St-Omer, a popular stop for many away from the ports, is an attractive old Flemish town of yellow-brick houses, 43km southeast of Calais. The Hôtel de Ville on place Foch and the chapel of the former Jesuit college on rue du Lycée are genuine flights of architectural fancy, but for the most part the style is simple but handsome. For a little greenery, head to the pleasant public gardens to the west of town or to the nearby marais, a network of Flemish waterways cut between plots of land on reclaimed marshes along the river.
More about France
Find out more
La CoupoleOf all the World War II museums, La Coupole, 5km southwest of St-Omer, is the best. As you walk around the site of the intended V2 rocket launch pad, individual, multilingual infrared headphones tell you the story of the occupation of northern France by the Nazis, the use of prisoners as slave labour, and the technology and ethics of the first liquid-fuelled rocket – advanced by Hitler and later developed for the space race by the Soviets, the French and the Americans. Four excellent films cover all aspects.