General Info

Regional Map
Conseil Régional
Tourism: Comité Régional de Tourisme
Capital: Lille
Departments: Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe, and Vendée
Arrondissements-13, Cantons-156, Communes-1,546
Population: 4,060,322 (2008 est.)
France Nord-Pas de Calais Region Map


Nord-Pas de Calais Burghers of Calais
Nord-Pas de Calais region is at the northern tip of France and the channel ports of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, and Dunkerque are the main ferry points along the 150-mile coastline of sandy beaches and cliffs. In the Middle Ages, the region was part of a feudal province known as Flanders and many here still speak Flemish. Bordering Belgium, this region displays a Flemish culture and architecture (Arras) with its canals and windmills and did not become French until 1713. During the 19th-century, the region became a leading center for commerce with coal mines, steel mills, and textile mills which have since closed down.
The region endured more destruction than any other region of France during the World Wars with hundreds of miles of land and many villages devastated. The town of Dunkerque (Dunkirk), east of Calais, was the last to be freed in 1945. The opening of the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel in 1994 has revived the region and boosted its prosperity. Tourism, particularly in Lille, has grown considerably with travel time on the Eurostar taking only two hours beteween London and Lille with connections to Brussels.

Nord-Pas de Calais Departmental Information

Conseil Général
Nord (59)
Pas-de-Calais (62)
Additional resources below

Notable Towns and Sights in the Nord- Pas de Calais Region

Arras (Pas de Calais) has three large squares, Grande Place, the Place des Héros, and the Petite Place. The Hôtel de Ville (town hall) in Place des Héros was rebuilt in the Flamboyant-Gothic style and, like surrounding buildings, was restored to pre-WWI condition after being destroyed. Also in Arras is the enormous Abbaye de Saint-Vaast (rebuilt in 1833) which houses the Musée des Beaux Arts with its collection of medieval sculpture and 19th-century works by the School of Arras (realist landscapes). France Nord-Pas de Calais Arras Hôtel de Ville#
Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas de Calais) is a prominent fishing port and marina south of Calais. The medieval and walled Haute Ville has the attractive sights including the 19th-century Basilique Notre-Dame (photo) with its dome visible for miles, and a 13th-century Château built for the Counts of Boulogne which is now a museum. Nearby is Nausicaa, an extensive and worthwhile aquarium. France Nord-Pas de Calais Boulogne-sur-Mer
Calais (Pas-de-Calais) overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point (21 miles/34 km) in the English Channel and is the closest French town to the United Kingdom. The entire town was virtually flattened during WWII, so there is little in Calais that pre-dates the war. Sights include the distinctive Hôtel de Ville (photo), built in the Flemish Renaissance style and in front of it is Auguste Rodin's famous 1888 statue, Les Bourgeois de Calais or Burghers of Calais, which celebrates the six burghers who offered their lives to save the town from the siege of Edward III (photo) The Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle has art from the Dutch and Flemish schools and information about the town's lace-making past. The Musée de la Guerre is in a German blockhouse with information about WWII events here. France Nord-Pas-de-Calais Les Bourgeois de Calais
Le Cateau-Cambrésis (Nord) was the birthplace of the painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The Musée Départemental Henri Matisse installed in the Palais Fénelon in the center of Le Cateau boasts the third largest collection of Matisse works in France. The museum also has works from a Tériade donation. NordMag- Le Cateau-Cambrésis France Nord-Pas de Calais Henri Matisse painting
Côte d'Opale (Pas-de-Calais) stretches from Calais to Boulogne-sur-Mer. From the coast England is visible on clear days. The coast is known for its beautiful cliffs such as Cape Blanc Nez and Cape Gris Nez. Many artists were inspired by its landscapes including the composer Henri Dutilleux, writers Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, and the painters Carolus-Duran and Maurice Boitel. France Nord-Pas de Calais Côte d’Opale
Dunkerque or Dunkirk (Nord) is a major port city near the Belgian border and was flattened during WWII. Though rebuilt, the city offers only a few sights including the Musée Portuaire, housed in a tobacco warehouse, and displaying the town's maritime past. The Musée des Beaux Arts has a large collection of Flemish, Italian, and French paintings and sculptures as well as an exhibition of the evacuation, by sea, of roughly 339,000 British and French troops in 1940. Also here is the Musée d'Art Contemporain with glassware and ceramics. The town has a large Carnival at the beginning of Lent to celebrate the town's cod fishermen going out to sea. Ville de Dunkerque France Nord-Pas de Calais Dunkerque Carnival
Le Touquet Paris-Plage (Pas de Calais) is a coastal town created in the 19th-century and has a reputation as an elegant holiday resort for northern France and a playground for rich Parisians with its many luxury hotels. Since the mid-1990's Le Touquet's villas have become extremely fashionable amongst architecture enthusiasts throughout Europe. There is a large pine forest, planted in 1855, around the town which itself has a casino, racetrack, golf courses, horse-riding, and other amusements. Every year in February, a spectacular motorbike & quad race called Enduro brings hundreds of thousands of spectators to watch bikers race along the beach and through the dunes. France Nord-Pas de Calais #
Lille (Pas-de-Calais) is a lively and progressive city that benefits from its strong Flemish past. The historic centre, Vieux Lille, has cobbled squares lined with 17-18th century houses, stylish shopping, fine restaurants, and a student-driven night-life. There are many museums here and the world-renowned Palais des Beaux-Arts has a superb collection of 15-20th century paintings including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Delacroix, and a Manet. It also has exquisite local porcelain and faïence and classical archeological finds, medieval statuary, and detailed models of fortified cities in Northern France and Belgium. The Musée d'Art Moderne, situated in sculpture park, is highly regarded and has colorful works by Braque, Calder, Léger, Miró, Modigliani, and Picasso. Other museums include the Hospice Comtesse, Le Musée Régional Hospitalier , and the Pasteur Institute Museums. Also here is the Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle (birthplace), Natural History museum, Old Gunnery museum, and the Centre Art Sacré Contemporain. Lille is an important crossroads in the European high-speed rail network with the Eurostar line to London and the TGV lines to Paris, Brussels, and other major french cities like Marseille, Lyon, and Toulouse. Mairie France Nord-Pas de Calais Lille Grande Place
Montreuil-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) is surrounded by medieval ramparts, part of the reinforcement work of the famed French military engineer Vauban from his fortification of Northern France in the 17th-century under Louis XIV. The city was the setting for much of the early part of Victor Hugo's novel Les MisÚrables. The novel's protagonist, Jean Valjean, served as mayor of the city. The city was the setting for much of the early conflict between Valjean and the novel's antagonist, Javert. It was also Fantine's hometown. France Nord-Pas de Calais Montreuil-sur-Mer ramparts
Saint-Omer (Pas-de-Calais) is on the Aa river and evolved around a monastery founded in the 7th-century by Saint Omer, bishop of Thérouanne. The richly-furnished 13th-15th century Basilique Notre Dame (formerly cathedral) is a true gem with much of its present woodwork from the 1700's. Sights include the Musée Sandelin (1776) with ceramics, objets d'art, and paintings. The Hôtel de Ville, built from materials from the 15th-century abbey of Saint Bertrin, houses rare manuscripts, a picture gallery, and a theatre. The Musée Henri Dupuis has ceramics and minerals collected by a wealthy local during the 19th-century. France Nord-Pas de Calais Saint Omer Basilica

L'Abbaye de Vaucelles (Nord) is a Cistercian abbey from 1145 and is located in the Valley of the Haut-Escaut 20 miles (12 km) from Cambrai. It is considered one of the most prestigious monuments in northern France. Only the 12th-century cloister (open to the public) and the 18th-century abbatial library remain. France Nord-Pas de Calais L'Abbaye de Vaucelles
Vimy (Pas-de-Calais) is where the Battle of Vimy Ridge took place and remains historically significant for Canada as it was a military offensive during World War I by the Canadian Corps against the German Sixth Army along the Western Front where 3,589 lost their lives in 1917. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial (photo) was placed at the highest point on the ridge and has allegorical figures carved out of limestone. The base of the memorial is inscribed with the names of 11,285 Canadians who went missing in action. This one-square kilometer section of land was gifted to the Canadian government in 1922 to recognize their WWI contributions. France Nord-Pas de Calais Vimy War Memorial

Les Plus Beaux Villages in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region




Complete List of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France

Natural Parks in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region

Additional Resources for the Nord-Pas de Calais Region

Average Monthly Temperatures in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region

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