For me, the majority of the coastline of France is either so overrun by tourists as to be indistinct, or where I have fond memories, regrettably not recommendable as they were due to occasion rather than location. One exception to this rule, and a great venue to have in the bag as a pre-ferry or tunnel activity, is the Nausicaa - perched upon the seafront of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
The Nausicaa should not be compared to the aquariums found in many towns in Britain - it's a larger, more immersive experience which communicates mans ongoing relationship with the sea. More than just tanks of fish, the theatres and films take you on a journey of understanding, leaving you feeling enriched as a result of the experience.
The Centre National de la Mer is a vast aquarium on the northern edge of Boulogne Sur Mer and a good place to take children and young people.
It offers a broad experience of the world of the oceans, as well as showing hundreds of species of fish and marine mammals in spectacular tanks, against which you can press your nose to the (toughened) glass as sharks or barracuda swim by, alarmingly close.
Adults may find it a little too didactic an experience because, in typical French fashion, there is a very great deal of information presented to you, both at the start and at every stage of your visit. It is also rather hot and, again, adults may find that, like me, they are forced to visit the excellent bar to refresh themselves before returning to the Everglades, or the Deep Oceans or whichever part of the Centre they were at when the need for sustenance overtook them.
Children, young people and adults with energy and curiosity will enjoy Nausicaa enormously.
Nausicaa, Centre National de la Mer, Boulogne Sur Mer. www.nausicaa.fr
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