Hugging the English Channel, Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a historic region in the far north of France. It was once part of the Netherlands and encompasses uniquely Flemish destinations, despite being taken by France during the reign of King Louis XIV. Nord-Pas-de-Calais’ coastline is dotted with picturesque fishing towns and the international ferry port of Calais.
Things to do in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
With its lively cities and fascinating World War II history, Nord-Pas-de-Calais is one of the most underrated regions in France.
Explore the museums of Dunkirk. Located just a stone's throw from the Belgian border, Dunkirk is a seaside city synonymous with Operation Dynamo - the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II. You can learn more at the Memorial du Souvenir Operation Dynamo Museum before visiting the Musee Portuaire where vintage ships are on display. Don’t miss the LAAC, a strikingly designed museum that houses contemporary artworks.
Sightsee in Lille. Serving as the capital of Hauts-de-France, Lille is a vibrant university city that was once a merchant hub for French Flanders. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lille to admire its 17th-century townhouses and watch all the comings and goings in Grand Place. Dominating the city is the UNESCO-listed Town Hall Belfry, a 104-metre-high landmark that offers magnificent views across Lille from its top.
Visit La Piscine Museum. In the city of Roubaix is this uniquely conceived art and industry museum, which is housed within an Art Deco swimming complex. Originally constructed in the 1920s by Albert Baert, it was reopened as a cultural institution in 2000 and incorporates part of an adjacent textile factory. In addition to paintings and sculptures, the museum exhibits locally made ceramics and textile samples.
Getting around Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Lille Airport is the main aviation hub for Nord-Pas-de-Calais and has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Railways serve the region’s major towns and cities while buses access smaller villages. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around Nord-Pas-de-Calais.