Douai is a charming city located in the Hauts-de-France region of France. Known for its rich history, architectural wonders, and vibrant cultural scene, Douai offers visitors a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Douai:
1. Douai Belfry
Image Source: https://structurae.net/en/structures/douai-belfry
Start your exploration of Douai by visiting the iconic Douai Belfry. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a magnificent bell tower that dates back to the 14th century. Climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and admire the intricate architecture.
2. Musée de la Chartreuse
Housed in a former Carthusian monastery, the Musée de la Chartreuse is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The museum displays an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts spanning several centuries. The serene setting of the museum adds to the overall experience.
3. Place d’Armes
Located in the heart of Douai, Place d’Armes is a bustling square surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the cafes, and soak in the lively atmosphere. The square is also home to the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), an architectural gem worth admiring.
4. Parc Jacques Vernier
If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, head to Parc Jacques Vernier. This scenic park offers ample green spaces, walking paths, and a tranquil lake. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic, a leisurely walk, or simply unwinding amidst nature.
5. Notre-Dame de Douai
This stunning Gothic-style cathedral is a significant religious and architectural landmark in the city. Step inside and marvel at the impressive stained glass windows, intricate stone carvings, and the grandeur of the interior. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Mass or a concert if available.
6. Musée de la Mine de Lewarde
Image Source: https://www.google.com/maps
Just a short drive from Douai, the Musée de la Mine de Lewarde is a fascinating attraction for those interested in the region’s industrial heritage. It showcases the history and workings of coal mining through interactive exhibits and guided tours.
7. Douai Grand Place
Another charming square in Douai is the Douai Grand Place. Lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, this vibrant square is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Take a seat at a cafe terrace and savor some delicious local cuisine while enjoying the lively atmosphere.
8. Festivals and Events
Douai hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. The Fête de Gayant, held in July, is a famous event featuring giant puppet figures parading through the streets. The Douai Jazz Festival and the Festival of Douai Cloth are other notable cultural celebrations.
9. Culinary Delights
Indulge in the local gastronomy of Douai by sampling traditional dishes such as Carbonnade Flamande (beef stewed in beer), Potjevleesch (a terrine of different meats), and Maroilles cheese, a local specialty. Don’t forget to visit the local markets and bakeries to experience the flavors of the region.
10. Maison de la Bataille
Image Source: https://tda.gg/portfolio/la-maison-de-la-bataille/
Explore the Maison de la Bataille, a museum dedicated to the Battle of Douai during World War I. Discover the history of the battle through immersive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations. It provides valuable insights into the impact of the war on the region.
11. Canal de la Scarpe
Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike along the picturesque Canal de la Scarpe. This scenic waterway offers a tranquil setting and is perfect for enjoying a peaceful afternoon surrounded by nature. You can also opt for a boat tour to explore the canal and its surroundings.
12. Douai Gourmet Tour
Image Source: https://visit-douai.co.uk/
Embark on a culinary adventure through Douai’s gourmet delights. Join a guided tour that takes you to local food shops, bakeries, and restaurants, allowing you to sample a variety of delicious treats and learn about the culinary traditions of the region.
13. Les Jardins des Remparts
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Les Jardins des Remparts, a beautiful garden located near the city walls. This green oasis features well-manicured lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and peaceful seating areas, providing a serene escape from the bustling city center.
14. Théâtre Municipal
If you appreciate performing arts, catch a show or performance at the Théâtre Municipal. This historic theater hosts a diverse range of productions, including plays, operas, concerts, and ballets, offering a memorable cultural experience.
15. Attend a Sporting Event
Image Source: https://allevents.in/seclin/sports
If you’re a sports enthusiast, check the local schedule for sporting events. Whether it’s a football (soccer) match, rugby game, or another sporting competition, cheering for the local teams alongside passionate fans can be an exciting and immersive experience.
16. Maison Forestière de Marchiennes
Image Source: https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/maison-forestiere-de-schmalick.en-gb.html?aid=356980&label=gog235jc-1DCAsoTUIebWFpc29uLWZvcmVzdGllcmUtZGUtc2NobWFsaWNrSDNYA2i1AYgBAZgBCbgBF8gBDNgBA-gBAYgCAagCA7gC4ZngpAbAAgHSAiQwOGMwYTUxOC1lMGVjLTQyYTItYTRkYi1lMzEzZmI2N2JkYjbYAgTgAgE&dist=0&keep_landing=1&sb_price_type=total&type=total&
Located just outside Douai, Maison Forestière de Marchiennes is a nature reserve and educational center. It offers various outdoor activities, including hiking trails, birdwatching, and nature workshops, providing a refreshing escape into the natural beauty of the region.
17. Maison natale d’Albert Samain
Visit the birthplace of Albert Samain, a renowned French poet. The house has been preserved as a museum and offers insights into the life and works of this influential literary figure. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the region’s artistic heritage.
18. Douai War Cemetery
Pay your respects at the Douai War Cemetery, a solemn memorial dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. The cemetery provides a peaceful and reflective atmosphere for contemplation and remembrance.
19. Les Halles
Image Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forum_des_Halles
Explore the vibrant Les Halles market, where you’ll find a wide variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and artisanal products. This bustling market is an excellent place to immerse yourself in the local gastronomy and pick up some authentic flavors to savor later.
20. Eglise Saint-Pierre
Discover the Eglise Saint-Pierre, an impressive church known for its striking architecture and intricate stained glass windows. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship and serene atmosphere within this religious landmark.
21. Maison de la Marionnette
Delve into the world of puppetry at the Maison de la Marionnette. This museum showcases a diverse collection of puppets and provides insights into the history and artistry behind this traditional form of entertainment.
22. Boat Ride on the Scarpe River
Enjoy a leisurely boat ride along the scenic Scarpe River. Discover the city’s waterways, admire the charming riverside views, and gain a unique perspective of Douai’s architecture and natural surroundings.
23. Maison Notre Dame
Visit Maison Notre Dame, a beautifully restored 17th-century mansion that now serves as a cultural center. It often hosts art exhibitions, concerts, and workshops, providing a vibrant space for artistic expression.
24. La Chartreuse de Douai
Explore the remains of La Chartreuse de Douai, a Carthusian monastery that dates back to the 14th century. The tranquil gardens and architectural remnants provide a serene setting for a peaceful walk or moments of reflection.
25. Maison du Boulanger
Step into the Maison du Boulanger, a historic building that now houses a bakery. Immerse yourself in the tantalizing aromas of freshly baked bread and pastries while learning about the art of traditional baking and the region’s culinary heritage.
26. Museé d’Archéologie
Visit the Museé d’Archéologie to discover the archaeological heritage of Douai and its surrounding areas. The museum showcases a wide range of artifacts, including pottery, tools, and sculptures, offering insights into the region’s ancient history.
27. Rue de la Mairie
Take a stroll along Rue de la Mairie, a charming street lined with colorful facades and quaint shops. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs, boutique clothing, and local crafts.
28. Le Parc des Glissoires
Have a fun-filled day with family or friends at Le Parc des Glissoires. This amusement park features various rides, including slides, bumper cars, and a Ferris wheel, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.
29. Maison de la Photographie
Image Source: https://maisonphoto.com/
Photography enthusiasts should visit the Maison de la Photographie, a museum dedicated to the art of photography. Explore the diverse exhibitions showcasing both contemporary and historical works of renowned photographers.
30. Local Wine Tasting
Indulge in the flavors of the region by sampling the local wines. Visit one of the nearby vineyards or wine cellars to taste the renowned wines of Hauts-de-France, such as the sparkling Crémant de Douai or the fruity reds and whites produced in the area.
31. Chapelle des Jésuites
Visit the Chapelle des Jésuites, a beautiful Baroque-style chapel that now serves as an exhibition space. Admire the ornate architecture, intricate artwork, and temporary art exhibitions that are often held within this historic religious building.
32. Maison d’Éducation de la Légion d’Honneur
Explore the Maison d’Éducation de la Légion d’Honneur, a prestigious institution established in the 19th century. Take a guided tour to learn about its history, architectural significance, and the education provided to young women from the region.
33. Douai Street Art
Discover the vibrant street art scene in Douai. Explore the city streets and alleys to find colorful murals, graffiti, and urban art installations that add a contemporary touch to the city’s aesthetic.
34. La Ferme aux Oies
Visit La Ferme aux Oies, a traditional farm located on the outskirts of Douai. Learn about the breeding and rearing of geese, ducks, and other animals, and perhaps indulge in some delicious foie gras or other farm-fresh products.
35. Jardin des Plantes de Douai
Spend a peaceful afternoon at the Jardin des Plantes de Douai, a botanical garden boasting a variety of plant species, beautiful flower beds, and tranquil pathways. It’s an ideal spot for nature lovers and those seeking a serene environment.
36. Maison d’Art
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/56787645274116241/
Explore the Maison d’Art, a contemporary art gallery showcasing a diverse range of artworks from local and international artists. From paintings to sculptures, installations, and multimedia creations, the gallery offers a stimulating artistic experience.
37. Douai Beer Tasting
Sample the local craft beers at one of Douai’s breweries or beer bars. Enjoy the flavors of artisanal brews made with passion and expertise, and learn about the brewing process and the history of beer in the region.
38. Douai by Night
Experience the enchanting ambiance of Douai by night. Take an evening stroll through the illuminated streets, admire the beautifully lit landmarks, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of the city’s restaurants, bars, and cafes.
39. Musée de la Vie Agricole et Rurale de l’Ostrevant
Explore the Musée de la Vie Agricole et Rurale de l’Ostrevant, a museum dedicated to rural life and agriculture. Learn about the traditions, tools, and practices of farming in the region through interactive exhibits and displays.
40. Douai Art Gallery
Image Source: https://douaivox.fr/donner-du-relief-au-plan/
Visit the Douai Art Gallery, showcasing a collection of contemporary art and promoting emerging artists. Discover unique and thought-provoking artworks across various mediums, and perhaps even purchase a piece to take home as a souvenir.
41. Les Bateaux du Bassin Rond
Embark on a boat tour along the Bassin Rond, a circular waterway in Douai. Enjoy a relaxing cruise while taking in the scenic views of the city from a different perspective.
42. Douai Chocolate
Image Source: https://www.jeff-de-bruges.com/en/jeff-de-bruges-douai
Indulge your sweet tooth with Douai’s delicious chocolates. Visit local chocolate shops and patisseries to sample a variety of delectable treats, including pralines, truffles, and artisanal chocolate creations.
Places and Things To Do