Haute de France Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life
Haute de France consists of what was previously the regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picard, they were combined in 2016 when France re organised its regions.
Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Haute de France sits in far North West France and borders Belgium. This tiny region has a big past being one of the most fought after areas of land in Europe. Nord-Pas-de-Calais is the most densly populated area of France with 7% of the French population living in the region.
Picardy in Haute de France is a diverse region, in the west is the Somme estuary with beautiful beaches, in the east are large forests and pastures and in the south is the chateaux of Chantilly and vineyards that border the deaprtment of Champagne.
Haute de France Table of Contents
Haute de France Travel Guide
Lille is the capital of the region and sits on the Deûle River, near France’s border with Belgium and is the fourth largest city in France. In Lille you will find a lovely historic old centre and three world renowned art museums and the grand Cathedral th Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille. Lille is the regional capital and was once an industrial centre but has recently under gone a transformation now making it a centre for art and culture.
The Ameins medieval gothic cathedral dating from the 13th century, the Cathederal de Notre Dame, is the largest Gothic church in France and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Also notable are the Hortillonages or Floating Gardens: Market gardens which span a vast area and have supplied the city with vegetables and flowers since the middle ages. Visitors can take a tour by boat. Jules Verne fans can visit the house the famous sci-fi author lived in for 18 years as his turreted home is now a museum.
Ocean Beaches: The north part of the region has the Opal Coast or Cote d’Opale which is a popular seaside destination for holiday makers. It has sandy beaches, beautiful chalk cliffs the most notable being Cape Blanc Nez and Cape Gris Nez, large area of sand dunes along with surfing and other water sports.
The Belfries of France and Belgium
The Belfries of France and Belgium are a group of 56 historical buildings built between the 11th and 17th centuries and showcase Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture. They are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties and are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
The Somme is most known for its WWI war history; this was the site of a series of battles through the Great War which includes the 1916 Battle of the Somme. More than 3 million men fought in this battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating those who died on its battlefields.
Thiepval has a number of sites and monuments to the victims of the WWI, including the First World War Franco-British Memorial and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme which stands 45 m high and is visible for several kilometres in every direction. The sixteen pillars are engraved with the name of 73,367 British and Commonwealth soldiers that fell during the First Battle of the Somme between July and November 1916 and who have no known grave.
Château Chantilly is one of the most scenic chateau in the region. It sits on an artificial lake and is surrounded by lovely parkland with the Chantilly forest in the background. Built in 1560 for the Montmorency family and added to by the Conde family in the 1700’s it was an opulent royal residence. A large section of the château was destroyed during the French Revolution and what remained was used as a prison. The château was later rebuilt in the 19th century in the French Renaissance style, complete with gables and towers.
Laon is charming old walled city perched on a plateau overlooking the surrounding plains. The Laon Cathedral Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon is one of the most important examples of the Gothic architecture of the 12th and 13th centuries. The old historic town – the upper town – and the newer lower town are connected by an automated cable car.
Compiegne: The Clairière de l’Armistice is the site of the signing of the 1918 Armistice, that put an end to the first world war. There is a reproduction of the railway carriage in which the Armistice was signed.
World Destination Guide
There are 195 countries in the world stretching across seven continents – so there is an awful lot to see. Where to begin? Many people are inspired by a movie they have seen or a story they have heard, or a desire to see the land of their ancestors.
Use the drop-down on the right to explore the world.