Nord-Pas-de-Calais : between yesterday's resistance and today's hospitality
Once a mining region, the still very industrialised and farmland-covered Nord-Pas-de-Calais region proudly stretches across the North of France. On the border with Belgium, it is the departure point of the Channel tunnel which links France to Great Britain.
A region synonymous with hard work
A very sought-after European crossroads since Gallic times, Nord-Pas-de-Calais became a French region in the 16th century. Its industrial boom in the 19th century left its mark on the region with the architecture and the labor culture.
The Béthune belfry
This is one of the 23 belfries listed as Unesco World Heritage. Erected in 1346 made from wood , it was destroyed by a fire and re-made with sandstone in 1388. Standing at a height of 33 m and topped with a dragon, it was accidentally decapitated in 1918 and therefore reconstructed.
The most popular French seaside resort, Le Touquet is home to a huge forest, considerable Anglo-Norman-style heritage and 21 buildings listed as historical monuments. Located on the Côte d'Opale (Opale coast), its 12 km-long fine sandy beach is lined with sand dunes.
The Carnaval de Dunkerque
The commune is very well known for its carnival, the Carnaval de Dunkerque. Started in the 17th century, the carnival takes place over the space of a month to the rhythm of balls and carnival parades which follow the drum major and the clique of musicians.
A clever mixture of sweet and sour, rich in spicy sauces, the cuisine from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region is the outcome of a successful culinary combination. The waffles, herring, stew, flamiche pies, Waterzooi stew and Maroilles cheese all go down wonderfully when accompanied by a traditional beer.
It is said that this is the most difficult race in the world. Created in 1896, every year it welcomes thousands of the world's best cyclists. Nicknamed “the Hell of the North”, it is 250km long and includes several daunting cobbled sections.