A giant of the Nord
Douai is sometimes known as the city of giants. This is not due to an invasion of the Flemish Giant pet rabbits, but a nod to the traditional Fêtes de Gayant, which celebrates a giant family of wicker people every summer. Set off by OUIBUS to discover Douai, and one of the first things you’ll spot as you enter the city will be its famous belfry. This medieval Gothic masterpiece is also a Unesco world heritage monument. Its bell tower houses 62 bells which play a different melody every quarter of an hour throughout the day. Stop off at the Chartreuse Museum, located in the former convent. It houses a beautiful collection of paintings from the Northern French and Italian Schools as well as some magnificent sculptures on display in the chapel.
It’s time to relax and drift down the river Scarpe, on a tour boat. You’ll discover the oldest part of Douai, with its sublimely beautiful Parliament of Flanders, which has been housed since 1714 in the former refuge of the Marchiennes Abbey. The city’s numerous parks and ponds make it an especially pleasant place to discover on foot. The Parc du Rivage Gayant is particularly worth a mention; this former coal port was transformed into a nature zone, and it’s now home to more than 7,000 plants and many rare birds.