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


August 2016
(entries in red indicate new additions)



This website was intended as a supplement to Angela Bird's guidebook, Northern France: What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais (left), which gives full details in its 176 pages of hundreds of interesting and off-beat tourist sites throughout the region.

Sadly, the book is now out of print – so, unless you own a copy or can borrow one from your public library, it will not be much help.  However, I hope if you are visiting the area this month that some of the suggestions below might be of interest.

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.

62=Pas de Calais




Until 28 Aug 2016



Semaines Medievales  A summer of medieval entertainment around the remains of the village’s ancient chateau. Daily, 2-6pm.


Eaucourt-sur-Somme, nr Abbeville, 80

Until 29 Aug 2016

Charles Lebrun: Le Peintre du Roi Soleil  Exhibition devoted to the great 17th-century French artist who was Court painter to King Louis XIV for 30 years.

Wed-Mon 10-6; closed Tues.  Admission 5 euros;


Louvre-Lens, Lens, 62

Until 18 Sept 2016

« Amiens, la cathédrale en couleurs »

The summer illuminated show, at nightfall, bringing to life the wonderfully-carved medieval sculptures on the West Front of the cathedral. Not to be missed!  Daily: June 10.45pm; July 10.30pm; Aug 10pm; Sept 9.45pm. Free; no booking required.


Cathedral, Amiens, 80
(tel: 03 22 71 60 50)

Until 22 Oct 2016

Les Fouilles archéologiques de la citadelle d’Amiens : Des Romains à Renzo Piano Building Workshop  Objects and treasures unearthed during the transformation by architect Renzo Piano of the city’s citadel site into a university complex. Items found bear witness to 2,000 years of history.

Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-6 (Wed 10-6; Thurs open until 9); Sun 2-7. Closed 1, 5, 16   May.  Admission 5.50 euros, under-26 free; free for all on Thurs from 7-9pm, & on first Sun of month.


Musée de Picardie, Amiens, 80


Until 1 Nov 2016

Quand La Chartreuse était Belge (1915-1918)

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

Exhibition open Tues-Sun 11-6 (closed Mon). Closed 3 May.

Admission to exhibition and garden 3€; disabled, students, & children 8-14 1.50€; the above, including guided tour of whole site, 10€ and 5€.


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

Tel 03 21 06 56 97

Until 16 Nov 2016

Ecrivains en guerre 14-18 : nous sommes des machines à oublier Exhibition about those who left written testimony of World War I, such as Blaise Cendrars, Ernst Jünger, Guillaume Apollinaire, Wilfried Owen and others.

Daily 9.30-6 (from 1 Oct Thurs-Tues 9.30am-5pm; closed Wed). This exhibition free; main museum 9€, seniors 7€, children 7-15 years 4.50€; family (2+2) 24€


Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, 80

Until 27 Nov 2016

Extraordinaires machines  Exhibition devoted to the fantastic world of François Delarozière, artistic director of the company La Machine. He creates extroardinary creatures from unexpecte materials.

Every Sat and Sun, at 4pm, screening of a one-hour film about the company’s « Long Ma, l’esprit du cheval-dragon », about the creation of a spectacular show in China.

Tues-Sun 1-6pm; closed Mon and public holidays.  Admission 4 euros (includes museum entry), children free.


Musée des Beaux-Arts, 25 Rue Richelieu, Calais, 62

Until 31 Mar 2017

Guerres, Sciences et Technologies, 1914-1945 

Temporary exhibition showing scientific and technological advances between the start of World War I and the end of World War II. It looks at the development of artillery, aviation, tanks, chemical warfare, individual firearms, telegraphy, detection, medicine (including some of Marie Curie’s original glass slides) and cryptography.

Open daily 9-6 (1 July-31 Aug 10-7).

Admission to whole site 10€, children 6-16 yrs 7€ ; family (2+1) 22€, with further children at 2€ each.


La Coupole, Helfaut, nr Saint-Omer, 62

1 Aug & 5-8 Aug 2016


Son et Lumière “ Les Misérables à Montreuil-sur-Mer”  You’ve seen the film, now visit the town where one of the key scenes of Victor Hugo’s novel took place. Enjoyable open-air show within the walls of the citadel, telling the story of Victor Hugo’s visit to the town and of his epic novel “Les Misérables”. Book tickets in advance through Montreuil tourist office. Starts 10.30pm inside the Citadel. Admission 18 euros, children 8 euros; advance booking recommmended.

Montreuil 62

6, 7 Aug 2016

Fete de la Mer  Flowers and fishing-nets decorate the facades of the houses in the Courtgrain area of this seaside town, to honour fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. Church service, procession, and a weekend of street stalls and entertainment.


St-Valéry-sur-Somme, 80

7 Aug 2016

Grande Brocante du Centre Ville  Large flea market taking place in the town centre.


Place de Gaulle, Etaples, nr Le Touquet

12, 13 Aug 2016

“Je m’appelle Marie”    An indoor son-et-lumiere performance inside the cathedral, which celebrates the building’s 150th anniversary.  Music by Pergolesi, Bach, Purcell, Handel and Mozart.

Fri, Sat, 8.30pm. Tickets 15 euros; under 12s 10 euros.


Boulogne-sur-Mer 62

12-21 Aug 2016

Festival “Les Malins Plaisirs” 28th edition of this theatrical festival; plays will all be in French, so will require a good knowledge of the language.

Performances at 6pm and 9pm.  Admission 20 euros; under 26s  15 euros.



Montreuil-sur-Mer, nr Le Touquet. 62





15 August


FETE DE L’ASSOMPTION  Feast of the Assumption (public holiday)







15 Aug each year

Journée des Peintres dans la Rue  Artists set up their easels and can be seen at work all around this picturesque town. Judging at 4pm; results at 6pm.


Montreuil, near Le Touquet. 62

15 Aug each year

Blessing of the Sea  A parade of fishing and pleasure boats goes out to sea to lay a wreath in memory of missing sailors. On same date each year.


Petit-Fort-Philippe, near Gravelines.59

15 Aug each year

Le Marché sur l’Eau  Floating market, with a chance to buy some of the vegetables grown in the canalside fields.


3 Rue du Marais, Clairmarais, nr St-Omer

18-27 Aug 2016

Son et lumiere “Pêcheurs de Temps”
Annual open-air spectacle in an attractive fortified town near Dunkerque. 300 participants act out the history of this fortified, moated town.

Thurs-Sat. Starts 10pm. Admission 15€, children 5€; family (2+2) 30 euros (booking via website or via Gravelines tourist office)


La Porte aux Boules, Gravelines, near Dunkerque, 59

26-28 Aug 2016

Fête du Miel  Honey festival at Bouin’s little honey museum and shop.


Bouin Plumoison, near Hesdin 62

26-28 Aug 2016

Fête du Flobart  An entertaining weekend organised around the local fishing industry and especially the quaint little open boats of this part of the coast, known as “flobarts”.


Wissant  62

27, 28 Aug 2016

Grande foire médievale de la Saint LouisA medieval atmosphere of knights and serfs, and fun for all in this historic village. Spectators are invited to attend in costume…


Crécy en Ponthieu

27, 28 Aug 2016

Grande Fête de l’Andouilllette  Festival dedicated to the gastronomic speciality of Arras, the andouillette, or chitterling sausage, held on the last Sun of Aug. Tables are set up in the squares; musicians and entertainers add to the atmosphere.


Arras, 62

28 Aug 2016

Patate Feest  Dozens of scarecrows are dotted around the picturesque village of Esquelbecq for several days during the annual “potato festival”, which also includes a potato-peeling competition, and crazy games in a “bath” of mashed spuds.  From 9.30am.

Esquelbecq, near Wormhout 59






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