Northern France Tourism : official website

Close-up of the rear face of the villa in fine weather

Vauban, the architect behind the fortified towns

As Commissioner General of Fortifications in 1678, Vauban made his mark on the region. In the service of Louis XIV, he built the fortresses and strongholds of his territory, a double line of fortified towns designed to protect Flanders and the County of Artois, lands taken back from the former rulers of the Low Countries. Visit the fortified towns on the European Days named after him, every year in Spring. Lille, queen of fortresses, Arras, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bergues, Fort Nieulay in Calais, Bergues, Le Quesnoy (superb with its well preserved bastions ), Gravelines, Condé-sur-l'Escaut, Saint-Venant, and so many others where remarkable remains still exist here and there... stroll along the ramparts, finger history...

aerial view of the Citadel of Lille
  • Lille, queen of fortresses, star of Vauban's military architecture. Perfect star, beside the Deûle, to the west of the old town.
  • © FTRG

From cathedrals to bell towers, architectural genius

As symbols of religious and civil power, churches and belfries compete in height. Steep yourself in the religious art of the cathedrals in Lille, Cambrai, Arras, Saint-Omer and Boulogne-sur-Mer. They also tell the story of the architects. As classified UNESCO world heritage sites, the bell towers are a material reminder of the history of our towns. The oldest date from the 13th century, the most recent from 2003 (Saint-Pol-sur-Mer). At the beginning of the 20th century, the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier built bell towers everywhere: red brick, gables, sculptured decoration, that's him! He rebuilt the the bell towers in Armentières, Comines, Dunkirk, Bailleul, Merville, La Madeleine ,and Loos! He also had a hand in the neo-Flemish Chamber of Commerce and the classical opera house in Lille...

the belfry in Armentières and the huge stained glass windows on the interior staircase which represent the town's activities.
  • the belfry in Armentières and the huge stained glass windows on the interior staircase which represent the town's activities.
  • © Pascal MORES
Close-up of the Cavrois villa from the park
  • Face to face with its park
  • © Fanny Fouquet

The Cavrois villa is a Robert Mallet-Stevens masterpiece

"An architectural manifesto", a family villa, a masterpiece built 1929 -1932. Hurry up and visit!

Le Louvre-Lens : la Galerie du TempsThe antique statues in the Galerie du Temps at the Louvre-Lens museum: the transparency of white marble against a white backdrop.
  • The antique statues in the Galerie du Temps at the Louvre-Lens museum: the transparency of white marble against a white backdrop.
  • © Musée du Louvre - Philippe Chance

The Louvre-Lens, characteristically Japanese

A 20 ha museum and park designed by the Sanaa Consultancy (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa).

Euralille, architects at the crossroads of history

Reinventing cities, construction in harmony with a past punctuated with incredible architectural treasures... In Lille, the symbol of renewal is Euralille, a business district in the heart of Europe. We owe this to Rem Khoolas, the architect and town planner, who surrounded himself with the best in order to surround the railway station with iconic buildings. Christian de Porzamparc's futuristic tower - giant boot style ... The Euralille shopping centre, "shopping cruise ship", by Jean Nouvel, the Henri-Matisse park, designed by Gilles, the landscape architect. Also visit the "Maison de l'architecture et de la ville". Euralille is for visiting, eating and drinking, living. A contemporary, modern district, in the centre of town, rich in secular architecture.

Euralille, the business district and the HST station
  • Euralille, the business district and the HST station
  • © Xavier Alphand
Notre Dame de Boulogne basilica: view of the interior of the Dome
  • Notre Dame de Boulogne basilica: view of the interior of the Dome
  • © Anne-Sophie Flament

Abbot Haffreingue, self-taught architect

Visit his life's work - the Notre-Dame de Boulogne-sur-Mer Basilica for which he drew up the plans!

Ideas for architecture tours