Roubaix has suffered two economic blows: On the one hand, the decline of the textile industry and the associated mechanical engineering for looms, and on the other hand, the end of coal mining. As in other regions of Western Europe, beginning in the Ruhr area, continuing through the Saarland and Luxembourg, and extending into Belgium and France, a change in economic fundamentals is taking place, with new things emerging that unfortunately do not always endure and new things that remain. This also includes many faculties of the universities in Roubaix and Lille, which partly also tie in with the old textile know-how.
Against this historical backdrop, a growth of the artistic scene can be observed. And it's exciting to deal with the themes that are developing here. It is somewhat reminiscent of Berlin in the 90s. With sometimes decidedly subversive statements, StreetArt accompanies visitors everywhere in the city. Art accompanies us in all its forms not alone in great museums, but also as textile design, which continues the centuries-old traditions of weaving and making fabrics in its own way.
If you want to visit Roubaix, you should plan beyond the normal city stroll: a spontaneous conversation in one of the many restaurants can bring up exciting things.And those are usually the memories that are still fondly remembered years later.
For the short time of our visit to Roubaix, we have chosen three highlights that seem typical for this city and the present time. In the Roubaix Manufactory Museum we see old looms, get an insight into textile production back to the Middle Ages and recognize some of the reasons that led to the relocation of this industry.
Art that has also made its place in an old factory building, we found at La Condition Publique, where international contemporary art and current social issues captivate the visitor.
La Condition Publique, however, is not just a place to look, but works together with residents, local associations and partners from all sectors to create Beaux Endroits, beautiful places - projects that link the artistic with the aspect of participation and how to reoccupy public space.
La Piscine is a very artistic approach to the integration of culture in society. This old swimming pool remained a swimming pool. It is the heart of the development of the historic center of Roubaix. The history of the swimming pool alone is exemplary. Roubaix is an industrial city that owes its prosperity to a few large industrial families, but also to a tradition of workers with active unions. This combination of paternalistic industrial pride and a resilient popular culture give the city and its museum their character.
Arras, third largest city of the Pas-de-Calais, is famous for its two beautiful paved Grand Place and Place des Héros.
Less than an hour from Calais, Béthune is an attractive, lively small town located between Arras and Saint-Omer.
We think Boulogne is the most interesting of the French canal ports and that's a good reason to take a break here.
Lille, the capital of the Hauts-de-France region, is perhaps the most underrated metropolis in France.
Formerly an important textile town, today it hosts, among other things, the breathtaking Art Deco swimming pool "La Piscine".