Arras, located in northern France, is a charming city known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking a picturesque destination, Arras has plenty to offer. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Arras:
1. Grand Place
Start your exploration at the heart of the city, the Grand Place. This central square is lined with beautifully preserved Flemish-style buildings, housing cafes, shops, and restaurants. Admire the stunning architecture, soak in the lively atmosphere, and enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious meal in one of the many establishments.
2. Arras Belfry
Dominating the Grand Place is the impressive Arras Belfry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb the 236 steps to the top for panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. The Belfry also houses a small museum that delves into the history of Arras.
3. Les Boves
Explore the underground tunnels known as Les Boves. Originally quarries, these tunnels served various purposes throughout history, including as shelters during World War I. Take a guided tour to learn about their fascinating past and discover hidden chambers and passageways.
4. Arras Cathedral
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Visit the magnificent Arras Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and Saint-Vaast. This Gothic masterpiece boasts intricate stained glass windows, beautiful sculptures, and a stunning interior. Don’t miss the chance to climb to the top of the bell tower for breathtaking views of the city.
5. Wellington Quarry
Step back in time and explore the Wellington Quarry, an underground museum that commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Arras during World War I. The museum provides insight into the life of soldiers in the trenches and offers a moving and educational experience.
6. Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Arras
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Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Arras. Housed in a former abbey, the museum showcases a diverse collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods.
7. Citadelle d’Arras
Take a stroll through the Citadelle d’Arras, a fortified complex that once served as a military stronghold. Today, the vast green spaces and gardens provide a peaceful escape where you can enjoy a leisurely walk or a picnic.
8.Place des Héros
Another picturesque square in Arras is the Place des Héros. Surrounded by elegant arcades and beautiful facades, this square is perfect for enjoying a drink or meal at one of the many outdoor terraces.
9. Arras Film Festival
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If you visit Arras in November, don’t miss the Arras Film Festival. This annual event celebrates cinema, showcasing a wide range of national and international films, including premieres and retrospectives.
10. Local Cuisine
Indulge in the local culinary delights of Arras. The city is known for its delicious cuisine, including regional specialties such as carbonnade flamande (a beer and beef stew) and tarte au sucre (sugar tart). Explore the cozy restaurants and brasseries to savor the flavors of the region.
11. Les Places
Explore the Les Places neighborhood, a charming area filled with narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque squares. Here, you’ll find quaint shops, boutiques, and local artisans selling a variety of goods. Take your time to wander around, shop for souvenirs, and soak in the authentic ambiance of the neighborhood.
12. Maison Robespierre
Discover the birthplace of Maximilien de Robespierre, a prominent figure of the French Revolution, at Maison Robespierre. This museum offers insights into the life and legacy of Robespierre, displaying personal belongings, documents, and interactive exhibits.
13. Jardin du Gouverneur
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Escape the bustling city and find tranquility at Jardin du Gouverneur. This beautifully landscaped park is perfect for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply enjoying the scenic surroundings. Admire the lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and charming fountains.
14. Art in the Streets
Arras is known for its vibrant street art scene. Take a self-guided tour through the city to discover impressive murals and artistic expressions adorning the walls of buildings. These colorful and thought-provoking artworks add a contemporary touch to the city’s historic streets.
15. La Carrière Wellington
Delve deeper into Arras’ World War I history at La Carrière Wellington. This underground museum and memorial site allow visitors to experience the underground network of tunnels used by soldiers during the war. Through informative exhibits and guided tours, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the war and its impact on the city.
16. Fêtes de l’Arras
If you visit Arras in August, be sure to join the Fêtes de l’Arras, a vibrant street festival that celebrates the city’s history and culture. The festival features parades, live music, dance performances, traditional costumes, and a lively carnival atmosphere.
17. Arras Christmas Market
During the festive season, Arras hosts a charming Christmas market that fills the streets with holiday cheer. Explore the wooden chalets adorned with lights and decorations, shop for unique gifts and crafts, and indulge in seasonal treats like mulled wine and gingerbread.
18. Day Trips
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Arras serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding region. Consider taking day trips to nearby attractions such as the Vimy Ridge Memorial, a significant Canadian war memorial, or the picturesque town of Lens with its renowned Louvre-Lens Museum.
19. The Arras Beer Route
Beer lovers will be delighted to discover the Arras Beer Route, which takes you on a journey through the city’s brewing heritage. Explore local breweries, beer bars, and pubs that offer a wide selection of craft beers. You can learn about the brewing process, taste unique brews, and even take part in beer-tasting workshops.
20. Musée des Bêtises de Cambrai
Just a short drive from Arras, you’ll find the Musée des Bêtises de Cambrai in the town of Cambrai. This museum celebrates the famous confectionery known as “bêtises,” which are small candies with a variety of flavors. Learn about the history of these delightful treats, see how they are made, and indulge in some sweet samples.
21. La Guinguette de l’Abbaye
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During the summer months, make your way to La Guinguette de l’Abbaye, a riverside restaurant located on the banks of the Scarpe River. Indulge in delicious French cuisine while enjoying the scenic views and live music performances. It’s a perfect place to unwind and savor the local flavors in a charming setting.
22. Arras Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts can head to the Arras Golf Club, a beautifully maintained golf course offering a challenging yet enjoyable experience. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by lush greenery, rolling hills, and peaceful landscapes. The club also provides facilities for practice, lessons, and a clubhouse for relaxation after your game.
23. Les Prés du Hem
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If you’re seeking outdoor activities, Les Prés du Hem is a nature reserve located near Arras. This expansive park offers walking trails, picnic areas, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Spend a day reconnecting with nature, enjoying the serene surroundings, and taking in the fresh air.
24. La Ronde des Remparts
If you visit Arras in June, don’t miss La Ronde des Remparts, a medieval festival that brings the city’s past to life. The event features historical reenactments, jousting tournaments, traditional crafts, and vibrant parades. Immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere and experience the charm of Arras as it was centuries ago.
25. Les Écuries
Art and culture enthusiasts should visit Les Écuries, a contemporary art center housed in a former stable. This dynamic cultural space hosts exhibitions, performances, and workshops, showcasing the works of local and international artists. It’s a hub for creativity and a platform for engaging with contemporary art.
26. Shopping in Arras
Shopaholics will appreciate the diverse range of shops and boutiques scattered throughout Arras. From high-end fashion to independent stores selling unique handicrafts, you’ll find something to suit your taste. Explore the charming streets, browse for souvenirs or fashionable items, and enjoy the pleasure of shopping in a delightful setting.
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Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the markets in Arras. The bustling outdoor markets offer a variety of fresh produce, local cheeses, baked goods, flowers, and more. Engage with the friendly vendors, sample regional specialties, and soak up the lively atmosphere as you explore the stalls.
28. Les Hortillonnages d’Arras
Discover the unique floating gardens of Arras, known as Les Hortillonnages. Take a boat tour through the picturesque canals surrounded by lush vegetation and charming little islands. It’s a serene and enchanting experience that allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature in a tranquil setting.
29. Les Enfants du Nord Museum
Ideal for families with children, the Les Enfants du Nord Museum in Arras offers interactive exhibits and activities that engage young minds. It focuses on the history, culture, and traditions of the region, providing an educational and entertaining experience for kids of all ages.
30. Les Caves du Champagne
Arras is located in the heart of the Champagne region, making it an excellent starting point for exploring the famous Champagne houses. Take a day trip to nearby towns such as Reims or Epernay, where you can visit prestigious Champagne cellars, learn about the production process, and indulge in Champagne tastings.
31. Cultural Events
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Arras hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, theater performances, and art exhibitions. Check the local event calendar to see if there are any concerts, shows, or cultural happenings taking place during your visit. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of the city.
32. Golf de Thumeries-Moncheaux
Golf enthusiasts can venture to Golf de Thumeries-Moncheaux, located a short drive from Arras. This 18-hole golf course is set in a tranquil and scenic environment, providing a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the natural beauty of the French countryside.
33. Local Wine Tasting
While the region is renowned for Champagne, it also produces other excellent wines. Explore the local vineyards and wineries near Arras, where you can participate in wine tastings and learn about the winemaking process. From reds to whites, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of regional wines.
34. Les Bains du Marais
Treat yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating experience at Les Bains du Marais, a wellness center in Arras. Unwind in the sauna, steam room, or jacuzzi, or indulge in a massage or beauty treatment. It’s the perfect way to pamper yourself and recharge during your visit to the city.
Places and Things To Do