At Old World Stoneworks, our mantels are dear to our hearts and we put a lot of thought into their names. This week we’ll look at the place behind our Calais, one of our most romantic mantels.
Where is Calais?
Calais is a city in northern France, a short ferry ride across the English Channel from the town of Dover, England. As the principal ferry crossing between England and France, ferries make the 90-minute trip up to 30 times a day. Thirty million people sail this route every year!
This region was part of the historical Southern Netherlands until the 15th century, when it began a slow integration into France. Some aspects of Dutch culture linger on, such as place names and an estimated 20,000 citizens who still regularly speak West Flemish, a Dutch dialect. Picard is another notable regional language, but it’s nearly extinct. Since Calais borders Belgium, the Belgian influence is strong.
The Calais region is densely populated. With 4.1 million inhabitants, it’s the fourth biggest region in France. Many immigrant workers arrived in Calais during the twentieth century, coming from Poland, Italy, Germany, North Africa, Portugal, and even as far away as Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. About 85 percent of the Calais population is Catholic, but a few Muslims, Buddhists, Protestants and Jewish people also call the area home.
Things to See
Calais has many attractions that make it special. Calais-Nord, the city’s old town, is an island surrounded by canals. Tourists flock to the impressive town hall, and take in city views from the 255-foot-high belfry tower. Les Bourgeois de Calais (also known as The Six Burghers of Calais) is a famous bronze statue by Auguste Rodin. This life-size work depicts the six local notables who surrendered Calais to King Edward III in 1357.
One of the city’s top attractions is the fabulous Museum for Lace and Fashion. Like neighboring Belgium, Calais is known for its lace making. The museum is housed in a late nineteenth-century lace factory. It operated until 2000, then opened as a museum in 2009.
We feel like our beautiful Calais mantel surround captures the romance of this old port city in northern France. The ornate hand-carving and graceful curves will bring French elegance into your home, no matter where you live. If you’re ready for more beauty in your life, give us a call.