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Information for visitors to Museums, beaches and other places of interest in Pas de Calais and Nord Departments in France – the web magazine for visitors to France.

tourism in France

Museums and Places to visit in NORD and Pas de Calais

October 2010 – New, the Musée de Flandre in Cassel has opened. Beautifully situated in this historic town it it well worth a visit.

There is more to the North of France than shopping. Why not extend your visit and see one of the attractions listed below?

Beyond the hypermarkets and wine shops there is a lot more to Northern France than most would assume.

Printemps des Musées – May every year. French museums open for free for one day in spring, offering a chance to whizz round the country's finest temporary and permanent collections.

Many museums are free of charge on the first Sunday of each month -check out before you go, you may save a bit of money.

Festivals and Events

Museums and Places to Visit in Northern France

Agora berck – Agora-Berck. A seaside resort with activities (swimming, jacuzzi, bowling, sand yachting etc.).

agincourt museumAZINCOURT, D928. Famous fortress, museum and battlefield (1415). Centre Historique Médiéval. Tel: 0033 321 06 25 40 / 47 27 53. Open May – November, 9.00am – 6.00pm. December – April, 10.00am – 5.00pm.

la coupole museum – La Coupole Space Centre, Herfaut-Wizernes. 62504 (5km from St. Omer). Tel: 0033 321 93 07 07. Entry; Adults 8.50 euro, Children (5 – 16) 6.00 euro, Families 18.50 euro. Allow 2 1/2 hours for your visit. Directions; From Calais – A26, exit 3 or 4. Our verdict? A MUST SEE.

charcot somme – Cdt Charcot II. Discover the Somme Bay by boat. Port de Saint Valery sur Somme. Tel: 0033 322 60 74 68.

Centrale Nucléaire de Gravelines, BP 149 – 59820. Tel: 0033 328 68 42 36. Information and visits (free)

Cross – Channel Museum, Escalles. Tel: 0033 321 85 57 42.

Fort d'sAmbleteuse, Ambleteuse, 62164. Tel: 0033 321 32 61 88. Built in 1685 for Louis XIV. Open: Public Holidays from Easter to 11/11 (Remembrance), every Sunday 3.00 – 6.30pm (7.00pm in July and August Saturday Sunday and Monday).

Fort Vauban, 62164 Ambleteuse. Tel: 0033 321 32 61 88. On the coast road between Calais and Boulogne, this huge sea fort was built by Vauban between 1685 and 1690 to repel invaders. One hundred years later Napoleon reinforced the fortifications, using it as a camp for his army, and during the Second World War the Nazis occupied it.

Genièvre de Houlle, a local juniper gin (Genièvre de Houlle) distilled in Houlle near St Omer by the Persyn Family since 1812. From 35 – 49% in strength, it is best served ice cold, and sometimes alongside a cup of coffee ("bistouille"). You can even visit the distillery. Distillerie Persyn, 19, route de Watten. 62910. Houlle. Tel: 0033 321 93 01 71.

Regional Products

La Tour de l'horloge de Guînes (museum), Rue du chateau. 62340 Guînes. Tel: 0033 321 19 59 00.

mareis museumLouvre Lens. The Louvre Museum, the world's most popular, is coming to Lens. Late in 2012 this regional branch will open in a brand new museum being specially built. Lens is a 45 minute drive from Calais.

perle GroseilleLa Maison du Perlé – A locally produced apéritif is "Perlé de Groseille", a champagne like drink made from redcurrants. You can visit the distillery and farm, taste and buy some. 50, rue Principale, 62990. Loison-sur-Créquoise. Tel: 0033 321 81 30 85.

Maison de la FaïenceMaison de la Faïence – rue Jean Macé. 62240. Desvres. Tel: 0033 321 83 23 23.

La Maison du Marbre et de la Géologie, 71 bis, rue Henri Barbusse. 62720. Rinxent. Tel: 0033 321 83 19 10.

map museum marbre

La Maison du Papier (The House of Paper). Rue Bernard Chochoy, Esquerdes. Tel: 0033 321 95 45 25. Directions; A26, then exit 3. This museum focuses on the history of paper.

Maison de la FaïenceLe Centre Historique Minier. Lewarde (8km de Douai). "The largest mining museum in France – discover the history of coal mining and the daily lives of miners in the Nord Pas de Calais." Fosse Delloye, Rue d'Erchin – BP30039. 59287 Lewarde. France. Tel: 0033 327 95 82 82.

mareis museumMaréis, Centre de la Pêche Artinisale, La Corderie, Bd. Bigot-Descelers, 62630. Étaples-sur-Mer. New seaside attraction. Tel: 0033 321 09 56 94. Open: Every day except Monday, 9.30am – 6.30pm. July and August every day.

– Musée de Flandre, Cassel. Cassel in itself is worth a visit. Relatively high up above the Flanders polders, there are historic places to visit and some good hotels here. The Musée de Flandre opened in Autumn 2010 and has a wonderful range of historic classical painting.

Musée du Moulin (mill), Wissant. Tel: 0033 321 35 91 87.

naussicaa aquariumNausicaa, Bd. Sainte-Beuve. 62203. Boulogne-sur-Mer. Tel: 0033 321 30 99 99. A 600 cubic metre aquarium with sharks, rays, sea lions and 10,000 fish. Open: Every day 9.30am – 8.00pm (01/07 – 31/08). 9.30am – 6.30pm (01/09 – 30/06).

Saint-Joseph Village de l'Artisan Roi (Craft Village of St Joseph), Le Marais, 1er Banc, Guînes. Tel: 0033 321 82 45 45. Guînes is situated due south of Calais, about seven miles down the D127 road through Coulogne. The craft village lies in the nature reserve of the Guînes marshland, one of the most beautiful parts of the Pas-de-Calais region. Here you will find craftsmen working just as they did at the beginning of the century, including a glazier, furniture-maker, baker and even an innkeeper.

La Tour de l'sHorloge, BP 9 – Rue du château – 62340 Guînes. Tel: 0033 321 19 59 00.

arc glass – Verrerie Cristallerie d'Arques, ZI, RN 43, 62510. Arques. Directions; A26, Arques Exit, Calais. Take the tour, which includes a review of the company's history and a display of the making of the crystal. More about Factory shopping in France. Tel: 0033 321 12 74 74.

D940 Coastal drive – this scenic route runs from Blériot Plage, a kilometre west of Calais (where Louis Blériot took off to become the first person to fly across the Channel in 1909) all the way to Boulogne. This area, known as the Côte d'Opale has beaches that are beautifully white and wide. Wissant is a fishing town, Cap Blanc Nez is impressive and worth a detour. Cap Gris-Nez, the closest point to England is less spectacular than Cap Blanc Nez.

Other activities

Paint Ball – Desvres. Tel: 0033 321 338 781.

Useful Outside links

Museums in the North of France (in French).

Useful map showing museums and art galleries in the North.

The Louvre, Paris.

Paris Metro map.

All French monuments and museums.

Nord Department Tourism.

Nord / Pas de Calais Tourism.

French Embassy – USA site.

the other side France – The Other Side, lots of useful information.

The Other Side. Some information on towns between Calais and Boulogne.

The Other Side. Some links about other towns and places in the North.

calais tourist office – Calais Tourist Office English web site.

slow travel – Slow Travel is a community of people who like to travel and experience new places!

Also (photos) and (message board).

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