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Did you know that Harrow has a twin town in France?

When you’re out and about in Harrow you will no doubt have come across the odd sign declaring that our borough is twinned with Douai and, in this article, we’re saying bonjour to this charming French city.

What are twin towns?

Twin towns are towns or cities in two different countries which have been chosen as a pair to encourage cultural and social links between the two countries. In many instances, the towns are chosen because they share a similar size or have similar characteristics but this is not always the case.

Harrow was twinned with Douai in France in 1979 after Harrow’s Deputy Mayor, Freddie Sellers, decided that it would be beneficial for our borough to make a connection with our European neighbours. Douai was chosen to be our twin and, in May 1979, twinning ceremonies were held on both sides of the channel.

Did you know that Harrow has a twin town in France? Harrow Online
Douai in France. Image: Google.

Delightful Douai

Set in northern France, in between Lille and Cambrai, Douai has a population of

39,989 people and is a popular destination for tourists. The centre of the town is dominated by the Place d’Armes – a picturesque pedestrianised square featuring lots of trees and a central fountain.

Architecture in the region ranges from traditional 18th century French style to Flemish tones and art deco touches. One of the town’s main attractions is the 15th century belfry which boasts 62 bells, four small towers and a stunning Gothic spire – a structure which Victor Hugo was inspired to call ‘the most beautiful belfry in France’. While magnificent during the day, the belfry is uber-grammable during twilight and nighttime.

Did you know that Harrow has a twin town in France? Harrow Online
Place d’Armes in Douai, France. Image: Google Maps

Riverside chic

Water lovers will be inspired by the Scarpe region of Douai – an extremely pretty waterfront area featuring working docks and the famous Parliament of Flanders building. Visitors to the area can enjoy boat trips through the town along the River Scarpe.

Douai is also known as the City of Giants (Ville de Geants) due to its summer festival in which giant figures representing the Gayant family are paraded through the town.

Did you know that Harrow has a twin town in France? Harrow Online
The River Scarpe, Douai. Image: Google

Each year, the Mayor of Harrow visits Douai where he or she meets with his or her counterpart in this delightful city.

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