Blue veins

Blue veins

The whole geography of the Eurometropolis territory is marked by a very dense waterways network. Originally developed for goods transportation and for industry purposes, these canals became gradually more and more useless due to deindustrialization and were neglected. As a consequence, they slowly fell into decay. For a couple of years now, within a perspective of sustainable development of the territory, several planning campaigns were held to restore the attractiveness of this communication networks, in order to convert them into recreation zones and walking areas for the inhabitants and for visitors.


The Deûle canal crosses cities and villages of the metropolis like a blue vein, linking them and opening them up, inviting to wander about along the waterside submerging in priceless moments of peace.

The population here is young and dynamic, they like to have fun and there are plenty of possibilities for recreation: appointment at the Prés at Hem to dive into the water, or lengthen your holidays at the exceptional Armentières swimming area with its lake beach.

Another period, another style: after many years of building site and mobilization of numerous local associations, the canal of Roubaix, formerly used by boatmen, is now open again for recreational water sports and for tourism. This 28 km green and blue journey through the Lille metropolis takes two full days to go through all fifteen canal locks and the eleven mobile bridges found along the way. For those missing the spirit of captain Haddock, the small Décidée boat of the Lille-Metropolis Nature Area takes tourists on a cruise exploring the Roubaix canal and its rich industrial past.

Relay Nature of the canal, from the Deûle to the Escaut, 202 rue de Roubaix - 59200 Tourcoing. Tel.: +33 3 20 63 11 23

Picard Wallonia

The rivers Escaut and Dender pass across Picard Wallonia and the former towing paths have been fitted into green roads for walkers and cyclists along the RaVel roads. From Tournai passing by PĂ©ruwelz, Ath and Lessines, the cities find the watercourse along their river banks. 

The quays at Tournai have been given a face lift: there is the RaVel inviting for a walk, a nautical meeting point welcoming water sportsmen, terraces, contemporary public furniture and light scenery at night that animate the river banks of the Escaut. The city center of Ath has been renovated completely and the walk along the Dender river is an enjoyable experience here. The Dender, a river crossing the magnificent "HĂ´pital Notre Dame Ă  la Rose" in Lessines, remains — either by boat or by bike — one of the most beautiful roads of the region thanks to its natural character, its ancient canal locks manipulated by mobile teams and its draw-bridges. 

During the tourist season, the Canal House of Spiere proposes cross border walks along the canal on foot, by bike or by boat.

In Antoing, on the "Grand Large" of PĂ©ronnes, a sports and nature center project will soon complete the regional offer with lodgings and various recreational services and nautical sports services.

Region of the Lys Tourism

The vast network of rivers, canals and former railroads inherited from the Industrial Revolution, form together an amazing attraction. Today, the former towing paths and railroads in disuse have become an area reserved for those out for a stroll who, either on foot or by bike; enjoy the sweet diversity of the region of the Lys and of the Westhoek area. The green and blue veins not only pass through green nature areas, but they also twist through city centers and villages all over. There is a nice opportunity to have a break here and discover the typical small restaurants and cafés offering special beers and giving a taste the generous gastronomy. Explore the regions of the Lys and of the Westhoek following the green and blue veins is a genuine revelation.

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