Home | Airfares  | Transfer | Train Pass | Hotel | Cruise | Pre-Posts | River Cruise | Land Tours | Find a River Cruise | Group | More France | Travel Books | Travel Needs
 

 
Give them a Gift, a
River Cruise for a Special Occasion!

Avalon Waterways has one of the youngest fleet of ships cruising the waterways of the world
Avalon Waterways
Rooms With a View

 
TRAVEL HELP
TRAVEL REQUEST
Accommodations
Airport Shuttles - ALL
France Day Tours
Chateaux & Tours
France & Regions
Available River Cruises
AMA Waterways
Avalon Cruises
Lueftner Cruises
Uniworld Cruises
Viking Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cruise Inquiry
Eiffel Tower Tours
France History
French Phrases
Group Travel
Paris River Cruises
Paris Day Tours
Schools / Universities
Shop Travel Needs
Shopping FR Stores
Statue of Liberty
Transportation- All
Trains-Passes
Travel England
Travel Ireland
Travel Italy
Travel Scotland
Travel Spain
Travel Essentials
Travel FR Mini Pkgs.
Travel Insurance
Travel Guides/Books
FREE Travel Articles
FREE Brochures
FREE Travel Tools
 
 
 
 

  The Region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais Dépt Information

The Départements of Nord-Pas-de-Calais

 

Nord
The Département of Nord is the northeastern most of all the French départements.  It was created, in 1790, from the provinces of French Flanders [Flandre] and Hainaut plus the district of Cambrai.  It is bounded, in the north, by the Strait of Dover, for a length of 20 miles, by a 200 mile border with Belgium in the northeast, by the region of Picardy in the south and by the Département of Pas-de-Calais to the west.

Nord is divided into six arrondissements:  Avesnes-sur-Helpe, Cambrai, Douai, Dunkerque, Lille and Valenciennes.  Its capital is at Lille.

Most of Nord’s land is below sea level, with much of its coastal plain having been reclaimed from the sea.  The land is fertile and is one of the most agriculturally productive lands in France. 

Many battles have been fought on Nord’s plains during the past two thousand years, including the two World Wars of the 20th century.  During World War I, most of Nord was occupied by the Germans.  The British army was evacuated from the seaport of Dunkerque, during the German invasion of France, in June, 1940.  From May, 1940 to August, 1944, the Germans again occupied Nord.  The two World Wars resulted in the destruction of many of Nord’s historical buildings, but some of the more interesting hôtel-de-villes and churches survived.

Nord’s agriculture is important.  Farmers carry out intensive cultivation of cereals, flax, hops, potatoes and sugar beets.  Market gardening has been highly developed.  A high density of livestock is raised and dairy farming is extensive.

Textile production has been important, in the département, since the 12th century.  This cotton, flax and wool based industry is centered near Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, where synthetic fabrics are now also produced.  Denain, Dunkerque and Valenciennes have also been centers of steel production.  Valenciennes, which has been in steel production since 1834, is also famous for its lace.  Dunkerque’s steel producing capacity is the most modern of the three.

The Schelde River flows through the old coal basin near Denain, Douai and Valenciennes.  It was coal, from this area, that created economic might for Flanders in the early 19th century.  The nearby coking and distilling plants, that fueled the steel mills, have fallen upon hard times together with coal mining, since the end of World War II.

Nord’s other principal industries include electrical, engineering, food processing, glassworks, machinery fabrication, marble cutting and petrochemicals.  Dunkerque, which is one of France’s main seaports, has a large shipbuilding yard.  Nearby are mineral works and oil refineries. 
 

Pas-de-Calais
The Département of Pas-de-Calais is located in the western part of the Region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.  It was formed from the historic province of Artois and part of Picardy.  It is bounded, to the north and to the west, by the Mer du Nord, to the east by the Département of Nord, and to the south by the Region of Picardy.  There are seven arrondissements in Pas-de-Calais.  They are Arras, Béthune, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, Montreuil and Saint-Omer.  The département’s capital is Arras.

The département’s topography is generally flat to the north of the chain of low hills that traverses the département from the northwest to the southeast.  These hills form the watershed that drains into the North Sea. 

The southern coastal area is low with extensive marshes.  There are high chalk cliffs, in the northeast near Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez, which are across the Channel from the white cliffs of Dover.  These chalk hills of Artois, which attain a height of 700 feet, extend inland from the Boulogne area and form a watershed that flows south to the Canche River and north to Flanders. 

Much of the area of the Département of Pas-de-Calais has long served as a frequent battleground.  In 1415, the English won the battle of Agincourt by their defeat of the French.  In 1871, it was the French that vanquished the Prussians at Bapaume.  During World War I, there was vicious fighting in, and about, Cambrai, Loos and Neuve-Chapelle.  In 1940, the German Blitz overran the département  and Pas-de-Calais remained in German hands until 1944.

An especially noteworthy départemental landmark is Arras’ Grande-Place [the center of town].  Others are the fortified medieval castle at Saint-Pol, Saint-Omer’s Gothic basilica of Notre-Dame and the fortified town of Petit-Fort-Philippe.

Agriculture thrives in Pas-de-Calais.  Much of the reclaimed coastal lowlands is used for dairy farming and there is intensive market gardening among the network of canals.  To the south of the lowlands, cereals, fodder and sugar beets are grown and cattle are raised.

A one-time rich coal basin extends across northern France into Belgium.  A part of this basin lays under the eastern part of Pas-de-Calais.  As a consequence, the coal richest parts of this area, which include Béthune, Liévin, Lens, Hénin, Beaumont and Liétard, are highly industrialized.  Here, in this densely populated region, there is a concentration of blast furnaces, chemical plants, coking plants, metal works and steel plants.

Calais is France’s major passenger harbor.  It is a Mecca for car ferries, both ships and hover craft, that transport passengers and cars from Dover to France. 

 
 
 
 NORD-PAS-CALAIS
 Information Pages
Region Introduction
Location | History
Economy | Language
Departements
Region Info Sites
Dept - City Links
Gastronomy
 


Nord Calais Hotels

  
 
                             Google

   
www.French-at-a-Touch.com
                               

 
Home AMA Waterways Cruise Uniworld Cruises Viking River Cruises  Europe Day Tour Options
Contact Us Avalon Waterways River Cruises Travel Insurance Viking Ocean Cruises Day Trips From Paris

                                                                                         
 © Copyright 1999 - 2014 by Sharon Atchley.  All rights reserved.  Updated:  07/16/2014