The festive and welcoming reputation of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais is well established. Throw in moules-frites (mussels and fries) and speciality beers, carnivals and festivals and you have a decidedly engaging region just waiting to be explored. By the sea, the pastel hues of the Côte d'Opale ("Opal Coast"), culminating in the capes Cap Gris Nez and Cap Blanc Nez, contrast with the port buildings of Boulogne and Dunkirk. Get a taste of bygone eras as you stand before the Flemish Baroque façades of Vieux Lille and Arras, the Art Nouveau villas of Le Touquet and Malo-les-Bains. And even as the bells of the proud belfries continue to ring, the history of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is being written anew each day. Far from having swept its industrial past under the carpet, the region is carrying out a fantastic transformation of its heritage, one case in point being the very contemporary Louvre-Lens museum, housed in a former pithead. No doubt about it, a wind of renaissance is in the air here, as strong as that which carries the kites on the beach of Berck.