Wednesday, August 10, 2011


First to tell you where I have been exploring I need to give you some idea of France's geography. France is divided into 27 regions. 22 of those are in "Metropolitan France". Like our 48 continental states compared to the 50 if we count Alaska and Hawaii.

The Region where I live is called "Nord-Pas-de-Calais". It has a population of 4,024,490 and a surface area of 12,414 km² for a density of 323.7/km2 (838.4/sq mi).

But more important is the next smaller governing area, the 'department'. There are 101 departments and mine is 'le Nord'. Literally translated means 'the North'. The departments are given a number in alphabetical order. Nord is given the number 59 because it falls at 59th in the long list. This is also what determines our postal code. All postal codes in the Nord start with 59 like mine 59600 for Maubeuge or 59164 for where BLF Europe is located.

It gets even more exciting and closer to home when departments are divided into arrondissements. This is what I want to talk to you about. I live in the section (arrondissement) of the Nord called Avesnois (Ah ven wah) who gets its name from its "county seat" Avesnes-sur-Helpe.

Avesnois is
1,408 km² of green beauty. There are 151 towns ranging from 34,000 to 71 inhabitants to total 234,131 people.

So far I have visited 41 towns out of the 151.

Be back soon

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mission Avesnois

I haven't blogged in a while but I found something fun to talk about. For my vacation I will be visiting all of the 151 towns in the area where I live.

I live in a very green area. Most of the towns where I live are in the regional park "Parc naturel regional de l'Avesnois". I also add that my area is unknown to most if not all tourist maps that look at France as a whole. There are many wonderful things to see here. I like finding things that aren't well known. Especially in the outdoors.

The first time I went exploring was on July 23rd an overcast / rainy Saturday. I went to Locquignol, Hecq, Preux au Bois, Robersart, Bousies, Fontaine au Bois, Landrecies, Maroilles, Noyelles sur Sambre, Leval, and Monceau Saint Waast. I will post photos of each town but for now here is my route.