ANGELA BIRD'S
Northern France
What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais


WHAT'S ON IN NORTHERN FRANCE 

September 2014
(entries in red indicate new additions)

 



PLEASE NOTE

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), 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 is also 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.

59=Nord
62=Pas de Calais
80=Somme

 

 

 

Until 7 Sept 2014

Dans le sillage de Rubens, Erasme Quellin A retrospective exhibition devoted to Antwerp painter Erasme Quellin (1607-78) brings together works from several major European and American museums. Initially influenced by Rubens, Quellin later developed a more classical style for his biblical and mythological subjects. 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

 

Until 15 Sept 2014

Arras à la Belle Epoque : Photographie de Joseph Quentin

As a sidelight on World War I, this photographic exhibition shows images of Arras and the surrounding area taken between 1870 and 1914, the last days of innocence with flavours of the Belle Epoque. Wed-Mon 11-6 (Sat, Sun 9.30-6). Closed Tues/ Admission 7€.

 

Musée des Beaux-Arts,
Abbaye Saint-Vaast,
22 rue Paul Doumer, Arras, 62 (tel: 03.21.71.26.43)

Until 15 Sept 2014

« 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 Sept 2014

British Hospitals  Exhibition devoted to World War I and its huge impact on Etaples from 1915, when the small town became a training base for British soldiers, a vital logistical base, and the site for military hospitals that totalled 22,000 beds.

Mon-Sat 2-5pm. Sun 2.30-5.30pm (July-Aug Mon-Sat 10-12 & 2-6, Sun 10-12 & 2.30-6.30.

 

Musée Quentovic, Place de Gaulle,

Etaples (Tel : 03 21 94 02 47 )

 

Until 28 Sept 2014

Beautés diaphanes, albâtres des musées de Saint-Omer  Exhibition of diaphenous creations in alabaster from the 15th to 17th centuries. Wed-Sun 10-12 & 2-6. Closed Mon, Tues & public holidays. Admission 5.50€, children free.

 

Musée Hotel Sandelin, Saint-Omer

Until 6 Oct 2014

A friendly invasion. Le monde à nos portes ! L’empire britannique dans l’arrière front du Pas-de-Calais durant la Grande Guerre  Exhibition showing the importance of Montreuil during World War I, when General Haig made the place into a British garrison town during the planning of the Battle of the Somme. It looks at the many nationalities who worked or passed through here: British, Americans, New Zealanders, Australians, Indians, Portuguese and others. Wed-Mon 10-12 & 2-5 (1 Apr-30 Sept, 10-12 & 2-6); closed Tues & 1 May. Admission 4.50€ (also admits to citadel).

 

Musée Roger Rodière 
Hôtel Loysel le Gaucher,
Rue Victor Dubourg, Montreuil-sur-Mer, 62 (tel: 03 21 06 10 83)

Until 6 Oct 2014

The Disasters of War 1800-2014

A rich set of representations arising from disenchantment with war. War increasingly came to be considered by artists in all its facets, including its most dreadful consequences on human beings, on animals, on the countryside, and on cities and things. The exhibition shows the major milestones of this little known history, through painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, film, video, installations, comic strips, popular prints, newspaper cartoons, and more.

Wed-Sun 10-6. Closed Tues. Admission 9€

Louvre-Lens, Lens, 62

Until 26 Oct 2014

Peintres en guerre: Robert Lotiron et Henri Marret  Exhibition of works depicting World War I by two French soldiers. Marret (1878 – 1964) was a junior infantry officer, later responsible for camouflage on the Eastern Front, while Lotiron (1886 – 1966) was a driver in northern France. Marret’s wood engravings concentrate on the horrors of war; Lotiron shows daily life behind the lines and relationships of the troops with the locals. Thurs-Mon 2-4 (Sat, Sun 2-6); June-Aug Thurs-Mon 2-6. Closed Tues  Wed. Admission 3.60€, children free.

 

Musée du Mont de Piété, Bergues, near Dunkerque, 59

Until 16 Nov 2014

Musique, sons et silences/Music, Sounds & Silences  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 (1 Apr-30 Sept daily 9.30-6). This exhibition free; main museum 7.50€, children 4€; family (2+2) 20€

 

Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, 80

Until 16 Nov 2014

Monument  Exhibition mounted in collaboration with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, and the regional contemporary art collection of Basse Normandie, commemorating both world wars through modern art.

 

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Calais, 62

Until 30 Sept 2014

La Fureur de Vivre  A show of contemporary art in a former brewery. It features works by present-day artists along the lines of Dadaism. from the collection of the FRAC Nord-Pas-de-Calais (regional modern art collection).  Sat, Sun 11-6. Admission free.

 

La Brasserie, Foncquevillers, near Albert, 62

7 Sept 2014

Festival International d'orgue en Flandres   From late May to October, this annual cross-border organ festival brings musicians from several different countries to play some of the most celerated organs in Flanders.  Here, French organist Ghislain Leroy plays European baroque music.  4pm

Ticket prices around 10 euros.

Booking via Pays des Moulins de Flandres, 40 Rue de Ledringhem, Wormhout (tel: 03 28 65 76 79)

 

Eglise Saint Folquin, Esquelbecq, 59

1 Sept 2013

Fête du cheval  A day devoted to the handsome, grey workhorse breed, the Boulonnais.

 

Hesdigneul-les-Boulogne, nr Hardelot, 62

4-7 Sept 2014

"Il était une fois le Pas-de-Calais Libéré"  Annual festive weekend bringing together some 500 World War II vehicles and a host of costumed participants, with marching military bands to provide accompaniment.

 

Souchez, 62

5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 Sept 2014

 

Histoires et Rêves d’Artois  Magnificent son-et-lumière show, with hundreds of local participants re-enacting parts of their turbulent history. Early booking essential. Dress warmly, and arrive early to ensure easy parking. Near Arras golf club. 9pm. 17 euros, children under 13, 8 euros; family (2+3) 50 euros. Booking online.

 

Anzin-St-Aubin, nr Arras 62 (tel: 03 21 51 29 61).

6 Sept 2014

Journée des Peintres dans la Rue,  Artist at work in the streets of Arques, 10-4.30

Brocante fair, 10-8. Avenue du Général de Gaulle Arques.

Concours de javelot  Game of traditional local-style outsize darts, 4-7pm, Café du Bon Coin, Arques

 

Arques, nr Saint-Omer, 62

6, 7 Sept 2014

Karyole Fest  Annual festival of Flemish traditions, including demonstrations by the sturdy grey Boulonnais horses.

 

Hondschoote, 59

6, 7 Sept 2014

Braderie de Lille  The junk fair to end all junk fairs.  The streets of the capital of the Nord département is given over to stalls selling everything, from antiques to tat.

 

Lille, 59

6, 7 Sept 2014

Fete Medievale au Bord de l’Eau  Medieval activities and entertainment in Amiens’ attractive waterside district of St-Leu.

 

Amiens, 80

6-8 Sept 2013

Salon Antiquités-Brocante  Three-day annual antiques fair.

 

Cassel.59

7 Sept 2014

Courses du Pays du Coquelicot  A day of running events around the sites connected with WWI, so not a good day to visit Thiepval Beaumont Hamel and Albert.

 

Albert area

7, 8 Sept 2013

Le Trail de la Côte d'Opale  More than 3000 participants from France and about 20 other countries compete in running races of various lengths among the majestic cliffs and countryside of Les Deux  Caps.

 

Starts Wissant, nr Wimereux

7, 8 Sept 2013

Foire à l’Echalote  Annual shallot festival, with sales and tastings, and lots of other stands for all the family.  

 

Busnes, near Lillers, 62

7, 8 Sept 2014

Fete Medievale de St-Riquier  Medieval-style entertainment and skills in the picturesque setting of the pretty village of St-Riquier.

 

Saint-Riquier, nr Abbeville, 80

7, 8 Sept 2013

Fête au bord de l’eau  Annual event that turns the clock back to medieval times in the picturesque, waterside St-Leu district of the city. Lots of entertainment on offer, from Boulevard du Cange to Boulevard Baraban, with local foods, living history and old crafts.

 

St-Leu district, Amiens, 80
(tel: 03 22 44 22 79).

7 Sept-12 Oct 2013

LE MIROIR DU TEMPS  Exhibition of modern European mummies, with the history of embalming through the ages.

 

Musée Alfred-Danicourt, Peronne, 80

Tél. : 03 22 73 31 10 –

8 Sept 2013

Fete du Parc  Some 150 exhibitors set up stands, which include plenty of local producers from the Marais Audomarois newly-UNESCO-listed under the "Man and Biosphere" label. Local giants will be on parade, local breeds of animal such as the "rouge flamande" cows and large grey "boulonnais" horses on show, and local sports such as vertical archery will be demonstrated.  10-7.

 

Jardin public, Saint-Omer, 62

8 Sept 2013

Marathon du Pays du Coquelicot / “Poppy Country”, or Somme Marathon  Courses for marathon, half-marathon, 10km and 5km laid out around the battlefields of the Somme. Fun to join in or to watch – but less good if you are thinking of visiting Thiepval, Beaumont-Hamel, Lochnagar crater and the Ulster Towe on that day, of course.

 

Albert and area, 80 (tel: 03 22 75 16 42)

12-14 Sept 2014

Centenaire de la Grande Guerre: commémoration. Air display commemorating the heroic flyers of World War I.  A major international air show over three days, arranged by the Aéroclub Picardie Amiens - Métropole, incorporating: historic aircraft and air displays, parachute jumps, hot-air balloons; vintage WW1 vehicles, “Living History” historical tableaux, fun activities for children

Sunday air show with historic aircraft.

 

Glisy aerodrome, Route de St-Quentin, Glisy, nr Amiens (Telephone: 06 07 04 08 50)

14 Sept 2014

Fete du Parc  A day of festivities in honour of the protected national parc area known as the Caps et Marais d’Opale. Demonstrations by Boulonnais horses, ecological gardening, presentations of local breeds of animal.  10-7. Admission free.

 

Forest of Guines, nr Guines, nr Ardres, 62

Mid  Sept

Salon de l’Antiquité  26th annual antiques fair, held in the town’s Salle des Sports. Fri 4-10pm; Sat, Sun 10am-7pm. 5€, under12s free.

 

Cassel 59

mid Sept

Brocante  Open-air antiques fair in the main square and side streets, with more than 200 stands. 6am-6pm. Admission free.

 

Herzeele, near Wormhout 59

20, 21 Sept 2014

Journées du Patrimoine  Nationwide Heritage Weekend, on which some unusual places are open to the public.  Here is a link to events in the Nord and Pas de Calais and here is one to events in the Somme département

 

Throughout France

mid Sept

Fête de la Beurière annual event around the former fishing area of La Beuriere, in the centre of Boulogne (near Nausicaa).  See such crafts as rope-making and net-mending, as well as the highly-skilled ladies who iron the fantastical traditional “sunburst“ bonnets of Boulogne.

 

Rue du Machicoulis, Boulogne 62

late Sept

La Fête à Raoul  A jolly weekend of parades and music around one of the local „giants“.

 

Audinghen, near Boulogne, 62

19-21 Sept 2014

Opale Shore Ride Rencontre Harley Davidson  Exhibition and sale of the legendary motorcycles, street theatre, motorcycle rides and other entertainment.

 

Neufchatel-Hardelot

 

21 Sept 2013

Brocante et Ducasse  A junk fair for funfair week in the attractive village centre, with 100 exhibitors. 1--7pm. Admission free.

Eecke, near Hazebrouck 59

21 Sept 2014

Rendezvous du Fleuve  Event centred on the river Somme. 2-6pm

 

Eaucourt-sur-Somme, nr Abbeville, 80

21, 22 Sept 2013

International Beer Festival  Traditional fair held in the hop-growing area around the Monts de Flanders. Sat from 3pm; Sun from 10am.

Sainte-Marie Cappel, near Cassel, 59

22 Sept 2013

Marché à la brocante  Open-air antiques fair throughout the centre of this little town. 350 exhibitors. 7am-6pm. Admission free.

 

Wormhout 59 

22 Sept 2013

Braderie Brocante  Open-air junk and car-boot fair, with 60 stands. 7am-7pm. Admission free.

 

Samer, near Boulogne 62

Late Sept every two or three years.

Not for 2014; next one probably in 2015.

La Route du Poisson  A carriage-driving event, on the open road as well as on rural trails, between Boulogne and Chantilly – to the north of Paris. It evokes the days when fish was delivered from Boulogne to Paris in 24 hours by horse-drawn wagons. Spectators line the route night and day, especially at the places where the teams of horses are changed in seconds before setting off again.

 

Boulogne to Chantilly.

21 Sept  2014

Procession à Naviaux  A procession of the curiously dressed „Charitables“, an association in Bethune and surrounding area whose members wear black bicorne hats and accompanies funeral processions. 10am-noon. From Béthune to Naviaux.

 

Béthune to Naviaux  62

late Sept

Brocante et Ducasse  A junk fair for funfair week in the village centre, with 100 exhibitors. 7am-7pm. Admission free.

 

Serques, near St Omer 62

27-29 Sept 2013

Fete des Islandais  Annual festival celebrating the courageous fishermen who used to set out from here for cod-fishing off Iceland. The weekend offers a rare chance to see the Maison de l’ Islandais and the little church of St Thomas Becket.

 

Gravelines, 59

27, 28 Sept 2014

7e Festival du Pipasso  Festival of Picard bagpipe music. Concert Sat 7pm, adm 20 euros; Sun  from 11am, a day of open-air music open to all, admission free.

 

Esplanade du Chiffon Rouge, Flixécourt, nr Amiens (80)

28 Sept 2014

Festival International d'orgue en Flandres   From late May to October, this annual cross-border organ festival brings musicians from several different countries to play some of the most celerated organs in Flanders.  Here, Dutch organists – father and son Aad and Johan Zoutendijk - with the Capella Nova singers, perform works by Titelouze, Sweelinck, Duben and Erbach.  4pm

Ticket prices around 10 euros.

Booking via Pays des Moulins de Flandres, 40 Rue de Ledringhem, Wormhout (tel: 03 28 65 76 79)

 

Eglise Saint-Omer, Millam, 59

29 Sept 2013

Festival de Vapeur de Cloture de Saison  Final puff of steam of the season for the narrow-gauge train that once supplied the troops on the Somme front line.

 

P’tit Train de la Haute Somme, Cappy

28 Sept 2014

Fête du Cheval  Parade of horses in the morning, carriage rides in the afternoon.

 

Parc du Brule, Lillers, near Béthune, 62

 

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NORTHERN FRANCE

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