Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Archaeology & History Sites in Pas-de-Calais

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is situated on the highest point of Vimy Ridge – the site of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which took place from 9 to 12 April in 1917. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the battle and the Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, as well as those Canadians killed in France during WWI with no known grave. Besides the striking memorial, nearly 40 m high, the memorial site has also preserved parts of the battlefields, including trenches and craters. Visitors can take guided tours of the preserved underground tunnels. A visitor centre outlines the relevance of the site, its history and its significance for Canadians today.

Commonwealth War Graves Experience, Arras

In the town of Beaurains, on the edge of Arras, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has their principal workshop, from where British and Commonwealth cemeteries and memorials around the world are maintained. In the Visitor Centre, open to all, free of charge, a series of permanent exhibits explore every facet of the work of the CWGC, from finding bodies who fell during the two World Wars, to the caring for individual gravestones in cemeteries around the world. As well as the exhibits, windows on the workshops allow visitors to see craftspeople performing their work.

Éperlecques Bunker

The Blockhaus d’Éperlecques was built by Nazi Germany between March 1943 and July 1944 intended to launch V-2 ballistic missiles from France to London. The bunker was built using prisoners of war and other forced labour. It was designed to launch 36 missiles per day. Aerial attacks from the Allies meant the construction was disrupted and it was never completed to be used for launching missiles. Éperlecques was captured from the Germans in September 1944, but it was not until much later was the true purpose of the bunker revealed. An interesting audio tour guides visitors on a present path through the facility.

Fraternisations Monument

Close to a spot where  French Corporal wrote of the fraternisations between French and German soldiers during WWI is a monument that commemorates these acts of humanity that took place in the midst of inhumane conditions. As they took place, the soldiers knew they would be condemned, it is poignant that there is now a place where such acts are memorialised. Using first-hand accounts and contemporary art, information panels and virtual reality installations tell the many stories of the so-called fraternisations that took place during World War One, particularly on Christmas Eve of 191 and the 1915 winter floods.

Notre Dame de Lorette Necropolis

A prominent hill top with, like Vimy Ridge, commanding views over the surrounding flat countryside was an important natural landmark for a number of battles in 1914 and 1915. What was a temporary cemetery for the French soldiers who fell in the battles of Artois has become France’s largest national necropolis. In 1919 it was decided that the bodies of French servicemen killed in the Flanders-Artois region, who lay buried in 150 different cemeteries, would be reinterred here. Over 42,000 soldiers are buried here. At the centre of the cemetery stands a memorial tower and a basilica.

Ring of Remembrance

An extraordinary circular memorial to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais Departments of France between 1914 and 1918. Over 580,000 names are inscribed on the monument. Their names are listed alphabetically, without favour to rank, position, gender, religion or nationality. The elliptical structure has a circumference of 345 m, 56 of which are suspended above ground. Each aspect of the memorial has a symbolic significance of coming together in peace and international brotherhood.

Museums & Art Galleries in Pas-de-Calais

History Centre Memorial 14 - 18

Among the Battlefields of Souchez stands the striking museum of black concrete and glass. The black cubes are intended to be reminiscent of blockhouses. Don’t be put off by the austere architecture, the museum uses state-of-the-art techniques to tell the harrowing story of the First World War. Focussing on the Nord and Pas-de-Calais areas, the exhibits draw on a range of historical artefacts, high-quality photos and contemporary film footage. A number of digital, interactive maps allow an understanding of the sheer scale of the conflict in this part of France.