The north-eastern part of France is full of history. You will discover beautiful cities with unique architecture where it is good to stroll and stop in the main cultural places. And then, renting a motorbike at the Yamaha Rent agency in Tourcoing also allows you to escape from the urban centres to ride after a few kilometres in superb natural areas, such as in the Scarpe-Escaut Regional Nature Park or in the Parc des Caps et Marais d'Opale, further north. Not forgetting the moments around the gastronomy and a good local beer. For a motorbike road trip that is off the beaten track, head for the north of France, a land of a thousand treasures.
After a stroll in Tourcoing to admire its most beautiful monuments such as the Town Hall and the Collector's House, and once the motorbike has been collected from the rental agency, we head for Lille to put down our bags at the Hotel de la Treille. In this establishment, the cosy English-style rooms offer for some a view on the eponymous cathedral. You will then stay long enough in the city of Lille to have time to discover its Grand'Place, to climb the Belfry and then to walk through the Old Lille, magnificent with its cobbled streets lined with buildings with Flemish architecture. The stay is also the opportunity to try the cuisine of the restaurant La Tradition, where maroilles and good beers are de rigueur. The charm of Lille is also its cultural places rehabilitated and where to see beautiful exhibitions or listen to music. Let's mention the Tripostal and the Maisons Folie of Wazemmes and Moulins. During an afternoon, it's impossible not to go to the La Piscine museum in Roubaix, a jewel of Art Deco architecture
The motorbike journey then takes travellers to the charming city of Valenciennes, after having enjoyed the beautiful landscapes offered by the Scarpe-Escaut Regional Nature Park along the way. In fact, once you have settled into one of the beautiful rooms of the Auberge du Bon Fermier, amidst the red bricks, you will rush into the regional nature park to take the shaded paths of the Raismes-Saint-Amand-Wallers forest, to walk along the river and to fill up on fresh air. Near Valenciennes, a variety of experiences await the curious, such as a visit to the historic mining centre of Lewarde, the largest coal mine museum in France, and the contemplation of the Roman ruins of Bavay. Within Valenciennes itself, strolls through the pedestrian streets are very pleasant, and you should not miss the Saint-Géry church, the Town Hall and the facade of the palace that houses the Fine Arts museum. For lunch or dinner, you can enjoy the cuisine of the Epicurian, especially the chicken with maroilles and the welsch
After a nice stay in Valenciennes, we are back on the bike to go to Lens. What a pleasure to ride around the city and to see its railway station in the shape of a locomotive as well as the Art Deco buildings that illuminate the Place Jean Jaurès. On another day, we go to the Bassin minier, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is here that you can climb to the top of the Loos-en-Gohelle slag heaps, the highest in Europe. The panorama offered on the region is simply sumptuous! After a night at the Bollaert Lens hotel, with its modern and soberly decorated rooms, you are ideally situated to go to the Louvre-Lens museum, where you can appreciate the contemporary architecture, the works of the permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions. On the last day in Lens, a very nice program consists of a lunch at Chez Cathy, an institution to enjoy traditional recipes. Then, in the afternoon, a beautiful bike ride awaits the travellers in the park of the Berges de la Souchez. At certain points, moving away from the banks, you will reach Voyelles-Sous-Lens and the Galance marsh, then a flowery and bucolic meadow in Loison-sous-Lens. So many places that invite you to relax and enjoy a privileged contact with nature.
The journey continues with a stop in Arras. Its beautiful heritage, with its arcaded and gabled buildings, makes for superb photos. The two main squares, the Grand-Place and the Place des Héros, are a must. It is then time to taste a good local beer. Don't forget that the Hauts-de-France is a region renowned for its brewing tradition. For a quiet moment in the countryside, we then go to the citadel, built by Vauban in the 17th century and where there is now a vast green park. On another day, we take the motorbike to park near the Ring of Memory, a powerful work of art that takes place on the site of the Necropolis of Notre-Dame de Lorette, and where the names of 580,000 soldiers who died in the First World War are inscribed. Another nice getaway is the Jardins de Séricourt, a set of exceptional contemporary gardens in the heart of which it is good to stroll. For a peaceful night's sleep, the Au cœur d'Eden guest house welcomes travellers on motorbikes in a beautiful 1920s mansion. The rooms are sublime, with touches of old and new. There is an underground car park nearby for safe parking. Finally, you can't pass through Arras without tasting its famous andouillette, and for that, head for L'Artisan Gourmand, where 100% home cooking is offered.
Head for the last stop of this motorcycle road trip in the Tourcoing region with a stopover in Saint-Omer. The town has a charming historic centre, with cobbled streets, plush homes, the beautiful Notre-Dame cathedral and the remains of the Saint-Bertin abbey. The public garden is a real haven of peace, with its arboretum, its conservatory of Vauban's fortifications, its English-style park and its regular garden. The ideal way to enjoy the area is to settle down in one of the elegant rooms of the Caps et Marais d'Opale mansion. A peaceful place with a so british decoration. As for nature, the proximity of the regional natural park of the Caps et Marais d'Opale offers the possibility to go boating in the marshes of the Audomarois region, accompanied by a guide who is always willing to reveal the secrets of its sumptuous green and preserved landscapes. And then, to fill up with outdoor activities, there are many paths to take on foot, mountain bike or horseback, in the Pays de Saint-Omer as in the Pays de Lumbres. Before heading to Tourcoing to take the bike back to the agency, we treat ourselves to a last lunch at the restaurant Le 1900. The address honors the faluche, filled, gratinated and always served with chips and green salad.
Travellers on motorbikes can obtain valuable information on visits and good deals in the Tourcoing region by visiting the tourist offices of Tourcoing, Lille, Lens-Liévin, Valenciennes tourisme et congrès and the office de tourisme et des congrès du Pays de Saint-Omer. For more information on motorcycle rental in Tourcoing, visit the Yamaha Rent website.