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Nord-Pas de Calais

Visit Nord-Pas de Calais


Nord-Pas de Calais is France's gateway region for travellers from the UK. Its coastline is lined with busy ports and charming seaside towns that look out across the English Channel - or la Manche to give it its French name. In between are broad beaches where sand artists and kite surfers work and play on golden sands lined with pastel-coloured beach huts, and chalky cliffs where cyclists and walkers make the most of the salty air.

Fortified towns, Flemish mills, flea markets and fine art are other regional attractions of the Nord-Pas de Calais. Imposing belfries are another familiar sight in towns around the region, while small art museums and village markets are other attractions. Fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-caught oysters and scallops, creamy cheeses and warm baguettes can be picked up in regular village and town markets up and down the Opal Coast - as this part of France likes to market itself - while large hypermarkets are a good bet for stocking up on French wines before catching the ferry or the Eurostar back to Blighty.

Flemish influences from Belgium, against which Nord-Pas de Calais nestles on its eastern flank, are noticeable in the regional cuisine, not least in the grand and cultured city of Lille. Restaurants and cafes here, and in other parts of the region, serve up salty mussels, frothy craft beers, genever gin, stuffed waffles and dainty pastries, as well as more traditional French flavours.


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Where to go in Nord-Pas de Calais


Calais is a busy port overlooking the Channel and, on clear days, the White Cliffs of Dover. It's one of the Nord-Pas de Calais' key trade and tourism hubs and its nearby hypermarkets are popular with day-trippers and returning holidaymakers, who visit in order to stock up on high quality wines, ch…


Boulogne-sur-Mer is one of France's main fishing towns and naturally places a heavy emphasis on all things connected with the sea. Quieter and more atmospheric than nearby Calais, it's a lovely place for a day trip or a short break taking in the town and the surrounding Opal Coast, which includes t…


Dunkirk will, for many people, always be associated with Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of 350,000 Allied troops from its beaches in the face of the German advance during the early summer of 1940. The soldiers were transported across the Channel in all manner of vessels, from cruisers to fishing …


Lille is the industrial hub turned cultural capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region, with grand architecture and a strong Flemish identity - many of the locals still use its Flemish name, Rijssel and moules-frites appears on many a restaurant menu. It's a key Eurostar city, reached from London in …

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When to go to Nord-Pas de Calais

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