A Comprehensive Guide to the
Top Attractive Sights in
Northern France

Introduction

Northern France is a rich historical and cultural region of France. It is composed of fascinating museums and lively cultural sites. Here you can enjoy your stay with attractive events, festivals, workshops, discoveries, and other great activities too. Northern France is breathtaking with thousands of years of history to majestic castles and plenty of tasty food to fill your tummy every single minute.

When it comes to all the best places in Northern France, you will be spoilt for choice, especially if you consider the numerous attractive sights in the region.

This guide will explore you to the best places to visit in Northern France. It will also direct you to the best restaurants and activities to do in Northern France. But before then you need to understand the location of the region.

Where is Northern France Located?

Northern France is a French region composed of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Normandy and Picardy. It is further broken down into Northeast France and Northwest France. It has eight cities namely: Amiens, Caen, Rouen, Abbeville, Laon, Calais and Lille

Northeast France is an area which covers the new Hauts-de-France and Grand Est regions. It spans from the English Channel to the Rhine River, which includes popular tourist destinations like Champagne and Alsace.

Northwest France is located a few hundred miles south of the English Westcountry. This region of France shares a similar temperature with the West of England. 

What is Northern France Best known for?

There is everything you may wish to see in Northern France such as art, history, culture, heritage and more. If you want to enhance your knowledge such as learning how to ponder and be impressed, then head to Northern France.

Museums and cultural centers in Northern France are filled with exhibits and tempting activities. They relate the story of the history and spirit of the region.

In Northern France, beliefs, history and information maintain an ancestral culture with flourishing customs centuries old.

There are hundreds of places to visit in Northern France. Flex yourself at the groundbreaking art museum ‘Louvre-Lens’ or at the Château de Chantilly’s Musée Condé etc.

The Northern France region is rich in activities and attractions to keep you busy, from UNESCO listed monuments to wide open spaces and gorgeous French villages etc.

What are the Top Attractive Sights in Northern France ?

1. Lille

Lille is a Belgian influence that manifests in the beautiful Vieux-Lille architecture at Place Rihour and Grand’Place.

You’ll be seduced by another Belgian trademark when you walk these cobblestone streets: the delicious scent of waffles.

2. Bayeux

The Bayeux area has an outstanding heritage. What stands out most is the beautiful cathedral and the prominent “Tapestry of Bayeux.”

The 900-year-old tapestry which was in the Cathedral of Bayeux, is now housed in a museum, with the story of William the Conqueror and Hastings’ war.

 3. Brest

 

Brest is a fairly large town situated on the north of France’s western fringes. When here, be sure to visit Tour Tanguy, indulge in some of Le Crabe-Marteau’s popular fish, all after a long day wandering cobbled streets and independent shops.

If you want to take a break from the city, move over to d’Armorique Nature Park. It’s just gorgeous and the whole environment around here is breathtaking

4. Rouen

This city on the Seine is the cultural and medieval center of Normandy, a prosperous port on the river where English kings held court in the Middle Ages. There is a new museum in the town for this French heroine, which is fitting considering the place’s medieval look.

5. Reims

Reims is decorated with stunning architecture and champagne. The magnificent Cathedral of Reims is looming over the city and making a bold declaration. This is Gothic architecture and was also the site of the coronation of 25 kings and queens.

6. Honfleur

The harbour at Honfleur in Normandy has been the focus of paintings by Courbet, Mone and Eugène Boudin etc.

Honfleur is a scene from Quai Saint-Etienne that you ought to see for yourself, gazing around the implausibly narrow old fishing buildings dressed in slate.

You will also be impressed to see the all-wood Sainte-Catherine Cathedral, designed in the 16th century by ship carpenters and isolated in case of fire from its similarly endearing bell-tower.

7. La Roche-Guyon

La Roche-Guyon is a charming old community at the foot of a château built in the 1100s into a cliff to monitor the river crossing.

Monet’s house is situated a few minutes away in Giverny. Even if you are not a Monet student, you would be familiar with many of the scenes in the gardens that he has painted several times.

8. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is one of Northern France’s famous communes. Perched on its own island, it’s not that far from the mainland itself, making access convenient.

Be sure to enjoy an afternoon visiting the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site which has a 6th century history. It’s so popular and the finest places to visit in Northern France.

9. Le Havre

Le Havre is a lot more than just a port town, with lots to see and do when you visit. Be sure to visit the Contemporary Art Gallery, the magnificent Cathedral of Le Havre and the charming Les Jardins Suspendus.

Remember to pack your shoes and track the surrounding coastline of the Côte d’Albâtre. It is one of the most scenic coastlines in Northern France and one of the best places to visit.

10. Caen

This small and stunning port town is a great place to stay for going to the beaches and going to other gorgeous nearby towns in Northern France. This is a bit of a bigger city and there are plenty of options for good restaurants as well.

This was the first big city liberated in WWII by the Allies. There’s a lot of history around Caen. A medieval chateau, the museum and cemetery of the US armed forces, Abbaye aux Dames and Abbaye aux Hommes are situated here.

11. Arras

You may come to Arras just to see its fantastic squares: Place des Héros and the Grand’Place. These contain everything you need to know about Arras.

Under the squares is a great system of tunnels dug in the granite centuries ago. They are used as protections throughout the wars that overwhelmed Arras.

While at Arras you can also explore UNESCO-listed belfry if you want to climb the 326 steps.

12. Carnac

Carnac is a fairly small commune on France’s north-west coast. One of the famous places to visit at Carnac is the Carnac Rocks, believed to be above 6,000 years.

When here, you may be interested to swim at one of the five nearby beaches of Carnac which are ideal for summer day.

13. Saint-Malo

This stunning port city has spectacular views of beaches and coast. There is adequate underground parking and in a half day it’s simple to see this place. The tall, granite walls protect the city and are sturdy and strong enough to move across the ramparts.

14.  Paimpont

Paimpont is a wonderful place to explore a little more history of Northern France. It sways from the breezy sea breeze. When here, be sure to visit the Abbey and explore the ancient Paimpont forest which once was part of the vast forest covering Bretagne.

Experiencing the past of the city is perfectly idyllic and one of the finest locations in Northern France.

Go into the forest to stroll along nature trails, which are especially nice both in winter and summer. But make sure you pack some decent hiking shoes. Here, the field may also be waterlogged from rain and hiking with wet feet isn’t pleasant.

What are the things to do in Northern France?

There are many things to do in Northern France that make it best to take a few days or a week to cover them up:

1. Cycle at Le Touquet by the seafront

For visitors attracted by its chic architecture and trendy boutiques, the genteel seaside resort on the Côte Opale is a year-round attraction. Its seafront is suitable for exploring by road, which you can rent on Rue de Metz from La Baleine Royale.

There are more than 12 miles of bike paths at Le Touquet. When here, you will see a path that leads down to the headland of the Pointe du Touquet which is perfect for seal-spotting. You can also travel inland into the scenic La Pinède pine woodland.

2. Test 'Le Calais'

For most tourists, Calais is the first or final stop on a fun-filled Northern France trip. Check out a major of the heavenly pastries like Aux Délices de Calais on Boulevard Jacquard or Artisan Boulanger in Rue Royale for a true taste of the region.

Le Calais is the must-try dessert: a beautiful almond dessert, finished with a perfect coffee icing.

3. Climb the Beffroi de Lille

The best way to get a glimpse of Northern France is to climb the Beffroi de Lille which is Europe’s tallest. Founded in the 1930s, it is 104m high and thus refers to ‘Lille’s skyscraper.’

Another area worth a visit is Vieux-Lille and the perfect way to experience it is by 2CV, the symbol of classic cars of French. On a gentle drive admire the café culture and distinctive Flemish townhouses in the region

4. Take a ride on a barque

One of the interesting activities to do in Northern France is to take a ride on a barque. This will give you the opportunity to see the region from a fascinating perspective. You can ride on one of the barques or hire a bike from Vélam pick-up points or the iconic flat-bottomed boats.

5. Party at the Carnaval de Dunkerque

Every January to March, carnival spirit blows through the usually quiet town of Dunkerque as the locals wear spectacular dresses for a festival. To certain residents the highlight is the tradition of herring-throwing carried out by the mayor from the town hall balcony.

6. Explore the artists' workshops in Arras

Tourists flock to Arras to see its spectacular Christmas market, to see its lovely squares such as Grand’Place and to test the local speciality.

The Carrière Wellington, an underground town that sheltered 20,000 British troops as they prepared for war, is a more somber sight. You can take a guided tour to the memorable tunnels.

7. Be awestruck by Boulogne aquarium

Host to the largest aquarium in Europe, Boulogne is a crucial landmark on the tourism trail across Northern France. Nausicaa is a popular attraction for families in Northern France for its marine shows, with more than 58,000 species, entrances of all ages.

8. Walk along Montreuil-sur-Mer ramparts

Northern France best views are from the Montreuil-sur-Mer ramparts which give views across the Canche River. The panoramic takes about 35 minutes and is great when paired with a drink in one of Le Caveau’s lovely local bars.

Best Tips on Holidaying in Saint Barthelemy

1. Book the best accommodation

Best accommodations aren’t hard to find in Saint Barthelemy. Consider the following best and affordable accommodations:

2. Locate the best restaurant

Locating the best restaurants at Saint Barthelemy is a key to enjoying your adventure. The following are the best restaurants in Saint Barthelemy:

  • Restaurant Gill
  • Restaurant Origine
  • La Pêcherie
  • Restaurant Le 6e Sens
  •  Leu Duo
  • Les Orfèvres

Click here to see more accommodation in Northern France

Conclusion

Northern France is a convenient location for the best holiday in the world. Northern France residents, who are keen to share their amazing culture and history, welcome tourists with open arms. In Northern France, all you would want to explore, be it literature, culture, heritage and history are found. Why not plan your next holiday to Northern France?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Visit in spring or autumn to escape large traffic and jam-packed roads. Be warned: the weather can be unpredictable sometimes.

The following are the major festivals in Northern France:

  • The International Kite Festival (April)
  • Chroma (June-September and December).
  • The Festival des Forêts (July)
  • Rétro Festival de la Côte d’Opale (July)
  • The Fête de la Mer (August)
  • The Fête du Flobart (August)
  •  Lille flea market (September)
  • The Paris-Roubaix (October).