Come and sample all the great thrills and excitement to be had in the Nord with its rich colours and emotional experiences which grip all its visitors! There is no doubting the convivial spirit of our people.
The Gayant family and the Reuzes, giants with UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status, will delight children and adults alike with their appearance. Don't miss Dunkerque carnival, get into the Saturday night's balls and you'll understand what party means.
Dunkerque carnival 10 th February to 10 th march 2013
Dunkerque Carnival is above all else a people's carnival, an expression of the special love of festive celebration that is at the heart of people's lives in the Nord. It is something deeply rooted in the character and history of this Flemish region, a celebration in which disguises and masks enable all classes of society to mix and enjoy themselves. Carnival is a time for the lifting of all the prohibitions, all the taboos, all the rules and regulations governing the normal life of organised society. You'll see men dressed as women, wearing outrageous make-up and blond, brown, even blue, red or green wigs and sporting women's underwear over their clothing. And there'll be women wearing men's clothes and false beards or frightening masks and perhaps behaving flirtatiously without the risk of being recognised. This is a festive occasion that is over the top, on a grand scale, where it seems anything goes, and this freedom helps people forget the problems and routine of everyday life. Carnival meets a deep-down need in the people of Dunkerque and they look forward to it eagerly all year... Find out about the dancing and the various teams of revellers at www.dunkerque-tourisme.fr
Bailleul carnival 8 th to 12 th February 2013
First held over a century ago, Bailleul Carnival puts on its best finery for the new millennium. The Giant Gargantua, its undisputed superstar, brings with him a stream of decorated floats, characters with huge heads and groups from France and other countries playing their hearts out in the Sunday afternoon parade. His acolyte, Doctor Piccolimo, will be operating in the main square on the Tuesday. And all this takes place in utter and complete commotion!
Easter Monday : 1 st April 2013 -Summer carnival in Cassel. UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE
On Easter Monday, in warm and welcoming surroundings, Cassel Carnival is an opportunity to be there at a unique event: the appearance of the giants Reuze Papa and Reuze Maman. For just one day these heroes of Cassel, respectively 6.25 and 5.85 m tall, are the king and queen of the festivities and the surrounding crowds return their affection. Singing, dancing and Bengal lights are on the agenda... Just bear in mind that the next day it'll be too late!
Gayant Festival 7th to 9th July 2013 - Unesco World heritage
Meet the Gayant family, Douai's doughty dignitaries whose towering presence draws the crowds for July's three-day Festival of Giants and family fun. Measuring in at 8.50m - around 28 ft - are Mr Gayant and his wife, herself 6.5m or around 20 ft. Joining them are the youngsters, Jacquot, Fillon and baby Binbin, all around 2.40m, or seven ft. Watch them dance, swaying and swirling in the town hall courtyard as the bands play, the belfry bells ring out and sweets are thrown by the mayor. Grab a café chair, dig into a plate of pot'je vleesch (a dish of pâté -style meats) and chips and enjoy a ringside view of floats, street artists and the sheer joy of a festival dating back to 1479.