Today, Arras is famous across the world for its two magnificent squares, built in a Flemish-Spanish baroque style.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
From the XI century, they were the centre of commerce. They are spread over 17,000 square metres of historical paving stones.
The 155 facades that make up the squares date from the XVII and XVIII century. They are supported by 345 sandstone columns.
Almost destroyed entirely during the First World War, the houses were faithfully rebuilt even if the wood was replaced by bricks and stones. Their facades are adorned with a great number of sculpted ornaments such as bells, helmets, wheat sheaves, and cauldrons.
View of the ‘Place des Héros’.
The houses of Grand’Place and Place des Héros have two underground passages. During the bombardments of 1944, they were used as a shelter and as a medical centre. These underground passages were dug by the man for several hundreds of years in a rock aged of ninety million of years and have ramifications that spread under the whole Arras’ region.
This giant network of underground passages (also called “Boves”) has been made open to visitors since 1982. For more information, you can contact the Tourist Office (located in the city hall’s ground floor):
Office du Tourisme
Place des Héros, 62000 ARRAS
Website : www.ot-arras.fr
Known as ‘petit marché’ (small market) in the XII century, the ‘Petite Place’ (small square) was rebaptized ‘Place des Héros’ (square of the heros) from 1945 to pay tribute to the French Resistance members in Arras, shot during the Second World War. On every Wednesday and Saturday morning, the market of Arras takes place on these squares.
Panorama of the “Place des Héros”.
View of the Arras’ houses from the bell tower.
In the following picture, the house with red flowers is the oldest house on the Grand’Place (1467). Today, it is used as a hotel.
Each house in the city centre of Arras is adorned with a great number of sculpted ornaments. In this picture we can see two mermaids. This is because it was a fish-shop in the XVIII century. Today, it’s a cafe!
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