Northern France
What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais


April 2015

(entries in red indicate new additions)

Départements are identified with their official number:
59=Nord; 62=Pas-de-Calais; 80=Somme





Northern France: What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais


This website is really just a supplement to Angela Bird's guidebook, Northern France: What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais (left), now out of print pending a new edition for about 2016.


If you can borrow a copy of the old edition from a library, you will find full details in its 176 pages of hundreds of interesting and off-beat tourist sites throughout the region.
What you see on the website consists of either extra topics not covered in the book (Calendar, Restaurants, Travel routes, Internet links etc), or updated information (new tourist attractions open - or old ones closed) since the last book appeared.

The listings on this site are supplied in good faith, gathered by the author from various sources.

However it is always wise to check details with organisers or tourist offices before making a special journey.


The “département”, or county, is indicated by the following official figures:


62=Pas de Calais




Until 15 Apr 2015

Le Mois de l’Art Deco A month-long celebration of the architecture of the 1920s that is so prevalent in northern France following the devastation of World War I. Participating towns have guided walks, talks etc.


Arras, Bethune, Bruay, Lens, Lievin and Douai


Until 26 Apr 2015

Hearing the War: Sounds, Music & Silence in 14-18  Exhibition of sounds associated with the Great War, from the cacophony of battle to the parades, hymns, and music created on home-made instruments to while away the time out of the line. Thurs-Tues 9.30am-5pm (From 1 Apr, daily 9.30-6). This exhibition free; main museum 9€, seniors 7€, children 4.50€; family (2+2) 24€


Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, 80

Until 31 May 2015

Bernard Buffet – Post 1958 : une symphonie de couleur en plus  Exhibition of 50 oil paintings by Buffet, who was born in 1928 in Paris, rose to prominence in 1948, and developed an interest in colour in the late 1950s.

Wed-Mon 2-6. Closed Tues. Closed 1 May.

Admission 3.50 €


Musée du Touquet Paris-Plage, Villa Way Side Avenue du Golf, Le Touquet Paris-Plage, 62


Until 22 June 2015

Simon Faithfull - RECIF 2   Conceptual artist Faithfull is fascinated by the life of reefs beneath the sea. Here he shows live underwater film of a boat that he has sunk off the coast of Weymouth so that he might observe the creation and evolution of an artificial reef.

Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-5; Sun 2-5. Closed Mon.

Admission 2€; seniors, students & children 1€ 


Musee des Beaux Arts, Calais, 62

Until 2 July 2015

Le Jardin des Boves  The annual three-month summer period when the tunnels beneath the tourist office of Arras take on a new air, being filled with growing plants and strange music.  Visitors expecting the usual history-filled tour may be disappointed... Guided visit 5.20€, children 3€.


Office de Tourisme, Hôtel de Ville, Place des Héros, Arras 62

Until 31 Aug 2015

De l'ombre à la Lumière: The Liberation of Nord–Pas-de-Calais

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Nord–Pas-de-Calais, this exhibition is devoted to the year 1944 and the liberation of the region. An account of the bombings, the Ascq massacre, the Resistance, the military operations, repression, the activity of "the guardian angel of the V1" or the last "train from Loos", it covers the period from April 1944 to May 1945.


La Coupole, Helfaut, nr Saint-Omer, 62

Until 30 Sept 2015

1914-1917 Bailleul à l’arrière du front Une mère écrit à son fils soldat ...  Extracts from correspondence during World War I between a Bailleul mother and her soldier son. The town suffered German occupation at the start of the war, and was then taken over by British troops. It shows how French and British co-existed at the time. By the end of the war, caught between two opposing armies, Bailleul was 98% destroyed, and entirey rebuilt from 1920.

Wed-Mon 2-5.30. Closed Tues, and on the carnival days 13-17 Feb; and 1 & 8 May; 14 July, 15 Aug.

Admission 4€10, under 18s free.


Musée Benoît de Puydt, Bailleul, 59


1-30 April 2015

Festival des Epeutnaerts  Annual scarecrow festival, when fantastic figures invade every corner of this village NW of St-Omer.  All are consigned to a bonfire on the final evening.

Moringhem, near Houlle 62

4 Apr-12 July 2015

Flanders and the sea  This exhibition, filling the museum’s entire ground floor, looks at the representation of sea in Flemish art - shedding new light, thanks to an remarkable selection of paintings and engravings from the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.

Tues-Fri 10-12.30 & 2-6; Sat, Sun 10-6. Admission 5€, children and disabled free.


Musée Départemental de Flandre, Grand’Place, Cassel 59


5 Apr 2015

XXIe Bourse Aux Plantes à Saint-Riquier

Annual plant fair, held in the gardens behind the abbey church in this picturesque village.  Some 50 knowledgeable gardeners will be on hand to give advice and sell plants.  9.30am-5pm.



Saint-Riquier, near Abbeville, 80 (tél. : 03 22 71 82 20)



5 Apr 2015


EASTER SUNDAY  Public holiday




6 April 2015


EASTER MONDAY  Public holiday




6 Apr 2015


Carnaval d’Eté  Cassel’s annual Easter Monday parade winds through the town from 10am, joined by the famous giants Reuze Papa and Reuze Maman from 5-10pm.



Cassel, 59


6 April 2015


Brocante de Paques  Easter-Monday brocante fair. 7am-7pm. Admission free.


, near Desvres, 62

6 April 2015

Cavalcade du Caou de Merville  This town on the river Lys has a traditional Easter Monday carnival that includes the giant St Antoine and an equally large-scale cat – le Caou.


Merville, nr Hazebrouck, 59

11, 12 Apr 2015

Touquet Raid Pas de Calais 2015  Around 350 two-person teams gather on the beach of Le Touquet to follow a mapped route on foot, mountain bike, canoe, rollerblades. Groups for different ages.

Start and finish Le Touquet


Le Touquet Paris Plage 62


11, 12 Apr 2015

Fête de la Matelote  Grand carnival day with the local giants, la Matelote and l'Islandais.



Grand-Fort-Philippe, nr Gravelines, 59


11 Apr-1 Nov 2015

La Chartreuse de Neuville, Hôpital Belge (1915-1918)

Exhibition in connection with the centenary of World War I, when this former monastery became the largest Belgian civil hospital in France, caring for some 1,200 patients.


La Chartreuse de Neuville, Neuville, nr Montreuil-sur-Mer, 62

Tel 03 21 06 56 97

12 April 2015

Braderie d’Emmaüs  Special sale day with reduced prices at this junkyard near St-Omer.


(usual opening hours Tues-Sat 2.30-5pm.


St-Martin-au-Laert, nr St-Omer, 62

18-26 April 2015


Rencontres Internationales de Cerf-Volants
Spectacular annual kite festival, on the wide sands of Berck. General flying from 10am; demonstrations 2-6pm.

Berck-sur-Mer, 62


25 April 2015


Journée des peintres dans la rue  The fifth year of this event, that sees painters set up their easels around town to catch its image.



Lillers 62

25 Apr  2015





ANZAC Commemoration  Each year, two commemoration ceremonies are held for Australians and New Zealanders who lost their lives during World War I. This year (2015) is the 100th anniversary of the landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli.

- at Villers-Bretonneux: 

5.30am  Dawn service at Australian National Memorial (gates open 2am).

8.45am  Wreath-laying ceremony at French war memorial in town centre. 

- at Bullecourt  in memory of the battles of April-May 1917
1.30pm  Commemoration at Commonwealth and French monuments in: village centre;
2.30pm at Australian “Digger” memorial on outskirts of village.

- at Longueval

4pm?  Ceremony at New Zealand memorial.

Villers-Bretonneux, near Amiens, 80.

Bullecourt, near Arras, 62




25, 26  Apr 2015


Journées eurorégionales des Villes Fortifiées  A weekend of walks and special events in the fortified towns of France, including in the north. Traditionally held on the last Sunday in April, but events usually spread over the weekend. 


Bergues, Gravelines, Montreuil, Calais, Boulogne, Doullens, Arras etc.



25, 26 April 2015



Carnaval d’été de Steenvoorde  A great parade at 3pm accompanies the local giant, Belle-Helene, followed by an afternoon of events in the streets and evening happenings in the local estaminets.  The event is held on the last Sunday of April.


5e Ronde Européenne des Géants Portés  Supplementing Steenvoorde’s annual carnival, every few years is a huge event bringing giant carnival figures from all over Europe.  Next one of these major events will be in Apr 2017




nr Cassel 59


25 April-3 May  2015

Festival de l’Oiseau et de la Nature  A week of bird related walks, talks, films and other events in and around the Somme estuary.


Abbeville area, 80

Next one in 2016


Fête de la Vapeur en Baie de Somme  Popular steam-train event, for which vintage steam locomotives come out in all their glory and chug along the Le Crotoy to Cayeux line around the edge of the Somme estuary.


Le Crotoy, Noyelles, St-Valéry and Cayeux, nr Abbeville 80

26 Apr 2015

Réderie de Printemps  One of the north’s largest brocante fairs, with 2,000 professional and amateur exhibitors set up in the streets in the Les Halles area (near belfry and market-hall), and St-Leu (on the river).


Amiens city centre, 80

26 April 2015

Fête des Plantes  This new plant show has stands selling toold, garden furniture, pond materials and pottery as well as plants.

10-6. Admission 2 euros, under-12s free.


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