Bavay travel guide

Photo of Bavay

Visit Bavay (Hauts-de-France, France)

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Bavay is a small town in northern France, north-east of Cambrai and south-east of Lille. The town is very close to the French border with Belgium.

Explore Bavay

Bavay is usually visited because its Roman ruins: this quiet town was an important centre for several centuries in Roman times - from the 1st century to the 3rd century - because of its location on an important trade route. At that time the settlement was called Bagacum Nerviorum.

Roman forum in Bavay

The principal Roman monuments that you can visit include the ruins of a basilica, a forum, and part of what was once a large subterranean gallery. The ruins were only discovered because during the Second World War the town was partially destroyed by bombs, which destroyed the buildings that previously stood above the Roman monuments.

There is also an archaeology museum in Bavay where you can see more artefacts from the long history of the town.

Although little remains of these monuments compared to some other places, there are sufficient ruins at Bavay for you to appreciate the size and importance of the site and the visit to the Roman forum combined with a visit to the museum makes an interesting excursion.


The town centre is around the Place Charles du Gaulle. The statue on a tall column in the centre of this square is of Brunehilde, a Visigoth princess who became queen of the Francs in the 7th century. There are various houses around the town centre with interesting facades, making Bavay a pleasant if unremarkable small town.

In the town cemetery there is a small group of graves of soldiers killed in the First World War and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Ccommission.

To see some of the local heritage sites in and around Bavay you can follow a route called the Circuit des Sources. Along the route you will see the traditional lavoir, a bridge and several other monuments.

Traditional washhouse in the town

Attractions nearby

Just outside Bavay town centre you can explore the Regional Natural Reserve of the Quarries of the Nerviens (Réserve naturelle régionale de la carrière des Nerviens), a small natual reserve created to protect the rare plants that can be found here, by following a 'circuit of discovery'.

In Cambrai you can visit the cathedral with its renowned 'mise au tombeau' by Rubens and Lille is an important town with many sites and museums of interest.

You can find more travel ideas in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais guide.

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Map of Bavay and places nearby


Visit near Bavay with France This Way reviews

Forest of Mormal

Forest of Mormal

Mormal forest is the largest forest in the region and has hundreds of kilometres of paths, cycle routes and bridleways

Forest of Mormal guide
Le Quesnoy

Le Quesnoy

Le Quesnoy is best known for the promenade around the impressive ramparts that surround the town

Le Quesnoy guide


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

Maroilles guide


Solre-le-Chateau is best known for its church with a sloping spire and the town hall

Solre-le-Chateau guide


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

Saint-Amand-les-Eaux guide


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

Cambrai guide

Address: Bavay, Avesnes-sur-Helpe, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, 59570, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 50.298055, longitude 3.798888

Plan your visit to Bavay, Nord

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • l'Avesnois: regional natural parc (16 km)
  • Le jardin de Sylvie Fontaine: remarkable garden (18 km)
  • Scarpe-Escaut: regional natural parc (31 km)
  • Saint-Amand-les-Eaux: recommended detour (31 km)
  • Mastaing: ville fleurie 4* (35 km)
  • Fourmies: recommended detour (36 km)
  • Réserve naturelle régionale du Pré des Nonnettes: site of natural beauty (41 km)
  • Réserve naturelle régionale de la Tourbière de Vred: site of natural beauty (41 km)
  • Beffroi de Cambrai (Belfries of Belgium and France): heritage site (43 km)
  • Cambrai: town of art and history (43 km)
  • Eglise de Notre Dame de Vaucelles (Les Rues-des-Vignes): religious monument (46 km)
  • Jardins du château: remarkable garden (50 km)

Market days in Bavay, France

Regular market(s) are held in Bavay each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Bavay (Francais)