If you are planning to drive to France for a day trip, then there are few better destinations than Calais. With one of the easiest and quickest ferry crossing routes from the UK, it has been a popular place to visit for day trippers for many years. Calais has some cultural highlights to look out for, but it is probably best known for its shopping. This is not just because British visitors tend to use it as a place to do their alcohol purchases – so-called booze cruises – but because there are some other great retail opportunities, too. Depending on where you are travelling from in the UK, time may be limited on a day trip to Calais. As such, knowing where to bag the best bargains in advance is essential to make the most of your time in the French port.
These days, French supermarkets in the area around Calais cater for British customers. You can buy beer in recognisably British brands just as you might expect from your local Tesco store. Prices don’t vary much from British ones, unless a particular line happens to be on special offer. However, when it comes to wine there are bargains to be had. Remember to stock up on bags and boxes if you are planning on purchasing yours as individual bottles, becasue many French supermarkets charge for these. If you are buying by the case, then this is not an issue. Try Calais Vins which is situated on the Autoroute 16 at junction 44. Here you can pick up a good array of French as well as German wines. They often also offer excellent choices of Champagnes, some of which you can pick up at very low prices. Auchan is a great hypermarket to visit for good quality wines at low prices. The one in Calais is located at Avenue Roger Salengro.
Thirty years ago few people travelled to France to seek out bargains from clothes shops. Indeed, French people used to travel to the UK to do the reverse. These days, on the other hand, you can find excellent clothing outlets at Cité Europe, which lies close to French end of the Channel Tunnel terminal. If you are travelling via Eurotunnel, then it may well be that you don’t have to head on any further than here to get everything you want. Well-known brands such as Zara, NafNaf and Mango all retail from the centre. You can also find some European brands that offer something a bit different from anything you’d find at home. This is a great place to head if you have kids with you as there is a high-quality children’s play area.
Buying smoking products is another area for potential bargains when visiting France. The limit to bring back with you is 800 cigarettes or the equivalent. In Calais, head to Carrefour for bulk bargains with smoking products. Alternatively, try Les 4 Boulevards, a shopping mall located on Rue Neuve with a good-sized Champion supermarket that sells a wide selection of cigarette brands.