Do you want to tour Arras in 10 essential stages over a weekend with family or friends? From the Belfry to the Boves, from the squares to the museums, from Main Square music festival to the Christmas Market, from shops to the rural banks to the River Scarpe: Arras is the ultimate destination full of surprises, making for a relaxing break less than an hour from Paris.

1. The belfry – Climb up to the balcony of Arras

This is a not-to-be-missed experience if you want to take in the soul of Arras! Included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Belfry offers an unforgettable ascent that will change your viewpoint and reveal a magical panorama over the entire city. Brushing past the clocks (yet forgetting time), feeling the breeze of the Pays d’Artois on your face and hearing the carillon ring out… now that’s something to put the daily grind behind you.

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2. The boves – Enter the depths of Arras

Having risen to a great height, the thrill continues 12 metres below ground! This expedition down into the underground tunnels from the Tourist Office will set your senses tingling. Learn the secrets of the quarrymen who built Arras, meet the ghosts of World War One soldiers, listen to the hubbub of city life above your heads: an experience that really brings you up close with history!

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3. The Squares – Be in the right Place !

Criss-cross the length and breadth of the Place des Héros. Savour the unique atmosphere of the Grand’Place and admire the rows of houses with their Flemish Baroque gables, enjoy your fill of specialities on market days or sample them at the tables of the restaurants under the arcades. Breathe in, admire, enjoy the Squares of Arras… It’s your turn to be their heroes.

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4 – The city centre – A stroll with your eyes peeled

Some will explore the shops to hunt out the andouillette of Arras, Bleu d’Arras porcelain or the famous Chocolate Rat. Others will set off on a discovery of the local heritage (follow the pavement studs!) visiting the Cathedral, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Deco facades or the Citadel… in the centre of Arras, there’s something for everyone!

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5. The Wellington Quarry – A journey through history

Wellington. The name of the capital of New Zealand. A name shared by a quarry in Arras, now a remembrance site and an important testament to the First World War and the Battle of Arras in 1917. You descend into the depths of galleries delved out by New Zealand Tunnellers, which served as a strategic cover in 1917 to conceal 24,000 soldiers of the British Empire. An astonishing visit close to the city centre.

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6. The Place to Beer – Sample local beers

Arras has a prominent place in an Hauts-de-France region known for its brewing tradition. In the city centre, a number of on-trend and welcoming establishments invite you to discover the local beers in all their diversity. It’s a real pleasure to sample a tasty frothy beer against the magical backdrop of the Squares.

For the inquisitive, head to Chez Marcel, Au Comptoir de Fred or the Cellier des Arcades to meet other enthusiasts, take part in workshops and purchase some highly reputed beers. 

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7. The Water Sports Centre – Take the plunge

Looking for water-based adventure? Just a few minutes from the city centre, the Saint-Laurent-Blangy Water Sports Centre offers a range of activities on the River Scarpe: kayaking, canoeing, rafting and hydrospeed; but also mountain biking, archery and orienteering. A great place for unwinding with family and friends.

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8- The Citadel – Breathe in the fresh air, admidst history and nature

Built by Vauban in the seventeenth century, the Citadel of Arras is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. This green heart close to the city centre offers unique walks among its bastions and its unspoilt natural environment. There’s fun for all the family on the Accrobranche treetop adventure circuit. And travel back to Vauban’s times with the Timescope.

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9. The museum of Fine Arts – Gaze and dream

Standing in three hectares of grounds, housed within part of the former Saint-Vaast Abbey and boasting the Cathedral as a neighbour, you will sail among the masterpieces of Arras Museum of Fine Arts as if on an artistic cruise. The Gallery of the Mays and its immense canvases from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris is enough to set your spine tingling. A real artistic frisson!

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10. Cité Nature – Learn and have fun

A not-to-be missed family experience! First, because of its 2,500m2 of permanent exhibition space exploring the environment, foods, the history of agriculture and the history of nutrition. Also because of its magnificent architecture, a former factory repurposed by the architect Jean Nouvel. And finally, because it’s a place to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors: major temporary exhibitions, 15,000m2 of gardens, workshops and activities: there’s always something to do at Cité Nature.

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