() is a commune
in the Nord department
in northern France
. It is situated in the maritime plain of northern France, at the heart of a triangle formed by Dunkirk
, and Saint-Omer
Rich in history, there are a large number of historic sites to see, such as the former jail. Originally built in 1539 under Spanish rule, the three-story 18th century prison building in the main square includes several dungeons and strongrooms. Above the entrance door is a sundial with the motto: Qua hora non putatis - this is part of a verse from the Bible
, Luke 12:40, "Et vos estote parati quia qua hora non putatis Filius hominis venit" (Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not the Son of manwill come).
Other interesting old buildings include the gothic church (Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste), parts of which date from the thirteenth century, and the choir of which is sheltering a huge installation from Anthony Caro
called "The Chapel of Light"; the old Fishmarket (Halle au poisson) which dates from 1587 and has twice-weekly fresh fish markets
; and a 16th century fortified farmhouse, the Manoir du Withof.
Places of interest
The town is crossed by the canal that goes from Dunkirk to the Aa
. You can walk along the canal which skirts the old town walls - built by Spanish king Philip II
as part of his border defences for Flanders. There are also footpaths and cycle routes out into the attractive flat countryside typical of... Read More