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The first Regional Nature Park created in France

This was the very first Regional Nature Park created in France, in 1968. Today, with 55 communes, Scarpe-Escaut remains one of the smallest territories classed as a Regional Nature Park, covering “only” 485 km2. However, with almost 200,000 residents, or 412 residents per km2, it is also one of the most densely populated.

 Another unusual character trait is its cross-border nature. On the map of France, you are currently near the top of the Nord department, so near the top that the Belgian border is within touching distance. Scarpe-Escaut has turned this proximity into a real strength and asset, by creating Hainaut Cross-Border Nature Park together with its Belgian neighbour, Plaines de l’Escaut Nature Park. After all, nature has no borders!

Here more than anywhere, man’s imprint can be seen all over the landscape. Or rather the landscapes, because in this territory ringed by the urban conurbations of Lille, Valenciennes, Tournai and Douai, there is not one landscape but a number of landscapes, hence the common and appropriate description of area as a “mosaic of landscapes”. Meadows, arable crops, forests, plateaus, valleys, plains… all varieties of Nord-Pas de Calais landscape are represented here, with the exception of coastline.

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