Le Quesnoy and its Region
The destiny of Le Quesnoy, a small town in Avesnois in the north of France, is closely linked to that of Baudouin IV, the Count of Hainaut, according to its architect. As well as encircling the town with a moat and wall, he built a castle there in 1150.
This territory very quickly became the stakes for powerful gentry. With the passing years and battles, the town was burnt, then found itself ruled by the House of Bavière, thus no longer under French rule for 300 years. The town was returned to French rule on 6 September 1654, after the conquest of Viscount Turenne. King Louis XIV then decided to modernise the fortifications and appointed Vauban, a military engineer, to direct the work.
From 1668 to 1673, this future Marshal carried out one of his first experiences as a builder by restoring the wall and giving it its definitive look, which can be still be seen today.
During the troubled post-French-Revolution period, and following the September 1792 covenant declaring war against England, Holland and Spain, the town was under siege from 1793 to 1794. Two thirds of the town was destroyed during the siege.
In 1870 the complete destruction of the fortifications, which were considered superfluous, was raised, a project that was luckily abandoned.
During World War I, the Germans, who had violated the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, conquered the town with no great difficulty. Le Quesnoy was occupied by Germans for four years. Its salvation came on 4 November 1918, when New Zealand troops liberated the town.
The same scenario occurred in World War II and, despite strong resistance from the fortified town, German troops succeeded in occupying Le Quesnoy.
The town received, any tributes and military recognition which included the Military Cross (ore at the end of World War I than World War II).
To organise a visit to Le Quesnoy, at the gates of the Avesnois Regional Natural Park to Mormal Forest, we recommend that you visit the Comité Départemental du Tourisme’s website. (In French)
(source: Comité Départemental du Tourisme)
The département du nord covers five regions:
- The Opal Coast of Flanders
- The Heart of Flanders
- Greater Lille
1) The Opal Coast of Flanders
The Opal Coast of Flanders, with its vast, fine-sand beaches, offers you long rejuvenating walks and aquatic pursuits, as well as historical visits.
2) The Heart of Flanders
When you visit the Heart of Flanders, you discover all the authenticity of an abundant land, with its undulating countryside, windmills, unique architecture and traditions still alive today.
3) Greater Lille
Time-honoured houses with colourful, sculptured facades, numerous museums and excellent restaurants, a world famous market - you will be seduced by the atmosphere and cultural wealth of France’s fourth largest city.
The land of green pastures and bocage, Avesnois Regional Natural Park will offer you the peace and tranquillity of its valleys and forests, the beauty of its blue-roofed villages and fortified towns.
Hainaut has an impressive architectural and cultural heritage. You will also find beautiful valleys and forests ideal for tramping, and many fortified towns.
For information on itineraries to discover fortified towns, contact:
L’Association des Villes fortifiées
1 rue du Maréchal Joffre
59530 LE QUESNOY
Tel : 03 27 20 54 73
Fax : 03 27 25 30 69
Useful websites to visit (in French):
(The Embassy is not responsible for the contents of these websites)