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Department of culture: Hauts de France - France today

From the Channel coast in the north to the Champagne vineyards in the south, the Hautes-de-France region straddles five of France’s most culturally rich departments. Of course, culture means different things to different people, from museums and galleries to theater and music, architecture, crafts and traditions. For example, the procession giants and dragons of Northern France are now on the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Join the winter he Carnival of Kassel, Douai and Dunkirk and understand its importance in the cultural life of the region.

The fearsome Curry Dragon © Shutterstock

Many visitors to the region choose to include memorial sites in their cultural itineraries, taking the opportunity to reflect on the lives lost and freedom gained through monuments, museums and cemeteries from Flanders and Artois to the Somme and Chemin des Dames. will also be The young men lying here in immaculate rows are cultural giants of a different kind.

Culture also includes different lifestyles. Take a slow boat through the wetlands of Saint-Omer, for example. Here, postmen still deliver by boat to cottages on the island. In Amiens, cruise the spectacular waterways of Les Ortillonnages, a wetland famous for its market gardening.

Les Hortironages, Amiens © Gillian Thornton

But whatever your cultural preference, you’ll find it in these five divisions. The departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais were combined as one homonymous region until 2016, when they were combined with the departments of Aisne, Oise and Somme that previously made up Picardy. Today, the ‘super region’ of Eau de France boasts the largest number of French museums outside of Paris. For those who love to shop for authentic souvenirs on their travels, the region’s many specialty manufacturers, producers and boutiques add a welcome opportunity for retail therapy to any short or touring vacation.

Amiens Cathedral © Shutterstock

And since leaving the EU, British travelers can shop duty-free in France. However, you must obtain a tax exemption form at the time of purchase and verify it before leaving the country.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Louvre Lens, the flagship project in the former mining district straddling the borders of Nord and Pas-de-Calais. Today, the once-dirty mining villages and slag heaps have been repurposed as cultural centers, historic sites, sports facilities and green spaces, and are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a shining example of urban regeneration. Other cultural projects have undergone a similar transformation in recent years. Let 2022 be the year you discover new angles in familiar territory.

The Cité des Electriciens offers a glimpse into the region’s industrial past © Antéale photographe

art and architecture

Departing from the Channel coast, many vacationers disembark the ferry to bypass Calais and head swiftly south. However, the city has stepped up its activity in recent years, with the latest addition being Curry Dragon, which offers visitors high-level rides along the promenade. For an even higher viewing platform, take the elevator to the top of the Town Hall Belfry. The Belfry of the Town Hall is one of many towers in northern France that have been listed by UNESCO as unique architectural monuments.

Get up close to Rodin’s famous statue of the Citizen of Calais in the lower gardens, then head to the museum to discover its story in Rodin’s Rooms. Don’t leave the city and visit the Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode. A fascinating museum showcasing the region’s racing and fashion expertise. For more craft know-how, head to the Lace and Embroidery Museum in Corddry near Cambrai to find out why Kate Middleton incorporated Corddry’s lace into her stunning wedding dress in 2011. Discover

Beautiful Boulogne steeped in history © Shutterstock

Both Calais and Boulogne have gained notoriety in the street art scene in recent years, with Boulogne now home to over 30 urban murals. But France’s largest fishing port also has a fascinating past. Explore the old town of Boulogne up the hill. Highlights of the castle museum include Greek pottery, Egyptian mummies, and Gallo his network of Roman underground passages. The dome of Notre Dame Cathedral can be seen from across town. Descend down and visit France’s largest crypt. Further south, in the lush farmlands of the Seven Valleys, inland from the chic seaside resort of Le Touquet, one of Europe’s most famous battles took place.

Discover how the young English King Henry V defeated the French mounted nobles with tactics and the longbow at the newly renovated museum Azincourt 1415. Agincourt’s popular English spelling is due to his poor pronunciation by one of Henry’s Knights. Markets have been held in his two vast squares in Arras since the Middle Ages. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, browse the stalls under another UNESCO-listed bell tower, or visit the gable, painstakingly rebuilt to its original design after being nearly wiped out in World War I. I wander around the boutiques under the roof house. Explore the museum as well and take a guided tour. A chalk walkway under the main square.

Arras was not the only town in Hautes-de-France that needed extensive reconstruction in the 1930s after the devastation of World War I. Many towns adopted the fashionable new Art Deco style. Follow the Art Deco Trail to see the ornate Art Deco villas and public buildings at the seaside resort of Le Touquet. Older buildings and decorations can be found in Béthune and Lille in the far north, and in Saint-Quentin and Soissons further south in Picardy.

One of Lille’s great markets © Shutterstock

industrial heritage

A former mining basin in northern France, straddling the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais and at its heart is the Louvre-Lens Museum, the third most visited museum in France, opened in December 2012 on the site of the former Pithead. has been released to the public. The first satellite museum of the Paris-based institution, the free-flowing Galeries du Temps hosts temporary exhibitions covering his 5,000-year history.

The Roman gallery at the Louvre Museum in Paris is temporarily closed, but through July 25, nearly 300 Roman artifacts are on display for the first time at the Louvre Lens. Cité et L’Empire”. The newest visitor attraction to open as part of the cultural fusion of lens mining.

Lace Museum, Calais © Shutterstock

Heading south, Beauvais in the Oise department is home to another Gothic cathedral, the tallest in the world, with a floor-to-ceiling height of 49 meters. The city has a long history of tapestry making, but the former National Tapestry He Gallery was recently renamed Le Cuadri La Terre to reflect its changing content as a center of culture and art.

The southernmost point of Eaux-de-France, closest to Paris, is just 45 kilometers from the capital, and the enchanted castles of Chantilly and Pierrefonds are popular day trips for visitors to the City of Light. With its water gardens, landscaped by André Le Nôtre, famed at Versailles, a vast collection of works of art collected by the Duke of Haumard, elegant stables and equestrian demonstrations, Domaine de Chantilly offers a space for every taste. We offer a culture that suits you. Only 25 minutes from Gare du Nord.

Cycling through the Champagne vineyards © Sylvain Cambon _ Agence Aisne Tourisme

Surrounded by the quiet forest of Compiègne, Pierrefonds Castle on the east side, with its turrets and drawbridges, looks like something out of a fairy tale. This his 14th-century castle was originally built by Louis, Duke of Orléans, but was rebuilt in the 19th century to combine a medieval exterior with a colorful neo-Gothic interior.

Many visitors to the Hauts-de-France are surprised to find vineyards so far north, but the Champagne region is located in the southeastern corner of the region and accounts for 10% of the champagne production. increase. Follow the Champagne Tourist Trail through the vineyards for tours and tastings.

Note the Methée of Trerow-sur-Marne and the Pannier of Château Thierry. A perfect end to your trip, regardless of your cultural preferences.

From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit: Fairy Tale Pierrefonds Castle © Shutterstock