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


February 2016

(entries in red indicate new additions)

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



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:

=Pas de Calais






0 giantsgodewaersvelde


Jacqueline, Colas
and family in Arras town hall

As the season of “giants” is getting into
its (giant) stride, here is a link to the
Fédération des Géants du Nord de la France - one of the sites that tells you the dates of the different parades. There is an interactive “Agenda des Géants” with dates for outings.

Here is the site for La Ronde des Géants, which tells you about the history of giants in
Belgium, France and other countries; click on “Agenda” to see a list of outings – though check the year shown, as itis not always up to date.
(Tip: look for the French flag if you
want an outing in France; 
not all are in the North, by the way).





Henri le Douanier in Godewaersvelde’s Musée Frontalière.





Until 15 Feb 2016

La Collection Bellon « Racines Régionales »   Exhibition of antiquities amassed in the 19th century by Louis-Gabriel Bellon (1819 – 1899) that range from Greek vases and statuettes from Tanagra, to treasures unearthed at sites in Artois and Picardie.

Museum closed Mon morning and all day Tuesday.


Musée d’Opale Sud, Berck/Mer, 62



Until 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

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 19 Mar 2016

"La Grande Guerre par le rire"

Exhibition put on by the town’s archive service to look at the Great War through a series of comic postcards by Robert Mallet.

Wed-Fri 2-6, Sat 10-12  2-5  (closed Sun-Tues). Admission free


Hôtel d'Émonville - Place Clemenceau, Abbeville, (Tel 03 22 24 95 16)


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 20 March 2016

100 chefs-d’oeuvre de Versailles  In the context of the long-running exhibition seriess Le Château de Versailles à Arras this one brings 100 masterpieces from the Versailles collections: paintings, sculpture, objects, furniture include Gobelins tapestries and Marie-Antoinette’s porcelain.

Mon & Wed-Fri 11-6; Sat Sun & public holidays 10-6.30. Closed Tues.

Admission 7.50 €, free on first Sun of month.


Musée des Beaux-Arts

Abbaye Saint-Vaast

22, rue Paul Doumer




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 28 Mar 2016

Laissez vous conter une histoire !   Taking “Once upon a time…” as a theme, this exhibition looks at stories and legends from antique myths to some more familiar fairy stories.



Chateau-Musée de Boulogne,  62 – Tél  03 21 10 02 20.

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 Feb-31 Mar 2016

Le Château d’Etaples – Une place forte méconnue  An exhibition put on by the town’s Musée Quentovic (now alas closed) about the little-known Chateau of Etaples.  Now destroyed, its history will be told through artefacts and archaeology.

Daily 8am-5pm.

Admission free.


Tourist Office, Etaples, 62

2-27 Feb 2016

Exposition photos du carnaval et des géants  Exhibition of photos of Nieppe’s own carnival giants, Miss Cantine and Tiot Dédé, plus a few other giants borrowed from neighbouring towns.

Tues 10-12 & 2.30-5.30; Wed 9-12.30 & 1.30-6; Thurs 10-12 & 2.30-5.30; Fri 2.30-5.30; Sat 2-6.  Admission free


Espace Culturel Maurice Schumann, 1108 Rue d’Armentieres, Nieppe, nr Armentieres, 59

5-7 Feb 2016

13e Salon des Antiquaires de Picardie et Belle Brocante  Large, quality antiques fair with antique furniture, textiles, jewellery and diverse objects on sale.

Daily 10-7.


Megacité, Avenue de l’Hippodrome, Amiens, 80

Tél : 03 22 66 33 33


6, 7 Feb 2016

Salon du vin au féminin   Around 70 stands present wine from different regions of France, and give a chance to talk to the wine-producers.

Daily 10-7; admission 7€


Palais des Congrès,
Le Touquet, 62

7 Feb 2016

Carnaval de Bailleul  Carnival parades for all the family through the streets of this little Flemish town, and a funfair in full swing outside the town hall.

Sun, Main Procession 2pm.

(Mon, children’s procession)


Bailleul, 59

7 Feb 2016

Carnaval d’Hiver  The first outing for one of Cassel’s UNESCO-listed giants starts early.  Thousands will be lining the cobbled streets to catch a glimpse.

7h: réveil en tambour

11h: bande des arlequins

15h: Sortie de Reuze Papa et des grosses têtes accompagnés de Cassel Harmony

20h: Return to the Musée


Cassel, 59

Tél 03 28 42 40 13


10 & 17 Feb 2016

Guided tours of the Ferme des Orgues, an amazing collection of mechanical musical equipment, phonographs, automatons etc.

 buried in the Flemish countryside.


Admission 6 euros, children 3 euros (under 6 free).


la Ferme des Orgues – Rue d’Hollebecque,


14 Feb 2016

TAP Factory  Show by a lively tap-dance group, known for the witty style of their performance as much as for their acrobatics on stage.

5pm. Tickets 33-38.00 €


Salle Molière, Palais des Congrès

Le Touquet, 62

7 Feb 2016

Bande de Dunkerque / Dunkerque carnival  The most lively carnival of all sees the people of Dunkerque dressed in gaudy costumes (with men in drag), and waving gaily-decorated umbrellas. 


Dunkerque (59)

14 Feb 2016

Bande de Malo les Bains / Malo les Bains carnival  The small seaside resort just north of Dunkerque has a magnificent seafront carnival of its own.


Malo les Bains, nr Dunkerque 59

16 Feb 2016

Juliette Greco in concert   Another golden oldie still on tour…   With Jean Louis Matinier, accordeon, and Gérard Jouannest, piano


(May be sold out, or cancelled, as tickets do not seem to be available)


Théâtre municipal - Boulevard Vauban, Abbeville,

Tél 03 22 20 26 86


20 Feb 2016

Les Nuits Baroques:  Prélude aux Amants magnifiques by Molière and Lully   A 17thC entertainment incorporating comedy, music and dance.



Set and costume designs will be on display in the entrance hall (Sat 3-10.30pm; Sun 3-6.30).


Palais des Congrès - Auditorium Victor Boucher, Le Touquet, 62




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