Nord Pas-de-Calais is for many the people, the place where the ferries dock and the Channel Tunnel emerges from under the sea and into daylight. But this area of France has a huge amount to offer visitors and new residents. It’s a very hospitable part of the world and you will find yourself welcomed with open arms. Did you know that Nord Pas-de-Calais offers over 120 km of sandy beaches? Most holiday makers whizz through on their way to somewhere else, never knowing that la France Profonde is right there and doesn’t need to hours and miles of travelling to experience!
There is much evidence here of both World War I and World War II. Some things left as they were at the end of fighting for future generations to witness. And there are many commonwealth graves throughout the region. There are bunkers galore of varying states of repair. Some still in use, epitomising the style of regeneration of the North. They are now museums, or store rooms, meeting rooms and even a cinema.
There are forests with launch pads still in place for the V1 and V2 bombers that were turned on London; you can visit underground caves used by both sides during the Wars and there are many museums of great interest.
In Boulogne-sur-Mer, wander the cobbbled streets. And sample Vieux Bologne – the smelliest cheese in the world!
Walk around the cobbled streets and the ramparts of the Citadel of Montreuil sur Mer less than an hour from Calais, the town on which Victor Hugo based much of his grand work Les Miserables and watch the world go by with a coffee in one of the lovely cafes in one of the squares.
Climb the hill at Cassel near Dunkirk– where the Grand Old Duke of York marched his 10,000 men.
Be awed by the Lens Louvre. The architecture of this fabulous new building is worth the visit alone.
Sit and paint where Turner sat and painted. His “Calais Pier” hangs in the National Art Gallery in London but the wonderful light and the views along the Opal coast of the Pas-de-Calais which he loved are still here unchanged.
Spend a weekend in Lille. The European Capital of Culture in 2004 any time, or come in December and be enchanted by the magical atmosphere of the famed Christmas market.
Just relax, enjoy the French lifestyle with great food and wine. Take a stroll on a sandy beach and a paddle in the sea. The Opal Coast has many stunning beaches and resorts and little harbour villages to suit every taste and budget.
Visit the stunning La Piscine art deco swimming pool now museum in Roubaix.
The far north of France has so much to offer…