Nord-Pas-de-Calais has lots of little-known treasures you will discover. Here is a quick review of the best places to stay in, and what to do.
Things to do in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
- Visit WW1 Battlefields: At the south of the region, WWI battles such as the Somme, were fought in this now peaceful countryside – 58,000 soldiers were killed on the first day alone (1 July 1916) and more than 150,000 in all. Over 90 years later, many of the amazingly well preserved original trenches can still be seen. Memorials and monuments mark the battlefield sites and you can visit museums specifically dedicated to WWI.
- Visit Coupole and Eperlecques Bunker, Watten: The large concrete bunker, the ‘Blockhaus’, built by slave labour for the Germans to manufacture liquid oxygen rocket fuel and assemble and launch V2 rockets against London in WWII is hidden deep in the Eperlecques Forest. Luckily Allied bombing in September 1943 prevented its use. Nowadays, it is open for the public to view and you can take a guided tour to gain an insight into its history. La Coupole was Hitler’s second attempt at a bunker, and the ‘bomb proof’ concrete dome has tunnels which you can visit, stretching far underground. There are audio visual displays about the weapons which would have been used and about life in France during the period - including the work of the Resistance and the liberation. Open every day of the year except Christmas Day and the first 2 weeks of January.
- Sand-yachting, Surfing, Kite-surfing: The Nord-Pas-de-Calais coast stretches for some 140 km and includes vast dunes, sandy and shingle beaches popular for a range of sand sports. Wimereux and Boulogne beaches offer sand yachting and it is almost an obsession all along the Opal coast. Wissart beach is the place for surfing and there are kite surfing contests at Le Touquet.