Vimy Memorial Park
The Canadian Vimy memorial park is one of the war memorials you definitely have to see in the north of France. Nord-Pas de Calais boasts a handful of memorials but Vimy memorial park is easily one of the best and most stunning war memorials you’ll come across because of the sculptures and two huge white pylons standing over 90 ft tall.
If you’re a war history buff, you’ll definitely enjoy visiting Vimy Memorial for the free English guided tour to learn about Battle of Vimy Ridge that was fought in the First World War. Besides taking photos of the stunning white-stoned memorial, you’ll get to see the preserved trenches and tunnels that were built by the Canadian troops.
You can easily get to Vimy memorial park from the town of Vimmy (10 minutes drive west) or from the city of Lens (15 minutes drive south).
Lille Grand Place
The Grand Place is Lille's main square and it’s one of the most visited places in Lille because of the Old Exchange (Vieille Bourse) building, which is one of the most impressive examples of Flemish architecture in France.
Once inside the Old Exchange you’ll be able to see a cool statue of Napoleon III and visit the beautiful inner courtyard where a collectors’ book market is held there every afternoon.
Besides touring the Old Exchange, if you’re visiting Grand Place in the summer, you’ll be able to do lots of people watching and take photos of other famous monuments surrounding the square such as the “Column of Goddess” and the “Voice of the North” building, which boasts a shopping mall on the ground floor.
La Coupole Museum
The Museum of La Coupole is without a doubt, one of most interesting Nazi ruins of the Second World War found in France. La Coupole is located a short drive from Saint-Omer and it basically consists of a huge German underground bunker used by the Nazis to secretly develop the infamous V2 missile rockets.
La Coupole is a truly impressive building and you can easily spend 2-3 hours walking the maze-like tunnels and checking out interesting exhibits such as Hitler's secret weapons in space exploration.
Bunker (Blockhaus) of Eperlecques
If you’re planning to visit the La Coupole Museum, you may also want to include in your itinerary of places to see in Nord Pas de Calais the Bunker of Eperlecques since it’s located on the way to Saint-Omer, near the town of Watten.
The Bunker of Eperlecques is surrounded by beautiful lush forests, though you can still see bomb craters and German military equipment on display such as half-track vehicles, rockets and other mobile launch vehicles. The museum inside the actual bunker is also world-class and does a great job at explaining more about the infamous German V-weapons program.
Saint Joseph Village
If you’re looking for more pleasant things to see not far from Calais, you definitely won’t want to miss passing by the Saint Joseph Village in Guines. Saint Joseph Village is just 20 minutes drive south of Calais and it’s essentially a lovely reconstruction of a traditional 20th century village.
Saint Joseph Village replicates wonderfully village life in 1920’s France and boasts working shops like bakery and blacksmith, as well as a windmill, a gas station, and a school.
Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme
The Thiepval Memorial is another beautiful war memorial you cannot miss seeing in Nord Pas de Calais. Thiepval is located in Authuille, roughly between Amiens and Arras, and honors fallen British, French, Anzac and Canadian troops during the Battle of Somme in WWI.
Thiepval Memorial offers a nice photo opportunity, while the visitor’s center offers a great chance to learn more about the actual Battle of Somme where more than 70,000 troops lost their lives.
La Carriere Wellington Museum
If you’re looking for more war-related attractions, the Carriere Wellington museum in Arras is another sight you must to your list of things to see in Nord-Pass-de-Calais. The Carriere Wellington museum is most famously known for the Wellington tunnels that were built more than 65ft beneath the city during the Battle of Arras.
As a visitor, you’re allowed to explore part of the underground tunnels with a guided tour and see objects and belongings such as helmets and food cans left by the troops, as well as sleeping quarters and the latrines.
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