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Arras, the capital of Artois, is renowed for its tapestries of the late Middle Ages. The town is very busy and there is a lot to see in the centre the flemish style houses and shops.
Arras (Pas-de Calais) mini guide
Arras became one of the richest towns in medieval Europe thanks to its dynamic merchants and its thriving international markets, held on its huge squares. Among the luxuries produced in town were fine tapestries, exported across Europe – one even features as a celebrated, fatal stage prop in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Central Arras looks so much the historic part, so well restored, that it is hard to imagine the war damage from which it suffered.
The town spent its accumulated wealth on its 16th century Gothic town hall - Hôtel de Ville (rebuilt in a slightly less grandiose style after the war) and on adorning its two squares, the Grand' Place and the Place des Heros, with the dignified Flemish gabled houses. Beneath it all run the extensive cellars which sheltered the citizenry during the devastating bombardments of World War I. Many of the town’s 16th century houses that surrounded the squares were destroyed.
The original cathedral of Arras, constructed between 1030 and 1396, was one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in northern France. It was destroyed in the French Revolution.
Many of Arras's most notable structures, including the museum and several government buildings, occupy the site of the old Abbaye de Saint-Vaast. The abbey's church was demolished and rebuilt in fashionable classical style in 1833, and now serves as the town's cathedral. The design was chosen by the one-time Abbot of St Vaast, the Cardinal de Rohan, and is stark in its simplicity, employing a vast number of perpendicular angles.
The abbey now houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts which contains a motley collection of paintings, including a couple of Jordaens and Brueghels, fragments of sculpture and local porcelain. Only one of the tapestries or arras that made the town famous in medieval times survived the world war bombardments. In the 14th and 15th centuries Arras was a thriving textile town. The industry specialised in fine wool tapestries which were sold to decorate palaces and castles all over Europe.
The Vimy Memorial is a memorial just north of the town commemorating a major World War I battle, the Battle of Vimy Ridge won by the Canadian army, the only victory the Allies would enjoy during their 1917 spring offensive. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the broader Allied offensive in April known as the Battle of Arras. The Basilica of Notre Dame de Lorette, overlooking the nearby village of Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, likewise stands before one of France's largest World War I necropolises.
CWGC Cemetery and Memorials memorial to the Flying Services including the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force (RNFS, RFC and RAF) from the World War I. The flight of doves on the globe at the top of the memorial, follows the exact path of the sun on Armistice day: 11 November 1918.
There is a growing brewing industry in the Region with a number of local firms producing something more interesting than some of the bland blondes that you so often find in bars.
In spring the local breweries produce what is known as a Bière de Mars which in older times would have been the first brew of the season. They are first mentioned in the Annals of Arras in 1394.
The Cellier des Arcades between the two Places is an excellent location to seek out something a bit different. They also sell bar towels, glasses (Every beer should be served in its own glass) and other items.
|Department:||North East France > Nord Pas de Calais >|
|Location:||Arras is located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais department in the region of North-Calais in France.|
Arras is on the TGV Nord rail line and high-speed and standard go to Paris' Gare du Nord, Amiens, Calais-Ville and Lille-Flandres. To get to Arras by Train from the UK you can take the Eurostar to Lille before changing platforms for the 30-minute journey to Arras by TGV
Arras has no direct flights from Britain so to get to Arras by air you will need to fly via Brussels and take the train or go to Beauvais-Tillé airport, about 75km southwest of Arras,
If travelling by car the A26 motorway will get you to Arras from the coast.
|Tourist information website:||http://www.ville-arras.fr/|
|Tourist information contact email:||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Tourist information switch board number:||+33 (0)3 21 51 26 95|
|Tourist information address:||Arras Tourist Information Office, Arras Town Hall, Place des Héros, 62000 Arras|
|Quick links to accommodation:||Accommodation near Arras (Pas-de Calais) - Hotels in Arras (Pas-de Calais)|
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