© Arras, Le Beffroi | Office de Tourisme Arras Pays d'Artois - Ama66

Climb to the top of our belfries

23 belfries that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites –and the familiar sounds of their carillon bells continue to permeate the lives of the people of the region.

Northern France _Calais _ Belfry © Frederik AstierNorthern France _Calais _ Belfry © Frederik Astier
©Northern France, Calais, Belfry |Frederik Astier

The Arras belfry, the favourite French monument in 2015

The Gothic revival belfry in Arras has had an eventful history. It stands 250 feet tall (75 metres) and is topped with a glistening crown on which a golden lion stands in homage to Charles V. Built under Philippe le Bon, the Duke of Bur, it was almost a century before it was completed in 1554. It was fully reconstructed using modern techniques and materials after it was destroyed during World War I, its tower rebuilt from cut stone using a reinforced concrete structure. Sandstone from the original building was reused wherever possible during the restoration.

A bird’s eye view

History aside, the Arras belfry is – above all else – a place to find a moment of peace. To get a feel for the town, nothing can beat climbing the 40 steps from the elevator to arrive at a breath-taking view. Gaze out over the famous Place des Héros with its famous 155 Flemish Baroque facades. Farther afield is the peaceful green, blue and white countryside that stretches all the way around to Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, the world’s largest French military cemetery. The final resting place of more than 42,000 soldiers, it is also home to the stunning Ring of Remembrance, a remarkable open-air memorial that is engraved with the names of 580,000 men whose graves are unknown.

When you are surrounded by this history and by these views, hearing the 40 bells of the carillon feels very special.

Local's tip

Virginie BuyseVirginie Buyse
Taste the heart of Arras in all its forms

The Cœur d’Arras – “the heart of Arras” – is a local specialty. There are three different types: cheese, chocolate and biscuit. Coming in the shape of a heart, these local specialties are specially made for la fête des rats – the festival of rats. Taking place each year during Pentecost, the festival remembers how the French liberated Arras from the Spanish in 1640. You can find the cheese version everywhere – and especially at La Prairie, a cheese shop near the town hall. Chocolate lovers should head to the Place des Héros for the chocolatier Trogneux and Thibaut, a pâtisserie. Thibaut also stocks the biscuit version, as does Petite Maison d’Arras on rue des Trois Visages.

Virginie BUYSE, greeter and expert on where to go and what to see in Arras
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Useful info

Address

Place des Héros

F-62000 ARRAS

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 51 26 95

www.arraspaysdartois.com

Address

Office de Tourisme, Place Henri Billiaert

F-59380 BERGUES

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 28 68 71 06

www.ot-hautsdeflandre.fr

Address

4 rue Eugène-François Vidocq

F-62000 ARRAS

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 50 05 95

 

Address

66 place des Héros

F-62000 ARRAS

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 50 05 95

www.trogneux.fr

Address

50 place des Héros

F-62000 ARRAS

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 71 53 20

 

Address

11 rue des 3 Visages

F-62000 ARRAS

Contact

Tel: +33 (0)3 21 22 54 25