Local area map | rail travel *
Hesdin is on the Boulogne - Arras & Boulogne - Lille lines


Hesdin and the
Seven Valleys district

Hesdin belfry & main square Hesdin Town hall balcony
Hesdin Town Hall's belfry and ornate balcony look over the main square which hosts a busy market every Thursday morning. The Town Hall entrance still bears the Spanish crest

Hesdin - a Spanish new town
You're standing in the spacious town square in
Hesdin, looking up at the Town Hall. The coat-of-arms on the front of the ornate balcony is that of Spain.

The town was forceably moved in 1554 to its present site down in the Canche valley by order of the Spanish Emperor Charles V ("Charles Quint").

16th century Church of Notre-Dame, on a cobbled street by the River Canche.

The old Hesdin on a highly defensible site in the hills had been a dangerous French stronghold in the border wars between France and Spanish Flanders.

The ruins of the old town's castle can still be seen - but most of it, including a famous 14th century pleasure park, was completely razed to the ground.

The cathedral town of Thérouanne suffered a similar fate.

At Azincourt you can tour the battlefield where in 1415 Henry V's English army massacred a French army 5 times as numerous. They hailed arrows from massed ranks of longbow archers on the French cavalry, who slithered around in the mud and rain, unable to escape because of their clumsy armour and the surrounding forests. A new Medieval History Centre in the village tells the story of the battle - and is a good preparation for walking round the site.

The Moulin de Maintenay on the river Authie is at least in part claimed to date from the 12th century. It has been restored and is open to the public.

Country walks and cycle rides
The attractive countryside around Hesdin is great for walking and cycling along paths and quiet lanes in the peaceful valleys in the Artois hills. Tourist offices have maps and leaflets of marked routes, specially selected for being safe, interesting and with indications of manageability - depending on your fitness and how far you want to go.


More information

Local area map:
Hesdin area map
Click on places for more information

Places to visit
Agincourt Battlefield - Medieval History Centre & battlefield tour
Fressin Castle - medieval ruins with spectacular reenactments
"Sire de Crécuy" -cheese made on the farm
"Perle de Groseille" - making a special aperitif
Chocolate factory - craft workshop in the village of Beussant (10km from Montreuil)
Le Moulin de Maintenay - working watermill
A traditional boulangerie - near Hardelot

Background information
Hundred Years' War - England v France
Artois - fought-over region around Arras
Relations with the English
Vauban - 17th century military engineer
Mills of the region



www.theotherside.co.uk Last updated 5th September 1999 © Copyright Invicta Media 1999