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Béthune

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Béthune

Béthune
Grand Place
Grand Place
Coat of arms of Béthune
Coat of arms
Béthune is located in France
Béthune
Coordinates:
Country France
Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Department Pas-de-Calais
Arrondissement Béthune
Canton Béthune-Nord and Béthune-Sud
Intercommunality Artois
Government
 • Mayor (2014-) Olivier Gacquerre
Area1 9.43 km2 (3.64 sq mi)
Population (2009)2 25,766
 • Density 2,700/km2 (7,100/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 62119 / 62400
Elevation 18–42 m (59–138 ft)
(avg. 26 m or 85 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Béthune (French pronunciation: ​ ; archaic Dutch: Betun) is a city in northern France, sub-prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais department.

Contents

  • Geography 1
  • Landmarks 2
  • History 3
    • First World War 1914-1918 3.1
  • Population 4
  • Transport 5
  • Personalities 6
  • Sport 7
  • International relations 8
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Geography

Béthune is located in the former province of Artois. It is situated 73 kilometres (45 miles) south-east of Calais, 33 kilometres (21 miles) west of Lille, and 186 kilometres (116 miles) north of Paris.

Landmarks

Béthune is a town rich in architectural heritage and history. It has, among other features, a large paved square with shops, cafés, and a 47-metre-tall (154 ft) (133 steps) belfry standing in the center from the top of which the Belgian border can be seen. The chime of the belfry is composed of thirty-six bells. A belfry (French:"beffroi") has stood on the site since 1346.[1] The current belfry plays melodies every 15 minutes, including the ch'ti (regional patois) children's lullaby "min p'tit quinquin" (my little darling).[2]

East of Pas-de-Calais (Béthune, Lens, Hénin-Beaumont)

History

First World War 1914-1918

During the war, Béthune was mostly defended by British forces, including units of the Canadian and Indian armies, and initially suffered little damage. It was an important railway junction and hospital site, holding the 33rd Casualty Station until December 1917. However, during the second phase of the Ludendorff Offensive in April 1918, German forces reached Locon, 5 km (3 mi) away from the town, and on 21 May 1918 launched a bombardment which virtually flattened it. The whole town has since been rebuilt. Many combatants from both sides are buried in Béthune Town Cemetery. [3]

Population

The inhabitants are called Béthunois.

Transport

The railway station has seven daily TGV trains to Paris, a journey which takes 1 hour 15 minutes. There are also regular trains to Lille, Amiens, Dunkerque and several regional destinations.

By car, Béthune is accessible from the A26 which intersects the A1 (Lille to Paris) 42 kilometres (26 miles) to the South-East. By road, it is 2 hours 30 minutes from Paris, 1 hour from Calais, 30 minutes from Arras and 40 minutes from Lille. By using the Channel Tunnel and the A26, Béthune is 3 hours 30 minutes from London and 6 hours 45 minutes from Manchester. Using road connections on mainland Europe it is nearly 2 hours from Brussels, 3 hours from Aix-La-Chapelle, 3 hours from Cologne, 8 hours 30 minutes from Berlin and 3 hours 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

Personalities

Béthune was the birthplace of:

Béthune is also associated with the following historic personalities:

Sport

Stade Béthunois Football Club represent Béthune and was formed in 1902.[4] They currently play in Nord-Pas-de-Calais league.

International relations

Béthune is twinned with:

Gallery

See also

References

  • INSEE commune file
  1. ^ "La ville de Béthune - Le beffroi de Béthune". Ville-bethune.fr. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Dors min petit quinquin - Chblog, le blog chti". Chblog.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  3. ^ Béthune Town Cemetery
  4. ^ Stade béthunois FC
  5. ^ "[via WaybackMachine.com]"British towns twinned with French towns . Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 

External links

  • Béthune city council website (in French)
  • Béthune on Heritage Towns
  • "Histoire de Béthune" (in French)
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