From the Middle Ages until the late twentieth century, great Flemish cities like Lille, Roubaix, Douai and Cambrai flourished, mainly thanks to their textile industries. The other dominating – now virtually extinct – presence in this part of northern France was the coalfields and related industries, which, at their nineteenth-century peak stretched from Béthune in the west to Valenciennes in the east. At Lewarde you can visit one of the pits, while in the region’s big industrial cities you can see what the masters built with their profits: noble townhouses, magnificent city halls, ornate churches and some of the country’s finest art collections.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

All the clichés about Paris are true – stylish, romantic, glamorous and utterly compelling – yet it retains surprises that continue to delight even the mos…

26 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

The ingredients for a great European weekend break are simple. You’ll need a walkable city centre, a handful of excellent restaurants, some cool bars, afforda…

26 Aug 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
22 incredible pictures of Corsica

22 incredible pictures of Corsica

Just off the south of France, and closer to the coast of Italy, the small, mountainous island of Corsica lies in wait for the three million tourists that visit …

14 Jul 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month