The beautiful city of Arras is a fabulous, atmospheric, and architecturally striking place to visit. It was decimated during WW1 and rebuilt but it’s hard to tell what is original and what is not. There’s plenty to do and see in this 2000 year old city and here are ten must-sees:
1. Climb a Belfry
Enjoy stunning views from the top of the 75ft Belfry, there’s a lift most of they way and a few stairs to climb to the very top. Voted the most preferred monument in the whole of France in 2015.
2. Go underground
Explore the fascinating 10th century Les Boves, an extensive series of underground passages once used as storage by wealthy merchants and also as a shelter by WW1 soldiers before the Battles of Arras. In summer months underground gardens are created in its dark depths, quite a sight!
3. Arras Market
Wander around the huge Saturday market in the Place des Heroes. There’s also a mid-week market (Wednesday morning).
Enjoy one of the many the atmospheric, underground restaurants, serving typical regional food, such as L’Ami Bidasse on Rue de la Taillerie.
4. The Arras Rats!
A local delicacy to sample here are the Arras rats! The rat is the symbol of this city though the ones to buy are the chocolate ones in the local patisseries like Le Coeur d’Arras a l’Ancienne at 50 Places Des Heroes, it’s an institution in Arras. There’s also a lovely little tea room here and master patissier Sebastien Thibault makes the most delicious waffles and cakes.
There are cobbled streets to wander (5), a fabulous Palais des Beaux Arts with a great collection and an annual exhibition based on the museum’s partnership with the Chateau de Versailles (6). Find plenty of shops including a lovely book store with a giant sleeping beauty (7), wonderful architecture (8), great restaurants (9) and laid back lifestyle in this town with loads of terraced cafés to sit and watch the world go by with a hot chocolate or locally brewed beer (10).
You’ll want to return again and again…
More on Arras:
Belfry, Boves and the Town Hall of Arras
The Christmas market of Arras – a winter wonderland
Wellington Quarry Arras – a moving WWI memorial