Port on the English Channel in the département of Pas-de-Calais, northern France, situated at the mouth of the River Liane; population (2005 est) 44,600. The city is a ferry port (connecting with the English ports of Dover and Folkestone) and seaside resort. Industries include oil refining, food processing, boatbuilding and the manufacture of textiles, It is the chief fishing port of France and carries an important import/export trade. Boulogne was a medieval countship, but was united with the French crown by Louis XI in 1477.
In World War II it was evacuated by the British on 23 May 1940 and recaptured by Canadian forces on 22 September 1944.
Features The town is in two parts. Upper Boulogne, on the top of a hill, is the older part; lower Boulogne, at the foot of the hill, is the port with the residential area and new industrial and commercial businesses. Across the river is the industrial district of Capécure, containing the main railway stations.
The town still has its medieval ramparts, as well as a 13th-century bridge and the 19th-century cathedral. The Basilica of Notre Dame stands on the site of the cathedral burnt during the French Revolution, and contains an 11th-century crypt and the remains of a 3rd-century Roman temple.
History The city is built on the Roman site of Gesoriacum. Henry VIII of England captured it in 1544, but it was returned to the French in 1550. Napoleon I mustered an army at Boulogne in 1803, with the intention of invading England, but the plan never materialized. During World War I Boulogne was an important British base and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. In World War II it was a German submarine base, and was badly damaged by bombing, with over 5,000 buildings destroyed.