Beautiful Towns, Villages and Cities in Hauts de France

We invite you to read everything you need about organizing a trip and to know which are the most beautiful towns & villages in Hauts de France. Hauts de France is the result of the merger of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais. It therefore extends from Île-de-France to the shores of the North Sea and the English Channel. Very marked by the history of the 20th century, it is rich in an extraordinary cultural heritage.

However, this territory is not only characterized by its unusual past. Indeed, it has a most interesting natural heritage. It takes shape, for example, through multiple wild reserves and national parks. If you want to spend a vacation by the sea or surrounded by nature, don’t hesitate to explore Hauts-de-France. From Picardy to Nord-Pas-de-Calais, you can recharge your batteries in villages and admire remarkable sites. It is therefore an ideal place for nature and discovery enthusiasts. So, here are the most beautiful towns & villages in Hauts de France for your stay in the region.


1. Hesdin

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Located in Pas-de-Calais, the town of Hesdin is an ancient medieval town known for its extraordinary landscapes and natural spaces. It is located in the heart of the country of the Seven Valleys, which is considered the green lung of Pas-de-Calais, thanks to the omnipresence of preserved forests. A hike in the forest is therefore in order, you will get your fill of fresh air and you will be able to admire impressive fauna and flora. Back in the village, don’t miss the Belfry of Hesdin, and wander the streets to discover magnificent architecture typical of the north of France, without forgetting to taste the local specialties in one of the village’s restaurants.


2. Gerberoy

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Designated among the most beautiful villages in France, Gerberoy is located in the heart of Picardy, and it is well worth the detour. You won’t be able to resist the charm of this town with its cobbled streets, cob houses, and colorful half-timbered timbers, its intoxicating roses and wisteria which adorn the facades of the buildings. A typically Picardy landscape and a real postcard setting that invites you to take poetic walks. So take the time to visit this village suspended in time, and admire in particular the ramparts, the Charlemagne tower, the gardens, and the vineyards. You will also have the opportunity to discover essential local products and to sit down in one of the best and most renowned restaurants in the region.


3. Pierrefonds

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We return to the Oise where you can discover the beautiful village of Pierrefonds. The latter houses a magnificent fortified castle dating from the 14th century, classified as a historic monument. The castle was built by Duke Louis of Orléans and was reduced to ruins in the 17th century before the reconstruction was ordered by Napoleon 3, who decided to entrust this project to the architect Eugène Viollet- the Duke. The history and architecture of the castle are therefore worth the detour, so plan half a day, or even a day, to visit this jewel of history. But once the visit is over, plan a walk in the streets of Pierrefonds, take a tour in particular of the Saint-Sulpice Church, as well as the Pierrefonds lake. The village also has a few restaurants which serve local specialties with local products, don’t forget to reserve a table to taste them.


4. Le Crotoy and the Bay of Somme

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On the banks of the English Channel, Le Crotoy is an irresistible and bright seaside resort, very famous in Hauts-de-France. In the heart of the village, you will find many pleasant shops and restaurants that you absolutely must discover, as well as the Saint-Pierre Church, the fishing port, and the charming streets whose architecture impresses at first glance of eye. But the essential part of Crotoy is certainly the discovery of natural spaces because the village is located in the heart of the Bay of Somme, known for its beaches and natural parks which have inspired many including Manessier, Jules Verne, Sisley but also Seurat. You can in particular plan a canoe excursion to admire the bay and enjoy a peaceful moment, take a carriage ride along the beach, but above all plan a day in the Marquenterre Park, which is adjacent to the town of Crotoy. Between land and sea, this park made up of marshes, dunes, and reed beds is a preserved space that shelters unique landscapes and extraordinary natural riches. It is a privileged place to admire nature and observe birds and plant species.


5. Wimereux

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Located in Pas-de-Calais on the banks of the English Channel, Wimereux is the oldest seaside resort on the Opal Coast. It must be said that this charming little town has everything to please: a true architectural gem thanks to the presence of Belle Epoque buildings and villas, it is also at the heart of a natural site which is the Caps et Marais d’A regional natural park. Opal. A nice walk on the beach will therefore be a priority to admire the architecture of the city and enjoy the fresh air but don’t forget to go to the Fort de la Crèche. You will have the opportunity to go to painting galleries and enjoy the many activities offered by the town. The city offers a wide variety of water sports, such as sand yachting, winking, stand-up paddle, giant sup, longshore, or even horse riding on the beach.


6. Montreuil-sur-Mer

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Charm both old-fashioned and bucolic, Montreuil-sur-Mer offers you a timeless break, inland, near the busy beaches of the seaside resorts of the Opal Coast. You can stroll along the walkway of the medieval ramparts of the Citadel, remodeled by Vauban, with a superb view of the Canche and the streets lined with 18th-century hotels. If you are surprised to see tributes to Victor Hugo very often, it is because he drew his inspiration from it to write the first part of “Les Misérables”. Lovers of traditions will undoubtedly love this village in Hauts-de-France. Indeed, Montreuil-sur-Mer is one of the most influential municipalities in its department. It is located in Pas-de-Calais and is characterized by architecture typical of the region. In particular, you can admire its fabulous half-timbered houses. However, it also has impressive biodiversity and exceptional flora. On the banks of the Canche, it is indeed home to many endemic species. Also, you can enjoy its astonishing green gardens during your visit to its famous 16th-century citadel. A magnificent place to discover without delay!


7. Maroilles

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It is here that the famous eponymous and emblematic cheese of the region was born. Along the Helpe River, the village of Maroilles is not only known for its culinary specialties. It is home to several historical and religious monuments worth a detour during a visit to Hauts-de-France. Among them, the superb church of Saint-Humbert, built in 1735, as well as the Abbey of Maroilles dating from the 9th century. Geographic origin of the eponymous cheese, this village in Hauts-de-France is a must in the region. Running along the Helpe River, it is not only characterized by its gastronomic heritage. Indeed, it has magnificent historical and religious monuments. Culture lovers will be able to discover the city’s famous abbey, but also the sumptuous Saint-Humbert church.


8. Audresselles

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On the Opal Coast, this Hauts-de-France village boasts exceptional wildlife. In addition to its magnificent coastal landscapes, it attracts many nature enthusiasts. On its charming pebble beaches, you can come across multiple endemic species. While strolling, you might encounter majestic gray herons, splendid cormorants, or pretty sea swallows. Also, culture lovers will appreciate the astonishing architecture of the city center.


9. Liessie

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In the heart of the Avesnois regional park, this Hauts-de-France village is renowned for its natural setting. It is indeed home to one of the richest biodiversity in the Nord department. A few kilometers from the Belgian border, this town is a favorite haven for nature enthusiasts. Its green flora and exceptional fauna make it one of the most astonishing hamlets in France!


10. Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme

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This village in Hauts-de-France is also part of a magnificent regional park. In the heart of the flourishing nature of the Baie de Somme park, its atypical architecture will charm you. It is also full of sumptuous medieval remains, such as the tower in which Joan of Arc would have been detained. Travelers can also visit the fabulous Saint-Martin church, from the 13th century. But they will also be able to discover the Abbey of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, the oldest in the Diocese of Amiens! It is therefore an ideal place for history and culture enthusiasts.


11. Ambleteuse

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Near the famous Cap Gris-Nez, this village in Hauts-de-France is a renowned seaside resort. Facing the British coast, which can be seen on a clear day, it has always had a strategic military location. It was notably used by powerful sovereigns and historical figures like Napoleon, during certain Franco-English conflicts. It therefore preserves multiple vestiges of these eras. You can, for example, visit the famous Ambleteuse fort, which dates from the 17th century. It was built under Louis XIV and is one of the most emblematic monuments of the Renaissance. Thus, the town is ideal for better discovering the history of the region, in the heart of a magnificent place.


12. Wissant

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A renowned seaside resort, this village in Hauts-de-France is a must. Its magnificent bay opens onto the English Channel and its atypical coastline. It is a particularly peaceful town, which has nevertheless suffered from the ravages of time. During the First World War, it suffered multiple fires. However, it retains its rich cultural heritage and its magnificent monuments. It is also a favorite place for lovers of gastronomy. Indeed, it is one of the last stranding ports in the region, where sailors sell their fish and shellfish. On Wednesday morning, you have to go directly to the seafront to be able to buy the latest arrivals. There’s nothing like learning to cook local specialties yourself, and discovering the region’s traditions!


13. Bergues

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Your visit will be punctuated by the refrains of the belfry, reminding you of the cult scenes from the film that highlighted the conviviality and simplicity of the people of the North. A moment of unparalleled contemplation if you climb the 206 steps of the belfry which leads to the 50 bells of the carillon. An exceptional view of the stretching countryside will be offered to you and the fragrant scents of the estaminets which smell of Flemish cuisine.


14. Parfondeval

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Visiting Parfondeval means unlocking the secrets of one of the most beautiful villages in France. Nestled on a carpet of greenery, a real invitation to stroll between the authenticity of an intact rural heritage and a natural setting. Small pond on the village square, red brick houses with slate roofs, typical of Thiérache, a wash house, a Protestant temple, and a break of tranquility in the green made up of pastures, apple orchards, bocages… Cross the porch of the Saint-Médard church to discover the history of fortified churches, these medieval fortresses.


Hauts de France – Most Beautiful Towns, Villages and Cities

  • Hesdin
  • Gerberoy
  • Pierrefonds
  • Le Crotoy and the Bay of Somme
  • Wimereux
  • Montreuil-sur-Mer
  • Maroilles
  • Audresselles
  • Liessie
  • Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme
  • Ambleteuse
  • Wissant
  • Bergues
  • Parfondeval