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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.

Special attractions:

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
amiens centre

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

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.
beach at berck sur mer

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 centre.
boulogne old town

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
calais town hall

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.
battlements montreuil

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.
st omer

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.