North East France places to visit and attractions

Abbeville

photo of Abbeville

Abbeville makes a pleasant detour when you are exploring the Baie de Somme region, in particular to see the Collegiale Church of Saint-Vulfran

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Aire-sur-la-Lys

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Now officially listed as a 'recommended detour' town, the highlight in Aire-sur-la-Lys is the bailliage, an ornate renaissance style building built in 1600

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Amiens

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As well as the remarkabe gothic style cathedral which attracts most visitors, Amiens also has several other sites of interest and museums

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Amiens Cathedral

photo of Amiens Cathedral

Arras

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The belfry and the large number of baroque style houses make the centre of Arras very appealing with little clue that most were rebuilt less than 100 years ago after WW1 damage

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Bar-le-Duc

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In the upper town of Bar-le-Duc you can find good examples of both medieval and renaissance style houses

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Beauvais

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In Beauvais you can see the important (if often rebuilt and renovated) cathedral with its famous astronomical clock and several medieval houses

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Bitche

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The citadel in Bitche is very interesting, with videos explaining the history and sieges of the town

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Boulogne-sur-Mer

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The old town with its ramparts, castle and ancient streets are the highlight in Boulogne itself, while nearby there are plenty of good sandy beaches

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Cambrai

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Remarkably for the town that was the site of the world's first ever tank batle, Cambrai is very interesting to explore with lots of historical monuments and a high quality museum

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Chalons-en-Champagne

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In Chalons-sur-Champagne it is the various churches that are the main highlight of a visit

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Charleville-Mezieres

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In and around the grand Place Ducale, among the largest squares in France, you can see a large number of interesting 17th century houses and arcades

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Epernay

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The grand wine houses andvineyards around the town leave you in doubt that Epernay is the world capital of Champagne!

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Epine

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In the village of Epine you can visit the Basilica of Notre Dame de l'Epine, an impressive 15th century cathedral in the 'flamboyant gothic' style with gargoyles and many architectural features to admire

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Ermenonville

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The Mer de Sable theme park is the main reason visitors come to Ermenonville, but find time to also see the Chateau d'Ermenonvile and visit the Park Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Esquelbecq

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At Esquelbec you can admire the Flemand style town centre with its Chateau and church, and visit an important war cemetery

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Fort-Mahon-Plage

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Both the beach itself and the resort of Fort-Mahon-Plage are among the most popular coastal destinations in Picardy

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Gerberoy

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The 18th century cottages and pretty gardens, and a radical transformation during the last 50 years, have ensured that Gerberoy is listed among the 'most beautiful villages in France'

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Givet

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On the border with Belgium, Givet is dominated by the Charlemont Fort and is a lovely place to stroll along the river banks

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Gravelines

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The principal attraction at Gravelines is the fortifications, built by the Spanish in the 16th century and reinforced by Vauban in the 17th century

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Joinville

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Garden enthusiasts will want to visit Joinville to see the extensive gardens of the Château du Grand Jardin

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La Ferte-Milon

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The curious facade of a 14th century castle dominates your visit to La Ferté-Milon

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Langres

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The highlight in Langres is the chance to follow the 3 kilometres of ramparts - either walking or by tram

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Laon

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The cathedral in Laon is an astonishing early gothic masterpiece, and the Museum of Laon is another unexpected highlight

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Le Crotoy

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The long sandy beach is the main attraction in Le Crotoy, and the town is also very pleasant to explore

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Le Touquet

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Upmarket Le Touquet is probably the most popular of the coastal resorts in the region, with a lovely beach and wide range of facilties

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Lille

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The renaissance of Lille over the last 20 years has transformed an industrial town into one of the most rewarding cities in northern France to vist

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Maroilles

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It is the riverside setting and the buildings that remain of the abbey complex that once stood here that form the main attraction in Maroilles

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Metz

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As well as the cathedral it is the grand squares surrounded by 18th century townhouses that are among the highlights of your visit to Metz

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Montherme

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In a pleasant seting on the Meuse river, the two churches and a stroll along the riverside will be the highlights when you visit the village of Monthermé

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Montreuil

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The historic centre of the fortified town of Montreuil is lovely to explore with lots of cobbled streets and shady squares to discover

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Nancy

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Rather overlooked as a tourist destination, the centre of Nancy around Place Stanislaus is impressive enough to be classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are several high quality museums!

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Noyon

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The medieval centre of Noyon is dominated by its cathedral in the 'transition' style (between roman and gothic periods) and related monuments

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Parfondeval

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The small and rather remote village of Parfondeval is lso very picturesque and centred around its fortified church

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Reims

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In the attractive and lively centre of Reims you can see three UNESCO listed world heritage sites: the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Abbey of Saint-Remi and the Palace of Tau

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Rodemack

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The medieval centre in the fortified village of Rodemack make it one of the most beautiful villages in the Lorraine region

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Roubaix

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Although its not a major tourist destination, the centre of the large town of Roubaix has several sights of interest

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Saint-Amand-les-Eaux

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Established as a spa centre for more than 2000 years, it is still the spa treatments that attract visitors to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux today

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Saint-Omer

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The attractive centre of Saint-Omr is one of the best towns to see houses built in the Flemish style typical of the region

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Saint-Quentin

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In the central square in Saint-Quentin, the 16th century town hall is a remarkable example of secular gothic style architecture

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Saint-Quirin

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The centre of the small village of Saint-Quirin is very pleasant to explore, then take the cobbled path that leads to a small chapel above the village

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Saint-Valery-sur-Somme

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Saint-Valery-sur-Somme is one of the nicest towns in the region, especially the area around the harbour with the old fishermen cottages

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Sedan

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Now a 'town of art and history' it is the castle and surrounding streets where your visit to Sedan will focus

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Senlis

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The ruined castle, the cathedral and the narrow cobbled streets make Senlis a very pleasant town to visit

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Soissons

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In Soissons you can explore the abbey and the cathedral before taking a pleasant riverside walk

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Troyes

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As well as one of the most impressive medieval quarters in France, Troyes also has important renaissance buildings, a cathedral, a Museum of Modern Art and lots of other highlights

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Verdun

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War memorials are the centre of most visits to Verdun, scene of some of the most terrible battles in the First World War, but don't overlook the cathedral and the citadel

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Vireux-Molhain

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In Vireux-Molhain you can follow an attractive nature trail and also visit the Collegiale Church

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For more information see the North East France guide