Lille, Flanders & the Somme attractions

Top Choice Cathedral in Amiens

Cathédrale Notre Dame

A Unesco World Heritage Site, the largest Gothic cathedral in France (at 145m long) and the largest in the world by volume was begun in 1220 to house the skull of St John the Baptist. It's renowned for its soaring G…
Top Choice Museum in Lille

Palais des Beaux Arts

Inaugurated in 1892, Lille's illustrious Fine Arts Museum claims France's second-largest collection after Paris' Musée du Louvre. Its cache of sublime 15th- to 20th-century paintings include works by Rubens, Van Dyc…
Top Choice Palace in Compiègne

Palais de Compiègne

This 1337-room palace, originally built for Louis XV, hosted Napoléon III's dazzling hunting parties, which drew aristocrats from all around Europe. A single ticket grants access to the sumptuous Grands Appartements…
Top Choice Museum in Somme Battlefields & Memorials

Historial de la Grande Guerre

For historical and cultural context, the best place to begin a visit to the Somme battlefields is the outstanding Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne, 60km east of Amiens. Located inside the town's fortified me…
Top Choice Cathedral in Laon

Cathédrale Notre Dame

A model for several of its more famous Gothic sisters – Chartres, Reims, Dijon and Paris' Notre-Dame among them – this medieval jewel was built between 1150 and 1235 in the transitional Gothic style on Romanesque fo…
Top Choice Aquarium in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Nausicaá

At this vast manta ray–shaped aquarium – one of the world's largest – huge tanks with floor-to-ceiling windows make you feel as though you're swimming with the sharks. All-up there are more than 60,000 creatures, in…
Top Choice Tunnel in Somme Battlefields & Memorials

La Cité Souterraine de Naours

Believed to date from the 3rd century AD, this extraordinary underground 'city' of quarried tunnels was started by the Romans and expanded over the centuries, incorporating 28 galleries and 300 rooms, including thre…
Top Choice Memorial in Somme Battlefields & Memorials

Ring of Remembrance

It's hard not to be overwhelmed by the waste and folly of the Western Front as you walk past panel after panel engraved with 579,606 tiny names: WWI dead from both sides who are listed in strict alphabetical order, …
Top Choice Square in Arras

Grand' Place & Place des Héros

Arras' two ancient market squares, the Grand' Place and the almost-adjacent, smaller place des Héros (also known as the Petite Place), are surrounded by 17th- and 18th-century Flemish Baroque houses topped by curvac…
Top Choice Gallery in Lille

La Piscine Musée d'Art et d'Industrie

An art deco municipal swimming pool built between 1927 and 1932 is now an innovative museum showcasing fine arts (paintings, sculptures, drawings) and applied arts (furniture, textiles, fashion) in a delightfully wa…