Spotlight on Arras

January 18, 2017



This quaint French town invites you in with winding countryside roads, leading you into the architecturally fascinating centre.

Many of the buildings are a stunning Flemish design, stacked side to side as if each is imperative in holding up the next.

Arras played a vital role in both World Wars, hiding the British soldiers in its labyrinth of underground tunnels. Many of the beautiful buildings you’ll find were remade to replicate the wooden buildings which stood before they were damaged during the World Wars.

This hidden French gem is a fascinating cornucopia of beauty, culture and heritage.

Things to do

  • It’s almost an impossibility to visit Arras without finding yourself in the centre of either of the town’s sublime squares. One feeds into the other, echoing the underground tunnels that live beneath them. The Grand Place is certainly the more famous of the two squares. The latter is Heroes Square. Smaller but just as beautiful.
  • The gothic town hall is a must-see. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, climb the hall’s 75 metre tall Bell Tower for panoramic views. Head back in the evening to see it beautifully lit up against the night’s sky.
  • The sobering Wellington Tunnels Museum allows you to journey through the underground routes taken by the soldiers of the two world wars. The museum stores many interesting items which give an honest idea of the experiences of the soldiers in Arras.
  • Arras Cathedral is another building nearly destroyed in the Wars. Built with a classical structure, it is an interesting contrast to the Gothic design of the Town Hall.
  • The stunning surrounding landscape transports you away from any substantial civilisation. Picture quiet chateaus, farmhouse and churches, with vast, vibrant fields and woodland.
  • Take the 1.9km walking trail, aptly named the ‘Heart of the Town’, and make sure you don’t miss a thing.

What to eat

  • For a gourmet experience, La Faisanderie should be your first stop. In the Michelin Guide 2016, this restaurant is housed in the cellars of a 17th century building.
  • If it’s a burger and fries you fancy, Me & You is a wonderfully modern American diner. Perfect to hit that deep fried spot.
  • For anyone with a sweet tooth, visit Glaces Ruiz. Expect beautifully decorated cakes and rich ice cream!
  • Go local on Wednesdays, Thursdays and weekends at the market. Pick up a fresh baguette, some local meats and cheeses and head to Jardin du Gouverneur for a picnic.

What to drink

  • Studio 54 is fantastically chic. Head underground for their range of cocktails and nibbles.
  • If it’s a pub you’re looking for, Baramousses comes well recommended for its range of beers.
  • Les Trois Fruts is a cosy coffee shop for you to have a rest after a day of exploring. Order the hot chocolate and be amazed at the mountain of whipped cream atop it.


How to get there

Arras is only 1 hour 10 minutes from Calais. Jump on our 90 minute ferry from Dover and you’ll be there before you know it.

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