Head to Northern France and you will discover a wealth of cities that are well worth a visit. Lille is perfect for culture lovers and if you're a shopaholic, the huge Euralille shopping centre will be right up your street. Take a stroll around Calais which has plenty to offer too or visit the Champagne Ardenne region's largest city, Reims.
As an international hub for trains from the UK, Paris and Belgium – most travellers just pass on through Lille. But it’s actually well worth a short visit in its own right. The old city centre, Vieux Lille, with its cobbled streets and grand Place General-de-Gaulle square is perfect for a stroll. Plus there’s culture in spades, courtesy of museums like the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Not forgetting the gigantic Euralille Shopping Centre – heaven for shopaholics.
With its huge port and post-war architecture, Calais won’t win any beauty contests. But if you’re passing through and have a few hours to spare, there’s enough to keep you occupied. Head to the magnificent Hotel de Ville to check out Rodin’s statue, ‘The Burghers of Calais’. Take a stroll from there to the Parc St Pierre and the fascinating Second World War Museum. Or seek retail therapy at the huge Cité de L’Europe shopping centre a few miles from the Calais Fréthun Eurostar terminal.
The largest city of the Champagne Ardenne region, Reims is the main centre of champagne production. A network of caves and tunnels in the chalk beneath the city, some dating back to Roman times, is where the champagne ages. Reims is equally famous for its Gothic cathedral, where kings of France were once crowned.