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A general view of Sangatte
A general view of Sangatte
Coat of arms of Sangatte
Coat of arms
Location of Sangatte
Sangatte is located in France
Sangatte is located in Hauts-de-France
Coordinates: 50°56′51″N 1°45′27″E / 50.9475°N 1.7575°E / 50.9475; 1.7575Coordinates: 50°56′51″N 1°45′27″E / 50.9475°N 1.7575°E / 50.9475; 1.7575
IntercommunalityCA Calaisis
 • Mayor (2014-2020) Guy Allemand
14.28 km2 (5.51 sq mi)
 • Density340/km2 (890/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
62774 /62231
Elevation0–151 m (0–495 ft)
(avg. 4 m or 13 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Sangatte is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department on the northern coast of France on the English Channel.

Like many place names in French Flanders, the name is of Flemish (Dutch) origin (Zandgat) and means "gap in the sand".


Sangatte became internationally famous because of the works for the Channel Tunnel and is the location for the tunnel's French cooling station, its British counterpart being at Samphire Hoe. In addition, it is the French end-point for the HVDC Cross-Channel, the connection between the UK and French electricity grids.


Pioneering Cross-Channel flight[edit]

'Blériot-Plage' is named to commemorate Louis Blériot who, on the July 25, 1909, was the first person to fly across the English Channel. He flew from the beach at Sangatte to the White Cliffs of Dover, to claim the prize offered by the Daily Mail; the crossing took 37 minutes in his aeroplane, Blériot XI, built in collaboration with Raymond Saulnier. It was powered by a 3-cylinder 25 horsepower (19 kW) engine.

At the western end of the beach, a statue of the French aviator Hubert Latham overlooks the sea (50°55′50″N 1°43′16″E / 50.93044°N 1.7211°E / 50.93044; 1.7211). Latham was another pioneering cross-channel pilot whose earlier attempt on July 19 had failed.[2]

Refugee camp[edit]

Sangatte also achieved notoriety as the location of a controversial refugee camp, colloquially dubbed Sans-gate (Lit. 'without gate') (see Channel Tunnel article for details). Nicolas Sarkozy, then Minister of the Interior, ordered its closure.[3] There were riots in 2001 and 2002, the year the camp closed.[4]


Population history
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2012
3309 3340 3332 3199 3326 4046 4591 4719
Census count starting in 1962: Population without duplicates

Twin towns[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In the BBC Two show Top Gear, the three presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May crossed the Channel in an amphibious Nissan Navara and instead of finishing at Calais after leaving Dover, they ended up 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) along the coast in Sangatte.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2016". INSEE. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. ^ Flight Magazine 30 March 1951 p.365: Portrait of a Pioneer by Colin Boyle
  3. ^ Le Monde, 7 mai 2007:,1-0@2-823448,36-906438@51-823374@45-100,0.html
  4. ^

External links[edit]

(In French language)