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Sightseeing in Arras - what to see. Complete travel guide

Northern France is home to several beautiful cities, and Arras is definitely one of them. The central part of this city is an incredibly picturesque place. In the Middle Ages, this region was famous for its wall carpets with intricate pictures. Rat is still considered the symbol of this city, so it is present in numerous pictures and paintings.
Arras is a city with a rich history full of battles and wars. For centuries, local people couldn’t enjoy peaceful life. Bloody battles for this region were frequent in the past. Roman, Norman, French, Austrian, Spanish, and German conquerors wanted to occupy Arras and surroundings. First swords and then cannons regularly ruined the peaceful lifestyle of local people. Despite this fact, residents of Arras didn’t leave their homeland and continued developing their region even during tough times.
Until the 17th century, Arras was a part of the Spanish kingdom. Later, France could recapture the region. However, many people still think that they have purely Spanish blood. World War I brought devastating damages to the infrastructure of the city and almost completely ruined it. The following World War II also didn’t have mercy on Arras. The city was almost completely ruined. However, Arras was slowly recovering and rebuilding, turning into an incredibly charming place. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Despite the fact that the city is not big, there are many charming cafes and restaurants here. Many of them offer national cuisine, but fans of pizza will easily find cozy pizzerias that offer a broad range of various dishes. Do you like to pamper yourself with a glass of the amber-colored foamy drink? In this case, don’t forget to visit the La Coupole beer house, an old pub that has been open on this site for ages. La Coupole is famous for its delicious beer with seafood snacks. Moreover, this is a charming establishment with stained-glass windows.
Arras was fully rebuilt after two world wars. First of all, local people reconstructed two main squares of the city, the Main Square and Heroes Square. They date back to the 17th century. Having taken a stroll in the historical center of the city, tourists can see more than a hundred and half houses in Spanish and Flemish styles.
Heroes Square draws the attention of tourists because of a majestic monument of the past – the town hall. The building regularly hosts the exhibition dedicated to local photographers who lived during the war times. They display their works and photographs of the city during and after battles. The city’s authorities make sure these photographs are stored in optimal conditions so that they retain their original look. When looking at them, visitors can learn more about the “scariest” period in the life of Arras. The town hall also displays dolls used in various festivals and celebrations that regularly take place in the city.
The three-story museum of fine arts is located not far from the Main Square. The first floor of the venue is dedicated to archaeological findings, medieval art, and old tombstones. The second floor is an exhibition hall that displays the 18th-century paintings of the Dutch and Flemish schools. Finally, the third floor is the place where visitors can see paintings of the 19th century’s French artists. There are many beautiful landscape paintings here. The museum exhibits many precious works of such renowned painters as Rubens, Le Brun, Watteau, and Delacroix.
The citadel of Vauban is one more attraction in Arras that tourists should visit during their stay in the city. The design of this structure is an excellent example of the military architecture of the 17th century. There was a moat around the citadel where horses of the army drank water. The purpose of the citadel was to protect the city from invaders, but it had a bad position and didn’t really serve its purpose. That is why local people informally call the citadel “the useless beauty” (la belle inutile). Despite this, the Citadel of Arras is an important landmark and a heritage site nowadays. Tourists from all over the world come to see this gorgeous fortification.
It is most comfortable to reach Arras from the capital of France, Paris. There are many trains that connect these two cities. Moreover, it is possible to buy tickets for high-speed trains. In this case, the train ride will last only fifty minutes. It is cheaper to travel by bus but the time in transit will be longer in this case – up to three hours. There is one more way to reach Arras – from Brussels. The train ride lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. It will take five hours to reach Arras from Brussels by bus.
Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Arras
♥   Castle 'Château de Olhain' Pas-de-Calais, 20.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Montmonrency' Nord, 30.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Péronne' Somme, 40 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Château de Wineck' Bas-Rhin, 50.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'La Royère Castle' , 55.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Arras
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Scarpe-Escaut' , 50.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Avesnois' , 73.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Caps et marais d’Opale' , 79.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Oise-Pays de France' , 124 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Regional Nature Park 'Vexin français' , 148.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Arras and around
♥   Art museum 'Louvre-Lens' Lens, 15.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Arras from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Undergrounds of Naur

From the series “Unbelievable Underground Mini-Cities”
This city was found in the end of the 19th century. The researchers have found there a quite complex system of underground streets, squares and galleries. The whole area of the underground tunnels goes up to 2 kilometers. They are located 33 meters under the ground. There were found a lot of interesting buildings, one of them is an old church. Also, the researchers have cleared up that all city buildings were built by human force. Since the Medieval times, the Undergrounds of Naur had been covered with black legends, some people thought that this is an Aceldama. All these legends are connected with that fact that conquerors couldn’t understand where people went in just a few minutes. And how they knew that the conquerors were coming. … Read further
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Sightseeing in regions nearby Arras

All about Arras, France - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Arras, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Arras in few days.
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