk, France

Coquelle Castle was the home of Felix Coquelle, a local banker and philanthropist, from 1904 to 1928. Today his former homestead and the series of beautiful period buildings around the estate are a local tourist attraction. The castle is surrounded by parks and a 4 hectare landscaped garden named “Euloumad” after his three children Eugene, Louise and Madeleine. There are guided tours daily and a playground for children.

St-Eloi Church

Saint Eloi Church, Dunkerque, France

Founded in the early 7th century by Saint Eloi himself, the church burned down in 1558 and was rebuilt in an 18th century neo-classical Gothic style. It’s currently packed full of ornamental stone carvings and is famed for its stained glass windows created by the master glassworker Gaudin. It also houses the white marble slab covered tomb of Jean Bart, Dunkirk’s most famous son.

La Demi Lune

Hungry? Why not pay a visit to La Demi Lune, Dunkirk’s first ever organic vegetarian restaurant. Serving excellent food, it’s only a short walk from the Church of St Eloi and is a great way to round out your day in Dunkirk.

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