Atout France

Bonjour Neighbour!

A new week, a new reality but something remains the same: France will always (always!) be there, ready to welcome you - just a little hop across the channel.

Less than 3 hours away from London by car (in case you wish to fill your boot with French wines and goodies), by bike or by train, lies a world of cultural, foodie, historical, adventurous wonders. Here is just a taster of some of the great ideas in Northern France for your next short break.

We assume you already saw our ‘What’s new in France for 2020?’ press release distributed in our previous newsletter, on our blog FranceUncovered or even on our twitter account @AtoutFranceUKPR? Just in case, here it is again.
Just get in touch with us for more information at
Thank you,
The Atout France press team

Throughout 2020
1h22 by Eurostar from London

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The World Design Capital (WDC) is handpicked every two years by the World Design Organisation, to recognise a city’s innovative use of design to strengthen economic, social, cultural and environmental development. The WDC provides a platform to showcase best practices in design-led urban innovation in different domains including public transport, tourism, sustainable infrastructure, etc. Following Mexico City in 2018, Lille Metropole is taking over in 2020 and is the first French city to become World Design Capital.

The new addition to La Machine Company launched in January 2020
1h00 by Eurostar from London

Freed from the subterranean worlds, the ‘Dragon of Calais’ is heading for the city. This giant dragon was conceived by La Machine de Nantes and built by La Machine Company, and has since January carried visitors through town and along the seafront. By 2023, other fantastic creatures will be descending on Calais to create a unique urban universe. A permanent creation, the dragon is 15 metres high and able to transport up to 60 passengers at a time.

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Drive a bit further to celebrate...

Throughout 2020

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A whole year of celebrations honours this jewel of Gothic architecture, listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The cathedral was built in the 12th century and is one of the largest and most complete churches in France. The eighth centenary of this emblematic monument is a major cultural event organised by the City of Amiens and Amiens Métropole. Numerous festivities under the patronage of the President of the French Republic marks this special anniversary, most notably the sound and light show ‘Chroma’, which will be enhanced with a brand new display!

A 'behind the scenes tour' of Europe's largest aquarium
2h30 by car from London

After a major extension which opened in May 2018, Nausicaá is now the largest aquarium in Europe. The 10,000-sqm extension is home to an immersive visitor experience called ‘Journey on the High Seas’ which includes a vast tank, 22,000 new sea creatures and an 18-metre-long transparent tunnel. Visitors are now able to book a new ‘behind the scenes tour’ with an English-speaking guide to learn more about the technical challenges of looking after the largest tank in Europe, and how keepers are trained to take care of the animals.

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ARRAS & The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The CWGC has opened its first visitor centre near Arras
2h45 by car from Dover with ferry crossing

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Since 2019, visitors to the battlefields of Northern France can now gain a fascinating insight into the work of CWGC extraordinary international organisation as it opened its first visitor centre in Beaurains, near Arras. For the first time visitors are able to see the Commission’s team of skilled craftsman at work (blacksmiths, stonemasons, carpenters, horticulturists etc.), taking a tour of their workshops and observing them as they continue their century long task of caring for some of the world’s most impressive and recognisable monuments and memorials.