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Things to Do in Nord-Pas de Calais - page 2

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Maison Folie Hospice d'Havré

The Maison Folie Hospice d'Havré, a historic monastery, is not only remarkable because of its history, but also because of its current vocation. Founded in the 12th century by the daughter of a local count, the monastery remained in use until the late 1990s – its chapel, the cloisters and the refectory façade were recently added to the list of historic monuments of France. Throughout its history the monastery was used as a hospital and school for young girls. But what used to be a place of worship is now a place for cultural exchanges under the theme of art. The hospice welcomes an eclectic mix of activities pertaining to the arts, like dancing, painting, cinema, theatre and music shows on a regular basis. The hospice is also noteworthy for its beautiful garden, which is filled with medicinal herbs.

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Dunkirk (Dunkerque)

The community of Dunkirk (Dunkerque) in northern France is known for its roles in World Wars I and II, but there’s more to this quiet destination than army and military memorials. Art lovers will find an extensive collection of Flemish, Italian and French paintings and sculptures at the Musee des Beaux-Arts. History buffs will do well to check out the Musee Portuaire, which has exhibits that examine Dunkirk’s past, as well as the background of its famous port.

The Liar’s Tower, Dunkirk Town Hall and Church Saint Eloi are among the place’s top architectural wonders and ever popular Carnival—a yearly celebration between January and March that celebrates fishermen heading out to sea—remains one of Dunkirk’s biggest tourist attractions.

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Calais

The town of Calais is more of a throughway than a destination. That’s because each year some 15 million people pass by this quiet nook en route to Dover, but very few actually stop. Still, seasoned travelers say this major ferry port, which is also the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, has a few hidden gems that make it worth overnighting.

The World War II museum on Part St Pierre is housed inside a former Nazi military bunker and the museum’s 20 rooms are filled with photographs and artifacts that help make history come alive. The Citadel on Avenue Roger Salengro, once housed a medieval castle, but today travelers can venture to this spot for epic views of the White Cliffs of Dover. And the pre-war Watch Tower, which dates back to the early 1900s, is one of the most historic monuments in the town of Calais.

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Aqualud

Situated in the seaside resort town of Le Touquet, Aqualud is one of northern France’s largest water parks and a popular destination for families. Founded in 1985, and situated just steps from the beach, the park offers an array of water slides, pools, Jacuzzis, and other attractions in both indoor and outdoor areas.

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Villa Cavrois

The modernist masterpiece of Parisian architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, Villa Cavrois is a National Historic Monument in the Lille suburb of Croix. Built in 1932 for its namesake, the industrialist Paul Cavrois, the architectural landmark has been painstakingly restored and stands as the foremost example of Mallet-Stevens’ work.

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