Northern France Tourism : official website

Filming of “Sous le Soleil de Satan” by Maurice Pialat.

The poetic coastline.

With all due respect to Mme. Deneuve who found Dunkirk “melancholy”, the Nord coastline has inspired many more than it has disappointed, starting with Yolande Moreau. In the César award-winning masterpiece “Quand la Mer monte”, the Belgian director captured the region’s beauty in a film which demonstrates the sensitivity of the Nord population, and the hopes they nurture despite a difficult context. A northern wind sweeps over the dunes, dancing giants, cathedral-like hop plants: poetry pierces the screen. The landscapes of the northern coastline inspire artists, as do the local traditions and inhabitants. As is shown by the film Weekend at Dunkirk , “La Tête Haute” which opened the 2014 Cannes festival, and “Noce Blanche” for which Vanessa Paradis won her first César award.

Benoit Magimel (right) and Rod Paradot (left) on the set of “La Tête Haute”
  • “La Tête Haute” by Emmanuelle Bercot was filmed in Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-mer.
  • © Luc Roux

Bruno Dumont: ambassador of Flanders

Born in Bailleul, the director Bruno Dumont captures the essence of his homeland like no one else. His beloved Flanders is shown under the belfries and the Bailleul church in Flanders (The jury’s Grand Prix in Cannes in 2006). It is also depicted as green and renewed, like the countryside. In 2009 in Hadewijch, the director showed sumptuous Flemish panoramas with the Mont des Cats abbey as the backdrop. Other landscapes, another atmosphere: the coastline. The northern director makes us laugh with his authentic, comic, and lovable characters, in “Le P’tit Quinquin” shot in Audresselles, and the soon to be released “Ma Loute”. Bruno Dumont’s filmography is an invitation to discover his region, the Flanders, which he captures so precisely on the screen.

Zoom in on Bruno Dumont’s face
  • Bruno Dumont proposes an interesting interpretation of the Flanders.
  • © Eric Le Brun - Light Motiv
Lights, camera, action!

For better...and for laughs

For a long time, the Nord and Pas-de-Calais have been the backdrop for dramas in which the characters had to overcome the difficult stages in life, morose and grey. That said, that image contrasts with the warmth of the locals depicted in mainstream comedies. It’s true, Dany Boons’ “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” may seem over the top, but the locals in the Nord are really very welcoming. An older example, but just as delightful, “La Vie est un long Fleuve tranquille” tells about the daily life of two completely different northern families - the Groseille and Le Quesnoy families. This popular mainstream comedy by Etienne Chatillez (“Tatie Danielle”, “Tanguy”) was shot in Roubaix and Tourcoing. Like human warmth, the locals have humour in their DNA.

Kad Merad and Dany Boon in a restaurant, having a laugh with a beer.
  • Bursts of laughter were constant on the “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” set.
  • © Pathé Distribution

Successful lands

Apart from the successful mainstream comedies which were shot in the region, other films have received acclaim from audiences and critics. “The Vie d’Adèle”, of which many of the scenes were shot in the region (La Piscine museum, Lille, and Liévin) won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes in 2014. “Les Petites Meurtres d’Agatha Christie” which takes place in the Nord in the 1950s attracts several million TV viewers when it is broadcast. Even the Americans are jealous because Christopher Nolan (the Batman trilogy, Interstellar) will shoot his next film in Dunkirk, about the Dynamo operation during the Second World War. Are the Nord and Pas-de-Calais lucky charms for directors?

Samuel Labarthe and Blandine Bellavoir in “Les Petits Meurtres d’Agatha Christie”.
  • “Les Petites Meurtres d’Agatha Christie” shot in the city of Lille.
  • © G. Scarella