On the tracks of history

The great powers have always fought over this region. Dunkerque Flandre Côte d’Opale has therefore changed hands many times, a fact epitomized by the Battle of the Dunes, on 14th June 1658, a fateful day when the people of Dunkirk woke up Spanish, became French at lunch and were English by dinnertime!

Scattered all over this northern land are traces of the past, left by a fascinating history of naval warfare, of pirates and of defense, marked by Vauban, the great military architect whose fortifications in Gravelines have become part of the landscape.

The cities are full of symbols of power and freedom, their belfries listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The bricks and stones of the monuments exude history, some of them still bearing the marks of bullet holes. Strewn with fortresses, shipwrecks, citadels and military graveyards, Dunkerque Flandre Côte d'Opale is a real open-air museum.

In May and June 1940, Dunkirk took its place in military history as the scene of the largest evacuation operation of soldiers ever to be made, code name: Operation Dynamo.

The defining moments of our region's history are re-enacted for you here... See what you make of it.

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