France has a lot to offer for every visitor. The amazing people, lip smacking cuisine and not to forget the stunning castles leaves one and all completely satisfied. Having said that, the region which comprises of Northern France has seven hidden gems that are just waiting to be explored. Go beyond Paris to enjoy real French charm in these offbeat towns of Northern France.
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7 Mesmerizing towns of Northern France
Looking to be amazed by natural beauty and small towns of Northern France? Well then these seven should be on top of your list.
The extreme variety of the North of France with its historical places, stunning monuments dating back to hundreds of years brings the outstanding architecture of Le Have into limelight. The post war European Catholic church of St Joseph’s Le Have is said to be one of the most innovative war memorials of the country. This fishing city lies at the mouth of the River Seine, and today showcases museums and dining outlets of the real French tradition.
Cobbled streets, Flemish cuisine and the constant present aroma of waffles in the air has till today left a mark on the stunning city of Lille of its next door influential neighbour, Belgium. Not only this but the architecture of the Grand Palace, Vieux-Lille, will leave you spellbound. A visit to Lille can be combined with a trip to Belgium, but most visitors would tend to spend more time in this fascinating place.
The dreamy city of Quimper happens to be the capital of the Finistere department of Brittany. The facade of the buildings in the city are reminiscent of ceramic architecture, which even today forms a major retail item in most city shops of the historic city centre. The city sits on the idyllic confluence of the Odet and Steir rivers.
Arras and it’s 17,000 square metres of Flemish styled apartments are a sight to behold. Each of them have their own unique carving and sculpture dating back to the 17th and 18th century. For the sturdy ones, a climb up the 326 steps to the UNESCO listed belfry is worth the visit. The Grand Palace and the Heros square are the two most popular attractions of Arras. The square itself is lined with outlets dispensing food and covered galleries. The carnival in March, is known not only to provide a gala atmosphere, but display heart shaped gingerbreads, which are even today a symbol of the specialty of Arras.
This coastal town in Normandy has been the subject matter of well known paintings by renowned artists like Money, Courbet among others. Apart from this, the sight of the slate roofed fishing houses in Quai Saint Etienne is endearing. Again there are more wonders around the corner. The 16th Century wooden church of Catherine, crafted only in axes and without use of saws, reflects the true Norman construction tradition. A number of museums and good seaside walks are the hallmark of Honfleur.
The stunning town of La Roche-Guyon came into existence in the 1100’s, primarily to control the crossing of the river Seine. This settlement displayed the ingenuity of how the region was kept connected by the use of cleverly built tunnels. A short distance away lies Monet’s house in Giverny, left almost in the same state as when the artist kept it
With the Gothic Cathedral looming in the background, this is one building in Amiens which cannot be ignored. Apart from being one of the largest medieval churches in the world, Amiens is a World Heritage Site, known for the excellent sculpture and a stunning facade flushed with light passing through the stained windows of glass. The renowned traveler, Jules Verne, is said to have passed the last twenty years of his life in this charming city. Every year at Christmas time, a major market comes up in the centre of the city to remind the young generation about the history of the place.
How to Reach these Quaint towns of Northern France?
Well, it is pretty easy to get international flights into Paris from all major hubs in the world. Air France is the national carrier and offers excellent deals and connections from everywhere. For example, just the other day I saw a killer deal for flights Los Angeles Paris and several others ex US, UK, India and more.
Once you are in Paris, simply rent a car and you can be in North of France in less than 3 hours.
France is not only all about the Eiffel tower. Beyond Paris lie the ideal settings of picture perfect French life, without taking in the visions of even the French Riviera. Indeed, the North of the France has some breathtaking places on offer, which makes it a perfect destination for the dedicated traveling enthusiast.
For years on end, Northern France has acted like a magnet to visitors. The gorgeous villages, UNESCO listed sites and the vast open spaces have been top draws for tourists from all over the world.