Discover a unique blend of French and Flemish cultures in Bethune. The city is set on the Belgian border and was beautifully rebuilt after World War I. Climb the UNESCO World Heritage belltower, shop at the bustling weekly market and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
Things to do in Béthune
Climb the 47-metre-tall Bethune Belfry and enjoy sweeping views over the city and surrounding countryside. The enormous sandstone tower was built in the 1300s and features a carillon of 36 bells. It’s one of the only belfries in Europe with UNESCO World Heritage Status and chimes short songs every 15 minutes. Locals claim the tower inspired J.R.R. Tolkien when he visited Bethune during World War I.
Shop for farm-fresh produce at the weekly market held in the main square. Flemish-style buildings with narrow facades and gabled roofs frame the historic square. Growers from across Pas-de-Calais arrive to sell fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as baked goods, jams and preserves, cheeses and artisan products.
Much of Bethune’s city centre was meticulously rebuilt after World War I. City planners embraced the original medieval style and created picturesque streets lined with narrow buildings. Look closely to see animals, fruit and other medieval-inspired motifs featured in the decorative facades.
Of all the local delicacies available in the city, Fort Bethune is one of the most delicious. The cheese is made by blending cheese offcuts with wine, garlic, herbs and spices. Restaurants serve specialty dishes from the Pas-de-Calais region. Try favourites like “Andouillette de Cambrai” pork liver sausages, “Flamiche au Maroilles” cheese tart and hearty “carbonade flamande” beef stew cooked with beer.
Getting around Béthune
Bethune is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. The city is in the Pas-de-Calais department, a three-hour drive from Paris and Brussels. Express trains run between Paris and Bethune in under 1.5 hours. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is a two-hour drive away.