A history that defines us

The entire history of France seems to be concentrated here (in the north),” esteemed French historian Jules Michelet said. A look at the DNA of Hauts-de-France reveals that part of the French soul was forged in this region. Even the French language was officially recognised here – in the town of Villers-Cotterets – in 1539. From Charlemagne to De Gaulle, the people of this region march in the footsteps of famous historical figures who embodied the values of the land – values and ideals that still inspire locals and visitors alike today. It’s a region rich in skills and know-how that have been passed down over generations. Hauts-de-France has a fascinating and timeless story to tell.

Understand how French history was forged here

From Senlis, the “city of kings”, and “Imperial” Compiègne to the Industrial Revolution of the 20th century, there are many chapters of French history to be discovered here. It’s a history that is retold in chateaux and palaces, and in Gothic cathedrals built by celebrated artisans and masons. You can find it in belfries – towers that are local symbols of freedom – and in the region’s surprising Art Deco and Flemish architecture. Be taken in by a turbulent past and traditional celebrations that combine to showcase the best of the north of France.

Discover Hauts-de-France heritage and history