Port towns, fresh seafood and rich history
Northern France’s appeal as a holiday destination has been largely centred around its battlefields and the D-Day beaches, but this area of the country has much more to recommend it than combat scarred landscapes: lovely port towns, charming seaside resorts, fine architecture and first class cuisine only begin the list.
The strong connection to the First World War cannot be overlooked since much of the fighting occurred here. Visitors can tour the battlefields of the Somme and the preserved trenches at Vimy Ridge, pause for reflection in one of the many cemeteries and explore the museums dedicated to the war. The Normandy landing beaches are also popular with history enthusiasts; the remains of German gun emplacements still dot the shoreline and memorials mark the landing points of the allied forces.
Beyond the beaches, the north of France has some fabulous examples of Gothic architecture, most notably in the cathedrals at Amiens and Laon. Each is as magnificent to behold from the outside as from within – sunlight filters through exquisite stained glass windows, high vaulted ceilings create a cavernous feel and intricate sculpting showcases the skill of the craftsmen. For gourmet food and culture, Lille is unrivalled, boasting superb restaurants, interesting museums and great shopping.
Taking the time to explore some of the highlights of the north, even if it’s just as an add-on to a trip to another part of Europe, is certainly worthwhile. For those who choose to spend a week or more here, the experience is thoroughly rewarding.
Catherine is French and worked in France for some time before moving to England. Belle France is the perfect opportunity for her to liaise with her home country on a daily basis.
Being French, Catherine has a good knowledge on most regions. She has taken responsibility for a wide area spreading from North, where she was born, to Northern West and Northern Eastern France.
5 Matching Holidays
Marvels of Normandy Walking+
Explore a region steeped in history, tradition, art and unique delicacies
Starting in the historic port town of Honfleur, walk through verdant countryside visiting Beuvron-en-Auge where you can sample local cider and calvados. Continue to the sombre landing beaches, museums and memorials of World War II, before reaching...
Marvels of Normandy Cycling+
Cycle from the D-Day beaches to the enchanting Honfleur via unmissable Bayeux
Following the rugged Norman coast from west to east, this cycling holiday lets you discover the best of Normandy. Experience an atmospheric adventure, packed with cultural sites along the way; WW2 memorials, Bayeux Tapestry, William the Conqueror’s...
Morbihan Islands Walk
A dreamy mélange of sea, sky and islands in South Brittany
The Gulf of Morbihan features a scattering of islands waiting to be discovered, the two largest being the Ile aux Moines and Ile d’Arz. The cross-shaped Ile aux Moines offers scenic walks around its 4-mile coastline, while Arz...
Seine Valley River Walk
Ancient woodland and ruined abbeys
With one or two steep sections to negotiate each day, this route rises from the river valley, taking in forest tracks through glorious woodland, towpaths along the slow moving Seine and quiet lanes leading past romantic ruined abbeys. The...
Baie de Somme
Sea air, wildlife and sandy beaches
Discover the beautiful Baie de Somme on the Picardy coast. Open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows make up a landscape where water and dry land seem to merge. It is one of France’s major sites for migrating birds.