Sweet France : the Hauts de France

We’re gonna travel again! I’ll take you on a tour of the roads of France…

Our beautiful France, no need to go far sometimes to find a change of scenery. I’m taking you with me to visit the four corners of France. 1 region = 1 article, so that will make 18 articles and at one article per week, the trip will last 18 weeks (logical!). We start with the metropolis to finish with the overseas regions).
We’ll immediately start with the Hauts de France. Located in the north of France, the Hauts de France include :

  • The Aisne
  • The North
  • L’Oise
  • Pas-de-Calais
  • The Somme

The North

The capital of the North is none other than Lille, which is also the largest city in this department. For this month of April, we will have an average of 8°C (I remind you that it is only an average, it can actually be 4 as 13°C).

Lille

Lille is a very beautiful city. Take a walk in the old town of Lille with the emblematic Grand Place.

Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral was built in 1854. It is in neo-gothic style.

The old purse is a remnant of the Spanish occupation. This building was once used as a commodity exchange.

As for the Vauban citadel, it was built in 1667 on the orders of Louis XIV who had just taken the city from the Spanish.

Don’t miss the Rihour palace, the last vestige of the presence of the Dukes of Burgundy. The Palais des Beaux Arts is the second largest museum in France.

Finally, you can go and relax at the zoo.

Heron Park

Covering an area of 110 hectares, it is a regional heron nature reserve. It is located in the centre of Villeneuve d’Ascq. A place quite suitable for walks.

Val Joly

It is a nautical base that spreads over 180 hectares with an artificial lake.

Pas-de-Calais

The Pas-De-Calais is a tourist department, mainly linked to seaside tourism thanks to the Opal Coast as well as its important historical heritage. Let’s mention cities such as Boulogne Sur Mer, Lens or Arras, capital of the department.

The Opale Coast

The Opal Coast being on kilometers from Berck sur Mer to the Belgian border. Of course, you will have to stop on the two capes (White-Nose cape and Grey-Nose cape) which have been classed as major sites in France for many years in the same way as the Gorges du Verdon or the city of Carcassonne. These cliffs, whose highest point is 134 meters, you can clearly observe the cliffs of the English coast on a clear day.

Doesn’t this superb esplanade along the beach at Berck sur mer make you want to go for a walk?

Bagatelle Park is the biggest park in the department.

You will love to relax in this aquatic center with its many slides… It’s the Aqualud in Le Touquet.

Let’s continue our journey to Boulogne sur Mer. Nausicaa is one of the most important marine environment discovery centres in France.

Arras

Capital of the department, you will be able to take full eyes with its magnificent baroque squares which form a unique architectural ensemble in the world. Don’t forget to visit the belfry and the citadel, both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Loisinord

Don’t forget to go through Noeux les Mines and stop at Loisinord which is a ski slope on a slag heap. Yes, even in the Pas-De-Calais it is possible to ski! But it is also a water sports centre.

Dennlys Park

Do you have children who wouldn’t take full advantage of Bagatelle because they are still too small? Never mind! Near Fruges, in the village of Dennebroeuq, nestles a small (well, not so small) amusement park dedicated to children. Most of the attractions are accessible to children under 1 metre.

Somme

The capital of the Somme is Amiens. Its name comes from the river that crosses the department.

The Bay of the Somme

The bay of the Somme is worth the detour, St Valéry sur Somme, the Crotoy, the seals at the Pointe du Hourdel… In short, there’s plenty to do.

You can even take a steam train to go around it!

Marquenterre Ornithological Park

Created in 1973, it is 22 kilometres long and has no road access. Here you will find nature in its wild state. 315 species of birds live on these coasts.

Aisne

The chief town of the Aisne is Laon (do not pronounce the o, say Lan). I was an Axonese a few years ago. Besides, my children were born in Soissons.

The Guise household

Godin, a 19th century iron industrialist, once had the crazy idea of building a revolutionary social palace that would be very comfortable for his employees…

The Devil’s Hooded and the Garguantua Hooded

If you like to walk around, this is the place to go. Halfway between Soissons and Château-Thierry, you can admire sandstone with particular shapes evoking the silhouette of people and animals.

Vauclair Abbey

It is a former Cistercian abbey nestled in the heart of the Vauclair forest.

Laon

Lots of things to discover, such as the underground, the upper city, its ramparts, the cathedral and the citadel.

The Blangy waterfall

An enchanting place in the heart of the Hirson forest. A change of scenery is guaranteed on this one!

Axo beach

The lake of Monampteuil welcomes you to share a moment of relaxation with your family.

The Forest of Retz

From the terrace of my house, I had a breathtaking view of the forest of Retz. It is immense. Be careful not to get lost in it!

Oise

The capital of the Oise is Beauvais, which is also the largest town in the department.

Pierrefonds

The first time I went there, I was unsettled! Nothing like the rest of the place. You can taste Liège waffles there (I loved it!). The must-see place is still its castle, which is very popular for its movie sets.

The Domain of Chantilly

On more than 7800 hectares stands the castle of Chantilly. You will also find there the horse museum.

Compiègne and its forest

Here too, the forest is immense. There’s plenty to do for long walks. It is the 3rd largest forest in France.

Built at the edge of the forest, the palace of Compiègne dates back to the Middle Ages. You can find there the national museum of the car and tourism. The collection covers 3200m2. You can also enjoy the gardens of the 40 hectare imperial palace.

Amusement parks

L’Oise is not to be outdone on the theme park side. There are 3 of them (yes, just that!). You’ll find the famous Asterix park, the Saint Paul park and the Mer de Sable.

Senlis

Senlis is an ancient royal city that has retained all its nobility. It is a fortified city.

Herouval Park

It is a leisure park in a natural setting where children will have fun in the many small attractions. It is the ideal outing if you have children under 12 years old.

Beauvais

In Beauvais, you will find the departmental museum of the Oise which will interest all culture lovers. The National Tapestry Gallery is undoubtedly a visit not to be missed.

I hope you enjoyed it. Next week we will set off to conquer Normandy.

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