Take a trip to Hauts-de-France
Composed of the former regions of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the Hauts-de-France region forms the northern tip of the territory. Although it has mostly very fertile agricultural land, it was also in its time one of the main industrial regions of France, especially in the textile, coal and steel industries. However, it would be wrong to limit the Hauts-de-France to its economic activity. The region is bordered by the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. You can thus enjoy a temperate sea on the Bay of the Somme or the Opal Coast. Are you more interested in nature outings? The region benefits from thick forests such as the one of Villers-Cotterêts and numerous hiking trails. Or is it the discovery of the heritage that makes your heart beat faster? On the border with England and Belgium, the area has a rich history that has left remarkable traces here and there.
Tour guides in Hauts-de-France
Five ideas for guided tours in Hauts-de-France
Located in the extreme North of the territory, the city of Dunkerque will offer you relaxation and culture. Go for a swim on the “queen of the northern beaches” in the seaside resort of Malo-les-Bains. You can have fun with its casino and marvel at its Art Deco villas. Do you want to discover the port? Dunkerque has a port museum that will enlighten you on its history and the trades that are practiced there. Dunkerque is also a key place of the Second World War, especially because of the infamous “Operation Dynamo” which will be a crushing British defeat. The Memorial of Remembrance will help you look back on this historic date. Finally, if you come between the end of January and the beginning of April, you can enjoy the festivities of the famous Carnival.
Capital of the region, Lille is a city at the crossroads of several influences. Its Palais des Beaux-Arts is one of the largest in France and the Piscine de Roubaix, located in its close suburb, is a museum with an unusual scenography. You can stroll through the sumptuous architecture of Old Lille with its squares, its old stock exchange, its opera house or its curious cathedral. You can also take a tour of the fortified citadel, discover its gates and its City Hall flanked by a belfry or visit the birthplace of General de Gaulle, now a museum. The Grande Braderie on the first weekend of September is the ideal place to make good deals.
Former capital of Picardy, the city of Amiens is not to be outdone for beautiful visits. Take a boat tour of the Hortillonnages. Are you more interested in history? Its gothic cathedral is the one with the highest ceiling height in Europe. The Picardy Museum, founded during the Second Empire by the Picardy Society of Antiquaries, houses a rich collection, from prehistory to the 20th century. Finally, the Perret Tower is a reminder of the reconstruction of the city after the Second World War. Amiens is also the land of a famous writer: Jules Verne. The house in which he lived from 1882 to 1900 has been converted into a museum about his life. On the event side, its Rendez-vous de la bande dessinée, which takes place the first weekend of June, is one of the main French-speaking comic strip festivals.
Prefecture of the department of Aisne, the old town of Laon surprises by its location at the top of a hillock in a large plain. Its medieval city is the densest protected sector in France in terms of historical monuments per square meter. Among these, its gothic cathedral, one of the first built, is the emblem of the city. Its canon’s mansion on rue Pourrier dates from the 12th century and is the oldest house in the city. The Museum of Art and History of Laon is located in a former Templar barracks and has in its courtyard a funeral chapel of the order. Its fortifications are magnificently preserved and still include some remarkable doors, they will lead you to the citadel of Henri IV where it is possible, via the Tourist Office, to visit a part of the underground of the city. In August, the sound and light show “Couleurs d’été” decorates the cathedral with shimmering colors.
City appreciated by Napoleon III, Compiègne still has the castle where he stayed. If the main part of the visit concerns the imperial apartments, a museum of the car is also located there. In the immense forest which adjoins it, you will find near the city, the Wagon of Rethondes where the Armistice of the First World War was signed. Compiègne also has a Memorial of Internment and Deportation which focuses on the second. In the city center, you will find the sumptuous flamboyant Hôtel de Ville and three municipal museums:
– The Antoine Vivenel Museum which is an art and archaeology museum.
– The Saint-Corneille Cloister Museum which is a lapidary depository
– The Museum of the historical figurine which presents us a succession of historical scenes realized from an immense collection of wooden and lead figurines.