Living in Douai


Douai, a town on the river Scarpe, has developed through important commercial activities.

It produced woollen cloth and wheat in the Middle Ages, and was already a university town in the 16th century. It became French in 1667 and a parliamentary, military town. Then, Douai took the advantage of the industrial revolution to exploit coal, and became the capital of the “Bassin des Houillières” (coal basin) of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region in the 20th century. Today, Douai is a judicial, university and industrial centre.

The city displays a rich history and prestigious past with a remarkable heritage and all the advantages of a town that is thriving economically and culturally. For instance, the Belfry (in French "Beffroi"), a symbol of civil rights, boasts one of the most impressive carillons in Europe (62 bells) ; On the embankments of the river Scarpe, the "Palais de Justice" (Law Courts Builiding) became the Parliament of Flanders. Douai is also a cultural and artistic town, with the Chartreuse museum, the National Conservatoire, the Theatre, the Hippodrome, etc...

And preserving a Northern tradition, Douai celebrates the "Gayant" (the Picard dialect form of the French word "Géant"), every year at the beginning of July. This festival gives to Douai the title "City of Giants" (in French "Cité des Géants").

Living in Nord-Pas-de-Calais

The Nord-Pas-de-Calais is in the centre of North West Europe, with strong links to England, the Benelux, Germany and Central Europe. This traditional centre of exchanges of human dimension has been improved through the development of facilities at the European level (such as the Channel Tunnel, the European high speed train and motorway networks), and through the assets of higher education. The Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a dynamic university Region with more than 150 000 students in higher education, and the courses offered in schools and universities to national and international students are highly diversified.

Leisure activities

The Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region offers a wide range of cultural activities in music, dance (the Ballets du Nord in Roubaix), theatre (Hippodrome in Douai, Rose des Vents in Villeneuve d’Ascq, Comédie de Béthune...), museums (the Fine Arts Museum of Arras, Cambrai, Douai, Lille, Valenciennes, Villeneuve d’Ascq...). The Region, with its carnivals, festivities, flea market fairs and parades is lively all year long. Sporting activities are also diverse, especially in tennis, golf, wind and water sports.