Despite the tank battle of November 1917 to the west of the town, and the fact that the heavily defended Hindenburg Line ran through the town centre for most of World War I, Cambrai has kept enough of its character and cobbled streets to make a fleeting visit worthwhile, though it is less attractive than either Douai or Arras. The large, cobbled, main place Aristide-Briand is dominated by the Neoclassical hôtel de ville. The imposing building hints at the town’s former wealth, which was based on textiles and agriculture. Cambrai’s chief ecclesiastical treasure is the church of St-Géry, off rue St-Aubert west of the main square, worth a visit for a celebrated Mise au Tombeau by Rubens.

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