The Nord-Pas-de-Calais region hugs the northern coast of France with its 90km of beaches, sand dunes and cliffs stretched between Calais and Berck-sur-Mer. The provincial capital of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is Lille, with its impressive Grand Place in the medieval old town. The coastal towns are the region’s highlights. Calais, 'the most English town in France', lies just 40km across the coast from England whilst other seaside spots to explore include nostalgic Le Touquet, a throwback to the 1920s, the fishing village of Etaples and windswept Wimereux. The historic beaches of Dunkerque and Boulogne-sur-Mer, with its appetising fish restaurants and attractive medieval quarter, also deserve a trip. Away from the coast, Arras is one of the most beautiful towns in northern France, with a towering cathedral, arcaded central squares and the ornate Hotel de Ville. Just 8km north is the Vimy Ridge, site of some of the most desperate WW1 trench combat – preserved as a stark reminder of the tragic loss of life suffered.