Valenciennes is a charming city located in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. It boasts a rich history, vibrant culture, and a range of exciting attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Valenciennes:
1. Grand Place
Start your exploration of Valenciennes at the Grand Place, the city’s central square. Admire the beautiful architecture of the surrounding buildings, including the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Théâtre d’Arenberg. The square is also home to various cafes and restaurants, making it a perfect spot to relax and soak in the atmosphere.
2. Musée des Beaux-Arts
Art enthusiasts should not miss a visit to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Housed in a former Carmelite convent, this museum showcases an impressive collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 15th to the 20th century. It features works by renowned artists like Rubens, Delacroix, and Rodin.
3. Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon
Valenciennes is known for its religious heritage, and the Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon is a must-visit landmark. This beautiful Gothic-style cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is renowned for its stunning stained glass windows and intricate architecture. Climb to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views of the city.
4. Serres Numériques
For a unique and interactive experience, head to Serres Numériques. Located in the Parc de la Rhônelle, this futuristic greenhouse combines nature and technology, featuring innovative digital installations and interactive exhibits. It’s a great place for families and anyone interested in the intersection of art, science, and nature.
5. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes
This art museum is located in a former convent, and it houses a diverse collection of artworks spanning several centuries. Visitors can explore paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 15th to the 20th century, including works by famous artists like Rubens, Delacroix, and Rodin.
6. Maison de la Photographie
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Photography enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Maison de la Photographie. This museum celebrates the art of photography, showcasing a variety of exhibitions that highlight different genres and techniques. It also hosts workshops and events for those looking to deepen their knowledge and skills.
7. Local Cuisine
Valenciennes is known for its delicious local cuisine, and a visit to the city is incomplete without trying some traditional dishes. Indulge in local specialties like “le Potjevleesch” (a meat terrine), “les moules-frites” (mussels with fries), and “la tarte au sucre” (sugar pie). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of local beer or wine.
8. Shopping in the City Center
Valenciennes offers a variety of shopping opportunities, especially in the city center. Explore the pedestrian streets lined with shops, boutiques, and department stores, where you can find everything from fashion and accessories to local products and souvenirs.
9. Festivals and Events
Valenciennes hosts a range of lively festivals and events throughout the year. One notable event is the Carnaval de Valenciennes, a vibrant carnival celebrated with parades, music, costumes, and street parties. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the local culture and join in the festivities.
10. Maison Espagnole
Image Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maison_espagnole_de_Revin
Step back in time at the Maison Espagnole, a historic building that showcases the city’s Spanish heritage. Built in the 16th century, this house features a beautiful courtyard and exhibits that explore the influence of Spanish culture in Valenciennes.
11. Stade du Hainaut
Sports enthusiasts should catch a match or take a stadium tour at the Stade du Hainaut. This modern stadium is home to Valenciennes Football Club and offers a vibrant atmosphere during games. If there are no matches scheduled, you can still visit the stadium and learn about its architecture and design.
12. Parc de la Rhônelle
Enjoy the outdoors at Parc de la Rhônelle, a picturesque park that spans over 33 hectares. The park features lush gardens, walking paths, a lake, and even a mini zoo with various animals. It’s a perfect place to relax, have a picnic, or go for a leisurely bike ride.
13. Saint-Géry Church
Visit the Saint-Géry Church, a striking example of Gothic architecture. This historic church dates back to the 14th century and is known for its beautiful stained glass windows and intricate stone carvings. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquility and architectural grandeur of this religious site.
14. Explore the Citadel
Image Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadelle_de_Valenciennes
Valenciennes is home to a well-preserved citadel that dates back to the 17th century. Take a walk around the fortifications and admire the bastions, moats, and gates that once defended the city. The Citadel now houses various institutions and green spaces, making it an interesting place to explore.
15. Canal de l’Escaut
Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike and enjoy a ride along the scenic Canal de l’Escaut. This waterway offers picturesque views and a peaceful atmosphere, providing an ideal setting for a relaxing afternoon excursion.
16. Le Phénix
Catch a performance at Le Phénix, Valenciennes’ modern theater and performing arts center. The venue hosts a diverse range of shows, including theater, dance, music, and more. Check the program during your visit to see what captivating performances are being offered.
17. Local Markets
Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the markets in Valenciennes. The city offers various markets, such as the Place Verte Market, where you can find fresh produce, local specialties, and unique artisanal products.
18. Maison Folie
Explore the Maison Folie, a cultural center housed in a former textile factory. This innovative space hosts exhibitions, concerts, performances, and workshops, showcasing contemporary art and culture. It’s a hub for creativity and a great place to immerse yourself in the local arts scene.
19. Sainte-Catherine Chapel
Pay a visit to the Sainte-Catherine Chapel, a hidden gem tucked away in Valenciennes. This 17th-century chapel features beautiful Baroque architecture and ornate decorations. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquility and historical significance of this charming religious site.
20. La Corderie
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Visit La Corderie, a former rope factory turned cultural space. This industrial building now hosts art exhibitions, performances, and events, offering a glimpse into Valenciennes’ industrial past and its vibrant present-day cultural scene.
21. Golf de Valenciennes
Golf enthusiasts can indulge in a round of golf at Golf de Valenciennes. This 18-hole course offers a scenic and challenging experience for both beginners and experienced players. Enjoy the green fairways and beautiful views as you tee off in the countryside.
22. Centre Place d’Armes
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Shopaholics will enjoy a visit to Centre Place d’Armes, a modern shopping center located in the heart of Valenciennes. Browse through a wide range of stores, boutiques, and department stores, offering fashion, accessories, electronics, and more.
23. Canal Boat Ride
Experience Valenciennes from a different perspective by taking a boat ride along the Canal de l’Escaut. Hop on a canal boat and leisurely cruise along the waterway, enjoying the scenic views and the tranquil ambiance.
24. La Piscine
If you’re interested in swimming or water activities, head to La Piscine. This aquatic center offers various pools, water slides, and a wellness area with saunas and Jacuzzis. It’s a great place to cool off and have some fun with family or friends.
25. Le Phare
Catch a live performance or concert at Le Phare, Valenciennes’ modern performance venue. This multi-purpose complex hosts a wide range of events, including music concerts, theatrical productions, dance performances, and more. Check the schedule to see what’s on during your visit.
26. Le Beffroi
Climb the Beffroi, Valenciennes’ belfry tower, for panoramic views of the city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a unique perspective of Valenciennes and its surroundings. Admire the cityscape, take photos, and learn about the history and significance of this iconic tower.
27. Museé du Jouet et de la Nostalgie
Visit the Toy and Nostalgia Museum, a charming museum dedicated to vintage toys and childhood memorabilia. Explore the extensive collection of toys, games, and nostalgic objects that evoke a sense of nostalgia and wonder. It’s a delightful experience for both children and adults.
28. Valenciennes Street Art
Take a self-guided tour around Valenciennes to discover its vibrant street art scene. The city is adorned with colorful murals, graffiti, and artistic interventions that add a creative and contemporary touch to its urban landscape. Explore the streets and alleys to find hidden gems of urban art.
29. Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Musée du Dessin et de l’Estampe Originale. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of drawings and original prints from various artists. Admire the intricate details, diverse techniques, and artistic expressions on display.
30. Valenciennes Markets
Immerse yourself in the local culture and flavors by visiting the bustling markets of Valenciennes. The city hosts regular markets where you can find fresh produce, regional products, crafts, and more. Engage with the locals, taste local specialties, and discover the vibrant market atmosphere.
Places and Things To Do