Top 5 historical attractions in Northern France

History buffs have probably spent at least a bit of time going through France’s tumultuous history, and the northern bits of the Hexagon have probably had more than a few mentions. Northern France has a very rich history, and historical sites abound in the region, both older sites and newer site dating back to WWII. Normandy, Picardy and Nord-Pas de Calais are great tourist destinations for those who want to combine natural attractions with a bit of history and interesting sites and monuments. So here are the top 5 historical attractions in Northern France.

Grottes de Naours, Naours, Somme department

Something can be said about the Caves of Naours can be said in every historical period. The caves are actually man-made, carved in the limestone beneath the surface. They were first used as a quarry by the Romans, but later turned into a hiding place for the inhabitants of the regions fleeing from invaders. During WWI it was used as a hospital, and in WWII it fell into the hands of the Nazis. There are guided tours that will tell you more about the history of the caves.

La Coupole, Saint Omer, Pas de Calais department

La Coupole is a bunker complex that was used by the Nazis in WWII as the launching site for their V2 rocket programmes against London and the rest of southern UK. Today, the site is a museum that has displays on the history of the weapons and life in France under Nazi occupation.

Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, Normandy

Those who are interested in recent history might want to visit Omaha Beach and Utah beach, the sites of the D-Day landing on 6 June 1944. Although the settlements around the beaches have grown and merged, their geography is pretty much the same. The remains of a harbor can still be seen on Omaha Beach, and there’s a small commemorative site on Utah beach (which on the whole has a more peaceful feel than Omaha).

Honfleur, Normandy

For some more distant historical sites, visit the town of Honfleur, a 17th century harbor town where you don’t run out of thing to see in a mere few days. There are numerous beautifully preserved historical buildings in the town, as well as several interesting museums and religious buildings.

Château Gaillard, Les Andelys, Upper Normandy

Château Gaillard was a castle built by King Richard I of England, duke of Normandy, better known as Richard the Lionheart. The ruined castle is overlooking the Seine, and although it is probably only a pale shadow of what it used to be in the past, it has played an important part in history.

Leave a Reply