Tourist information for Northern France
Picardy (Picardie), Champagne-Ardenne and Pas de Calais - easy access
from England to this multi-faceted region. The long sandy beaches and dunes of the
Opal Coast give way inland to undulating countryside, lush wooded hills and ancient
forests, inland waterways and the famous vine-growing area of Champagne. There are
medieval towns, cultural and gastronomic centres and the historic and moving sites
of the first and second world wars. Combine a short break (special rates for stays
of less than 5 days) with some shopping for French wines and delicacies.
Activities in Picardy and Champagne:
Watersports, walking, cycling, inland boating, canoeing, golf.
Marquenterre bird sanctuary, Bagatelle amusement park, Aqualud all weather waterworld,
Nausica marine centre, Marais regional nature area, Cite L'Europe shopping complex,
European Centre for Peace, valley of the Somme, war cemeteries.
Towns and places of interest in northern France:
Amiens. This medieval town with its cathedral has a canal network and
boat trips around its market gardens. It is near a prehistoric park and good walking
and cycling country. Official Website
Arras. This busy town has two grand arcaded squares in the Flemish style
and several subterranean passages open to the public. It is near the European Centre
for Peace and the war cemeteries.
Official Web Site
Berck-sur-mer. This is a traditional northern resort known for its iodine-laden
air, which makes it a centre for recovery and convalescence. Disabled access is
plentiful. The long sandy beach stretches for miles making it suitable for sand-yachting
as well as sailing, windsurfing and angling. Near Bagatelle amusement park.
Boulogne. Probably the most attractive of the ferry destinations with its
harbour and medieval quarter it also has excellent food shops and the Nausica marine
Calais. A convenient stop near the vast shopping complex of the Cite L'Europe
and the museum of the Second World War.
Offical Web Site
Compiegne. Site of an old royal hunting palace and surrounded by an ancient
forest this area is particularly suitable for walking, cycling or horse riding.
Cassel. A pretty hilltop town with a windmill.
Douai. Largest collection of bells in Europe with public performances, and
a historic bell-tower.
Epernay. A centre for champagne tasting and near a butterfly park.
Le Cateau. Site of the Matisse museum.
Le Touquet. Another traditional seaside resort otherwise known as 'Paris-plage'
because of its popularity with Parisians. If the weather's bad there's always
the Aqualud swimming complex.
Lille. Well worth a stop, this busy industrial town has an attractive seventeenth
century old town centre and a wealth of opportunities for culture and shopping.
The Palais des Beaux Arts features Flemish paintings. This is a good centre for
touring the beautiful wooded hills of the Ardennes and all the surrounding activities,
walking, boating and canoeing, biking and skiing.
Lewarde. A museum of mining with visits underground.
Marquenterre. Nature reserve and bird sanctuary.
Montreuil. Ancient hilltop walled town, with narrow streets, attractive buildings
and peaceful squares.
Reims. A major cultural centre famous for it's gothic cathedral.
St. Omer. A traditional Flemish town and a centre for the Marais Regional
Nature Area of marshy inland waterways.
Troyes. Medieval timber houses and interesting and unusual museums including
a modern art museum of twentieth century painters. A centre for the clothes industry
and there are still several factory shops where French designer fashions can be
bought at knockdown prices.
St. Valery. A walled medieval citadel with a steam railway.
Villeneuve d'Ascq. Contains a good Museum of Modern Art.
Vimy Ridge. Site of the First World War battle and now dedicated to the Canadian
troops who fell there.