That in part explains how the father of France’s 5th Republic was shaped during the formative years he spent in Lille in the home of his maternal grandparents. That house, at 9 rue Princesse, is now a carefully curated museum that showcases the spirit of the place and the man. Beyond Lille, Charles de Gaulle travelled throughout the north at different times of his life, including Arras, where he started his military career, joining the 33rd Infantry Regiment in 1909 to complete his compulsory national service. Time and again he returned to Arras, where a plaque outside 16 rue du 29 Julliet marks his time living there between 1912 and 1914. He also travelled extensively through Aisne, the Somme and the north’s mining basin. He spent time on the Opal coast – his favourite family holiday destination – as well as in Calais, which was his wife Yvonne’s hometown. A statue now immortalises the couple’s ties with the city.