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Things to do in Nord Pas-de-Calais

There are so many things to do in Nord-Pas de Calais, the northern most region of France…

It seems that the majority of visitors to the Nord Pas de Calais region are on their way to somewhere else. They only see the A16 and its immediate surroundings – perhaps catching a glimpse of a cathedral type spire or seeing sign posts for villages with lovely names. But still they pass by.

Some don’t even get that far. Those taking advantage of cheap day trips to buy good French wine and stock up on quality French foods, go no further than Calais town. Or perhaps the mega Cité Europe shopping complex. Both offer some fabulous shopping opportunities and great attractions.

But there is so much more to this lovely region. Pas de Calais is a beautiful area of France, lush, green and fertile and enjoying a similar climate to Devon and Cornwall in England.

A land of traditions

Group of women with garish makeup at the Dunkirk Carnival

Traditions are held dear here. The local people are proud of their region and love to share it with visitors and newcomers. If you only have a day or a weekend and you want to immerse yourself in French culture, try traditional French food, great wine or cider and enjoy a very French day out, Pas de Calais is a great place to do it.

If you have longer, this is a landwith infinite opportunities to enjoy the most of the good life in France. And you’ll find the locals love any excuse to celebrate and there are festivals, such as the Dunkirk Carnival, fairs, markets and events galore.

It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty. From the rolling hills and open untouched countryside, dramatic cliffs and the fine sandy opal coast beaches. There are river valleys and nature reserves and unspoiled villages.

There are a lot of surprising places to discover and amazing sights – from the local “giants” who participate in festivals to fantastic sports and leisure choices.

Nature and traditions

Little wooden boat floating on a narrow waterway in Amiens

In St Omer you’ll find France’s last remaining cultivated wetlands . Here farmers live and work in a labyrinth of small rivers.  It’s also the only place in France where the postman makes his rounds by boat!

In Amiens, the hortillonnages, a network of waterways and market gardens in the shadow of the great cathedral are nothing short of amazing.

It is often a surprise to find a little chapel, quite beautiful, isolated from the village and at the road’s edge. And then to see that nearby is a picnic table and chairs for use by everyone. This consideration for others, to enable everyone to make the most of the view, the surroundings and of nature is common in the region.

It’s a good idea to visit tourist offices in the towns you visit. You’ll find that often even relatively small villages have tourist offices. And the people who work there are generally really keen to help you make the most of your visit.

From soup festivals, organised turkey rampages through the streets, the Louvre-Lens, there’s so much to see and do in this northern tip of France at any time of the year.

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