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Encompassing an area that was once known as Flanders, Nord Picardy is a region of windmills and battlefields, in particular the fields of the Somme, where villages celebrate traditional festivals dedicated to legendary giants, historic cities contain striking architecture such as France's largest cathedral at Amiens, and Flemish beers and good rustic food are on the menu.

So peaceful and beautiful is the countryside, it's hard to imagine it as having been the scene of so many major battles, from Agincourt to the Somme. With long sandy beaches and stunning white cliffs, the region's coastline is equally impressive, and the huge Gothic cathedral at Amiens is the largest in France.

With locally brewed Flemish beers, traditional festivals and frequently sighted windmills, the Flemish influence is highly evident throughout this peaceful region of river valleys and forests. The coastline is amazingly varied and rich in birdlife, with both sandy beaches and towering rock formations.

Sophisticated Lille offers a lively experience with superb nightlife, shops, restaurants and the Musée d'Art Moderne, housing works by Picasso. Equally alluring is the splendid Gothic church. In fact the region is particularly noted for its church architecture and boasts many magnificent cathedrals, the largest of which is in Amiens.

Many water activities can be enjoyed on the picturesque Somme river, while nearer the Champagne border the historical town of Compiègne is famous for its royal hunting palace. The popular theme park, Parc Astérix can also be found in this region, and is perfect for a fun filled family day out.

Top places to visit

Laon in Nord Picardy is the home of the famous Laon cathedral and is close to the WW1 battlefields of the Chemin des Dames.

Lille in Nord Picardy is a cultured city with a volatile history that has seen many European clashes on its soil. It sits near the Belgian border in the area formerly known as Flanders.

Cassel in Nord Picardy is a charming hill-top town that overlooks French Flanders and is the home of the legendary giants Reuze-Papa and Reuze-Maman.

LaM

The LaM is a large museum just outside of Lille that is filled with works of modern art, contemporary art and art brut ('outsider art'). With more than 4,500 works by artists including Picasso, Modigliani, Deacon, Messenger,...

The current cathedral of Laon is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. Constructed in the mid-12th century from limestone and with large rose windows, it is a wonderfully light and peaceful space that underwent...

Explore this unique archaeological park and discover what life was like in Frankish and Merovingian times! Reconstructions of a Frankish village, an archaeological garden and a Merovingian necropolis will show you how people...

A working 18th century mill, the Moulin Cassel is a wooden windmill that is open to the public and still grinds flour and expresses linseed oil.