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


December 2015

(entries in red indicate new additions)

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




This website is 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.
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 book appeared.
For the complete picture, order Northern France through bookshops in the UK and Ireland, or
from Amazon ; it will also be on sale in good bookshops throughout Northern France.

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 13 Dec 2015

Creches de Noël  Exhibition of more than 400 Christmas cribs on display in the parish church (you are advised to visit them BEFORE the very busy final weekend, which coincides with Steenwerck’s Christmas market).


Parish church, Steenwerck, near Bailleul 59



Nord/Pas de Calais region


Somme département



Until 20 Dec 2015

TERRE D’ASILE La Sauvegarde de l’Ordinaire  Exhibition showing the progress of an item from the moment it arrives at Bethune’s Ethnological Museum. What is it? Where is it from? What is it for? Is it beautiful, useful, old or modern?

Wed-Mon 2-6; closed Tues & public holidays


Chapelle Saint Pry

Rue Saint-Pry

62 Béthune



Until 30 Dec 2015

D’un regard à l’autre: photographies d’Etaples avant 1914  Exhibition of photographs of the fishing port of Etaples dating from before World War I.

Tues, Wed & Fri-Sun 10-1 & 2-6. Admission free.


Maison du port d’Etaples (te 03 21 21 47 37), Etaples, 62


Until 30 Dec 2015

Marché de Noel  Christmas market, with wooden chalets set up in Place Rihour. Daily 11am-7pm.


Lille 59

Until 30 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Amiens’ Christmas market stretches through the city’s streets and squares, with 130 stalls set up in little wooden chalets. Mon 2-7.30pm; Tues- Sun 10.30am-7.30pm. Closed 25 Dec.


Amiens, 80

Until 30 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas market, with 60 wooden chalets set up in the picturesque Grand’Place. Stalls sell gifts, food, mulled wine and hot chestnuts. There are cookery demonstrations and an open-air ice rink. Mon-Fri noon-7.30pm; Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-7.30pm. 24 Dec 12-5; closed 25 Dec.


Arras 62

Until end Dec 2015

Christmas Illuminations at Le Touquet  Tasteful fairy-lights and more substantial illuminated figures decorate this famous seaside resort. Especially good round Place de l'Hermitage. Admission free.   


Le Touquet, 62

Until 3 Jan 2016

2e BIENNALE DE MOSAÏQUE  The works of Gérard Brand, an artist who explores different ways of using mosaic – from monumental sculptures to more intimate-scale pictures.

Tues-Sun 2-5.30pm. Admission 3 euros; under-18s free.

Musée des Augustins,

Ancien Couvent des Augustins,

Place Georges Degroote,




Until 24 Jan 2016

Teniers, indémodable !   Exhibition of some 60 engravings by Flemish artist David Teniers II (1610-90), alongside some of the paintings they inspired. Teniers was known for his lively depictions of festivals, pubs and strange aspects of daily life of his time.
Tues-Sun 10-12.30 & 2-6. Closed Mon. Admission 5 euros; under-18s free.


Musée départemental de Flandre

26 Grand’Place


TL 03 59 73 45 60

Until 20 Mar 2016

Le Chateau de Versailles en 100 Chefs-d’Oeuvre  Exhibition of masterpieces from the magnificent collection of the Chateau de Versailles. They include paintings, sculptures, sleighs, sedan chairs, harness. Wed-Fri & Mon 11-6; Sat, Sun 10-6.30; closed Tues, & some bank holidays such as 14 July, 1 Nov, 25 Dec. Admission 7.50 euros; seniors & students 5 euros; under-18s free (free for everyone on first Sun of month).


Musee des Beaux-Arts, Abbaye St-Vaast, Arras, 62

Until 6 Mar 2016

Cher Modèle  Exhibition of drawings and sculptures of the human body by Frédérique Lucien, in collaboration with the Musee du Dessin at Gravelines. Held in Bourbourg;s cultural centre and also in the neighbouring church.

Mon-Sat 9-12 & 1.30-5.30.

Admission free.


CIAC, 1 Rue Pasteur, Bourbourg, nr Gravelines, 59

Until 21 Mar 2016

MÉTAMORPHOSES  Around 20 works drawn from collections in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, demonstrate how Ovid’s epic poem Métamorphoses has inspired artists from the Middle Ages to today with its mixture of mythological and historical characters.

Wed-Mon 10-6; closed Tues. Admission free.


LOUVRE-LENS, Pavillon de Verre,

Rue Paul Bert

62300 Lens

TL 03 21 18 62 62

Until 9 May 2016

Histoires : Splendeurs et miseres d’une collection redecouverte  Exhibition of 19th-century works, hung in the museum’s Grand Salon looks at the narrative of the paintings.

Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-6 (Wed 10-6, Thurs until 9), Sun 2-7. Closed public holidays.


Musée de Picardie, 48 Rue de la République, Amiens (80)

Until 15 May 2016

Dessus-Dessous  Exhibition on two sites of installations by Annette Messager, in a variety of shapes and materials, inlcuding soft toys, embroidery, photographs and drawings.

Beaux-Arts: Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-6; Sun 2-5; admission 4 euros, concessions 3 euros, under-5s and everyone on first Sun of month free. Closed Mon & public holidays.

Cité de la Dentelle: Wed-Mon 10-5; admission 5 euros, concessions 3.50 euros; under-5s and everyone on first Sun of month free. Closed Tues, 25 Dec, & 1-15 Jan.


Musee des Beaux-Arts, 25 Rue Richelieu


Cité de la Dentelle et de la mode, 135 Quai du Commerce;

Calais, 62


Until 22 May 2016

La Fougue du Pinceau  Exhibition of works by painter Robert Combas.

Wed-Mon 2-6.

Closed Tues, and also 25 Dec, 1 Jan & 1 May.

Admission 3.50 euros; children, students and disabled free; free for all on first Sun of month.


Musee du Touquet-Paris-Plage, Villa Way Side, corner of Avenue du Golf and Avenue du Chateau, Le Touquet, 62


1 Dec 2015 -
1 Jan 2016

La Cathédrale en couleurs  See the magical effects of light on the west front of the cathedral, as the original colours of the cathedral’s saints and scenes are projected onto the naked stone. Stand outside to watch this popular 40-min nightly show, which was first launched for the Millennium. Daily 7pm. Admission free.


Cathedral square, Amiens 80

4-6 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Second weekend of an unusual Christmas market in a garden setting near Montreuil. Christmas decorations on sale, and brocante stalls, plus free visits of the gardens.

2-6pm. Admission free


Manoir d’Hénocq, Enocq, nr Montreuil, 62

5, 6 Dec 2015

Trains du Pere Noel   Santa-special steam-train rides.

See web link for times. 

Tickets 6 euros; under-6s free.


Between St-Valéry-sur-Somm and Cayeux, 80

5 Dec 2015

Défilé de la Saint Nicolas  A grand parade of St Nicholas, with  local giants  Batisse and Zabelle,  goes along Rue Nationale, Grande Rue, Rue Thiers and Rue Faidherbe to reach the port, where a magnificent firework display is given at 7pm. (Event starts 5pm)


Boulogne-sur-Mer (62)

4 Dec 2015- 29 Feb 2016

« DANSEZ, EMBRASSEZ QUI VOUS VOUDREZ » Fêtes Et Plaisirs D’amour Au Siècle De Madame De Pompadour

Exhibition paying homage to the 18th-century artists such as Boucher, Fragonard and Watteau, who portrayed the sentimentality and libertarianism of the period.

Wed-Mon 10-6. Closed Tues.

Admission 9€ , concessions 8€



Rue Paul Bert

62300 Lens

TL 03 21 18 62 62

4, 5 Dec 2015

Telethon  Weekend of local activities and good deeds to raise money for good causes.


Throughout France

4-6 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas market.


Bailleul, 59

5, 6 Dec 2015

Le Marché de Noël   Christmas market in the cobbled main square of this little town.


Ardres, near Calais, 62

5, 6 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas market held at the foot of the town’s ancient belfry.



Rue, nr Abbeville, 80

6 Dec 2015

Salon de la Carte Postale  A chance for collectors of old postcards to unearth some treasures.


Theatre du Jeu de Paume, Albert, 80

6 Dec 2015

2e édition de Camiers MT Beach Race  A series of mountain-bike races across the sands of this small seaside resort.

La Plage, Camiers, nr Etaples, 62


12, 13 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas weekend market around the belfry of this little walled town.


Bergues, near Dunkerque 59

12, 13 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas weekend market in the village centre, with more than 400 Christmas cribs on display in the parish church (these are in place from 28 November; you are advised to visit them BEFORE this very busy weekend).


Steenwerck, near Bailleul 59

mid Dec

Guénel competition  Exhibition of  decorative lanterns made by local children from hollowed-out sugar-beets.


Etaples, near Boulogne; 62
(tel :
03 21 09 56 94)

11-23 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Christmas market in the Art Deco setting of Albert.


Theatre du Jeu de Paume, Albert, 80


12, 13 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël   Christmas market, with around 100 chalets selling seasonal gifts and food.


Gravelines, nr Dunkerque, 59

12, 13 Dec 2015

Trains du Pere Noel   Santa-special steam-train rides.

See weblink for times.  6 euros; under-6s free.


Between Le crotoy, St-Valéry-sur-Somme and Cayeux, 80

12, 13 Dec 2015

Fête de la Dinde  Annual turkey festival, with turkey tasting and a parade of turkeys through this little town that specialises in raising the birds for the Christmas table. Sat, Sun Food market; Sun morning parade.


Licques, near Ardres 62

19, 20 Dec 2015

Marché de Noël  Traditional Christmas market in this little seaside resort.


Place Jeanne d’Arc, Le Crotoy, 80


19-21 Dec 2013

Noel en Fanfare  Free festival of brass band music.


Place Max Lejeune, Abbeville (80)


20 Dec 2013

Veillée de Noel en Patois  An evening of traditional Christmas songs, poems and stories, all told in the local dialect. 8pm.


Eglise St Michel, Etaples (62)

23 Dec

Guénel Parades  In a local tradition, children parade through different towns in the Boulogne area with their lanterns made from sugar-beet.


Boulogne-sur-Mer ;
Le Portel 
; 62

25 Dec

CHRISTMAS DAY (public holiday)







Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne; closed 15 Dec 2015 – 25 Jan 2016.

La Coupole, Helfaut, closed 4-17 Jan 2016.


Thiepval visitor centre, near Albert, closed 15 Dec 2015-18 Jan 2016.


Wellington Quarry, Arras, closed three weeks after Christmas holidays.









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