The Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France
Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a region in France furthest to the North. It is placed directly to the south of England and is confined by the North Sea, Belgium and Picardy.
The capital of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is Lille and other notable towns include Lens, Valenciennes, Douai, Dunkirk, Bethane, Calais, Maubeuge, Arras and Boulogne-sur-Mer. This area has been populated since before written history and has always been important and often the most battled over region of France. The region is a wonderful blend of gently rolling hills and cliffs along with the added attraction of an extensive coastline.
Nord-Pas-de-Calais has always been a crucial area when it came to war in France. Over the centuries, a number of invading armies have passed time and again. Nord-Pas-de-Calais has been taken by force by the Celtic Belgae, the Franks, the Romans and the Alamanni. It was the object of much contestation between the English and the French during the Hundred Years War before it took its place during the 15th century as a part of the Kingdom of France. It wasn’t long before the Spanish Netherlands seized Nord-Pas-de-Calais toward the end of the 1500’s as part of a wedding gift and remained as such until the 17th century when it was taken back by France.
A great deal of the land in region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is supplied with water from a number of sources including multiple rivers like the Authie, Escaut, Lawe, Canche, Lys, Liane, Scarpe and Sambre which allow for modern machines to perform agricultural work. The crops produced by the farms of Nord-Pas-de-Calais include hops, barley, flax, potatoes, oats, wheat and vegetables. The most common local livestock in the region are horses, cattle and hogs. The Nord-Pas-de-Calais region is a major contributor of pork to the country. Coal mining used to be a familiar occupation in the region before the industrialization of the area. Today towns like Lille, Armentie, Tourcoing and Roubaix produce chemicals, textiles, auto parts, processed food products and steel.
Nord-Pas-de-Calais is an area of encompassing attractions for visitors to enjoy. Lille is filled with sights to be seen like Wazemmes Market, Ville Bourse, Palais des Beaux-Arts and much more. Other alluring features include the Roubaix Musee, Olhain, Eurolac, Cite Souterraine de Naours and Blockhaus. Notable World War II battle sites can be seen in Nord-Pas-de-Calais as well. Those interested in sports like golf, horseback riding, mountain riding and even water sports will find a number of locations that will meet any expectations.
The development of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and its culture was recently promoted with the announcement of plans to open an extended branch of the Louvre in the city of Lens. The accessibility of the Channel Tunnel in Nord-Pas-de-Calais is convenient for advancing tourism and local economies.
Dining in Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a treat when visitors enjoy the local beer available in Flemish Inns, which is called ‘estaminets’. Other regional specialties include a pie loaded with fresh leeks and slow cooked chicken in a beer sauce followed by biscuits, cakes or special waffles called ‘guafres’.
Festivals are a common occurrence in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and some even have traditions that date as far back as the Middle Ages. Local history and other traditions can be observed and learned from local people who are warm and hospitable. The combination of history, natural beauty, significant landmarks and domestic cuisine makes Nord-Pas-de-Calais a region rich in substance and wonder.