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The North, including the regions of French Flanders, Artois, and Picardy, is a land of character and contradictions. 

Lush fields of hops give way to slag heaps from the mining industry. A flat landscape and low marshes are suddenly interrupted by the height of the iconic five mountains (hills, really, but they look huge from the surrounding fields). Picturesque windmills and decaying bunkers dot the horizon.

This region, bordering beer-loving Belgium, is known for its “bière de garde” style and owes its long brewing tradition in part to the climate, which is inhospitable for grapes, but also to the fertile land and underground springs that are ideal for the cultivation of barley, wheat, and hops.

The North has a deep appreciation of beer which has been brewed here for centuries. After a stroll around the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Lille or a day on the beach along the “Opal Coast”, Northerners retire to traditional restaurants called “estaminets”. There they enjoy hearty regional cuisine, like “carbonnade flamande”, a beef stew simmered with beer, washed down with a local brew of course and accompanied by the sounds of a traditional band.

The North is proud of its history and respectful of traditions so local beers are an integral part of the culture and can always be found at the many festivals and parades that occur there such as Europe’s largest flea market, the Braderie de Lille, or the Carnival in Dunkerque.

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