What to do in Hauts-de-France?

Hauts-de-France region, which includes Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the départements of the former Picardie region is a region of France steeped in history

Take an interest in history

Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a region of France steeped in history, notably if you're interested in the Second World War, when the two erstwhile départements (Nord and Pas-de-Calais) were attached to the German military command in Belgium.

La Coupole, a history centre and 3D planetarium situated in Helfaut (5 km from Saint-Omer) recounts this period. In Villeneuve-d’Ascq, one of the tourist sites notably recounts the terrible night of the 1st April 1944.

And we cannot evoke the history of Nord-Pas-de-Calais without drawing parallels with that of the coal mines. When mining came to an end and all the pits were closed one after the other, the Lewarde pit was transformed into a mining history centre. In 2009, twenty-five years after the opening of this Mine Museum, a major part of the site has been listed as a historical monument.

Lastly, you'll be able to stroll around Vieux-Lille and discover the houses typical of the region.

Appreciating art

There are many places for confronting art in every shape and form in Nord-Pas-de-Calais. First of all, let us mention Le Louvres-Lens - including the Galerie du temps which really constitutes the heart of Le Louvre-Lens. There are more than 200 masterpieces from the collections of the Louvre on show in a spectacular 3,000 sq.m space, and offers an original journey through the history of art, from the invention of writing in Mesopotamia in the 4th millenium BCE through to the industrial revolution in the middle of the 19th century.

Unusual, La Piscine, is the name commonly given to the André-Diligent Art and History Museum in Roubaix. The visit allows you to discover the most beautiful applied and fine arts collection in the region: fabrics, pieces of decorative arts, sculptures, paintings, drawings… But the biggest Art Gallery in the region – and in France outside Paris – is the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, which brings together art and antiquities. And if your steps take you to Arras, do not fail to go to Musenor: the museum in Arras is housed in the former Saint-Vaast abbey, dating from the 18th century, where there are 32,000 objects on show on 6,000 sq.m, going from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. And because it is famous the world over, you must absolutely go to Calais to pay tribute to Calais lace at the Cité de la dentelle et de la mode (Lace and Fashion Centre).

Entertaining kids and grown-ups

The region has many possibilities for keeping the kids happy. In Lomme, near Lille, you'll find a 1,500 sq.m indoor games space, Taho & Lina, when kids need to exert themselves on a rainy day.


One of the favourite outings for families is Lille zoo, where you'll be able to see 70 different animal species: 300 specimens living in lush green surroundings, in particular the primates, much appreciated by the toddlers, As for the marine animals, there's Nausicaá in Boulogne-sur-Mer. This exceptional structure brings together 1,600 marine species spread between several spaces: sharks, rays, jellyfish, amphibians, corals, a penguin colony… Several exhibitions allow Nausicaá's visitors to better understand the oceans, mankind's relationship with the sea and coast, the urgent need to protect certain species and more generally the maritime challenges of the 21st century.


Nausicaá is committed on a daily basis, just as Hauts-de-France region is committed to promoting its culture and diversity, musical in particular, thanks to the many festivals that liven up the summer season: the Main Square Festival in Arras (62), the Festival de la Côte d’Opale in Boulogne-sur-Mer (62) or the Festival les Nuits Secrètes in Aulnoye-Aymeries (59). You're sure to find something to suit you in Hauts-de-France !

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