WELCOME to Arras-France.com website !
This website aims to share interesting information about Arras and its surrounding region in northern France. To enlarge the pictures, just click on them.
The city of Arras is more than 2,000 years old and is located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. Arras is the capital of the Artois region. Unlike many French words, the final “s” in the name has to be pronounced !
The majestic bell tower of Arras at night.
In July 2005, the bell tower of Arras was classified as part of the ‘world inheritance of humanity’ by UNESCO. Visitors can climb it to see numerous sites and monuments around the city.
View of Arras from the top of the bell tower.
Of Gallo-Roman origin, Arras is famous for various reasons; in the XII century, the city was granted a commercial charter by the crown and enjoyed international importance in banking and trade. By the XIV century, it became a center of wealth and culture, renowned worldwide for its draperies and tapestries, known in Italy as “arazzi”.
The extremely well-preserved military history of Arras and the surrounding Artois region hit you hard when you tour the place. During the First World War, major battles occurred here such as the famous “Battle of Arras”.
The famous underground passages of Arras, called “Boves”, were used to shelter the civilians, and the British soldiers launched a successful attack against the German army from there.
During the Second World War, more than 200 opponents from different nationalities were executed in Arras between August 1941 and July 1944. Their memory is preserved at the ‘Citadel of Arras’, which was classified as part of the ‘world inheritance of humanity’ by UNESCO in 2008.
Today, Arras is famous for its two striking squares, made of 155 houses dating from the XVII and XVIII centuries. The squares were built in a Spanish and Flemish style and are classified as Historical Monuments.
For more beautiful pictures of the Arras’ annual fireworks, please visit Christophe Blanc’s website : http://christopheblanc.free.fr/
Arras is also appreciated for its beauty and tranquility. Robespierre and Vidocq, two famous and controversial French personalities were born in Arras. Julius Caesar spent two winters in an oppidum. The city has attracted many over the centuries: writers like the great Victor Hugo, playwrights and political figures.
If you are planning to visit Arras in December, you will enjoy its Christmas Market, which is one of the most popular Christmas Markets in northern France.
For more information, click on this link :
Arras is a good blend of urban and agri economies.
From the perspective of a foreign visitor, Arras enjoys a strategic position as the city is just 50 minutes north of Paris by TGV train, 30 minutes from Lille and less than 2 hours away from London and Brussels !
Don’t forget to click on the “Sunsets over Arras” gallery to discover more stunning photos !
In addition of being a photogenic place, Arras is also a good site to observe the night sky as the town is relatively free from light pollution.
An airplane passing in front of the Moon on February 16, 2014. This is one of my best photos of the Moon so far !
- To download 4 useful brochures about Arras and the Artois region, click on this link :
They are written in English and French and were made by the Tourist Office.
We will also share interesting information about other famous regions/sites in France.
- If you are coming to northern France, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, the Canadian War Memorial of Vimy, the Arras WWI memorial, the Louvre-Lens Museum and Mont-Saint-Eloi abbey should be on your list.
Indeed, during the First World War, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (Lorette hill) represented a strategic point for the German forces. Intense fighting took place on the hill between the French Army and the German Army from October 1914 to October 1915. Over 100,000 soldiers were killed. A national cemetery comprising 20,000 individual graves was erected on 13 hectares (picture below). Lorette hill has seven other ossuaries, located at the corners of the cemetery, in which lie the bodies of more than 17,000 Unknown Soldiers.
To know more about this famous site, click on this link :
French President, François Hollande, inaugurated the new international war memorial at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, called the “Ring of Memory“, on November 11, 2014 (Remembrance Day).
The names of 580,000 soldiers are engraved in alphabetical order, regardless of nationality or rank, at the international memorial for fallen soldiers. Photo credit : (AFP)
For more information about the “Ring of Memory”, click on this link :
As for the Canadian War Memorial of Vimy, it is the most prestigious Canadian monument in Europe. It stands on Hill 145, overlooking the Canadian battlefield of 1917, at one of the points of fiercest fighting and is located about 20 km north of Arras. The Memorial stands as a tribute to all Canadian soldiers who risked or gave their lives in battle during the First World War and commemorates the 9 April 1917 battle.
For more information about this site, click on this link :
Here is a great video taken on the battlefields of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Vimy Ridge and Mont-Saint-Eloi :
The Arras memorial is a World War I memorial, located in the Faubourg d’Amiens British Cemetery, in the western part of the city. It commemorates 34,785 soldiers of the forces of the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand, who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918. This war memorial has a unique Greek architecture.
For more information about this site, click on this link :
The Louvre-Lens museum is a branch of the Louvre museum in Paris and has been open to visitors since December 2012. It is located in the industrial city of Lens, near Arras.
For more information about this new art museum, click on this link :
Mont-Saint-Eloi abbey was founded in the VII century and entirely rebuilt in the middle of the XVIII century. The First World War damaged it almost entirely. Today, only the two 44 metres high towers are left.
For more information about this remarkable ruin, click on this link :
The owner and editor of this website is Emilie Sergent, a native of Arras, who has also lived and traveled in other countries including the UK, USA, Spain, Germany, India and the Netherlands to name just a few.
Arras-France.com has recently crossed visitors from 200 countries. Don’t hesitate to leave comments and to ask questions about Arras and its region ! I will happily answer them.
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