Holidaymakers visiting the department of Pas de Calais, close to Belgium, will notice a strong Flemish influence in both the gastronomy such as ‘hochepot’ – a delicious winter stew of meat and root vegetables – and the architecture. Pas de Calais’s gentle countryside is dotted with traditional windmills, many towns have cobbled squares and gabled houses and some, like Cambrai and Montreuil, have ancient walls and fortifications.
Along the Pas de Calais coast you can discover both sandy beaches and towering rock formations. Visit the stylish resort of Le Touquet set among dunes and lovely pine woods. Beaches with watersports and nightclubs are to be found at nearby Merlimont.
The port of Calais which gives its name to the department was once held by England and is less than 40km across the Channel. Boulogne owes its importance to fishing, has an attractive medieval quarter and is great for shopping and tempting fish restaurants.
Around Arras, one of the prettiest towns in northern France, are memorials and museums marking the sites of WWI battlefields including nearby Sommes. Take up time travel and visit Crecy and Agincourt, sites of 2 of the fiercest Anglo-French battles of the Middle Ages.
If so much sightseeing makes you thirsty, try sampling the locally brewed Flemish beers!