A small town with a big historyWhen I say that I come from the North of France, most people think of the flatness of its landscape (Which has its own song by a famous Belgian singer), its rainy weather and monotonous rows of brick houses (which I actually find beautiful). This region also carries the heavy past of having been on the front of two world wars, and of the collapsed coal mining industry. Because of this image, most people usually miss out on the hidden gems of this welcoming region, known for the warmth of its inhabitants!
LandscapesEven without any curves, our region has its own beauty. You can recognize each town from afar by its steeple!
The old mine-waste piles are our only hills. Some towns are more creative than others in their exploitation!
It rains quite a bit in Hazebrouck, but it doesn't keep us from having lots of fun, even in the middle of february! The "Festival de la Mi-Carême", in the middle of Lent, is marked by Carnaval!
Every year for Carnaval, our Giant "protectors" parade around town and even perform dances! Each town has its own giants, with their own traditions. In Hazebrouck, they are called: Tisje Tasje, the famous traveling merchant, Toria, his wife, and their children, Babe Tisje and Zoon Tisje.
|The rainy sky also makes for dramatic sunsets.|
|And every year, the town celebrates the "Mongolfiades": an event that sends into the sky all the local hot-air balloon. When I was growing up, the take off happened in the neighbor's field, I was always so fascinated!|
As cultural borders are not limited by political ones, French Flanders are just as famous for their production of beers as Belgium! The best place to enjoy one is a nice, hop-decorated, countryside Estaminet.
Fun facts about Hazebrouck and surroundingsIn 2013, Hazebrouck became the world-record holder for the largest prepared portion of "fries in a cone" (a must-try local delicacy)
While we are talking about food, I may as well mention that bakeries are one of the places I miss the most from home.
The great thing about Hazebrouck is its proximity to many other sites, which are easy to access because of the town's central train station. From there, you can go to Brussels, Paris, London, in less than three hours! My favorite places to visit are Lille, the largest city in the Region, which used to belong to Spain (you can tell by the architecture) and le Cap-Griz-Nez (litteral translation: "Grey Nose Cape"), from which, on a clear day, you can get an impressive view of the English coast, on the other side of the Channel!
|View of England from le Cap-Griz-Nez|