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Béthune
Grand Place

Coat of arms



Béthune is located in France
Béthune
Coordinates: 50°31′49″N 2°38′27″E / 50.5303, 2.6408Coordinates: 50°31′49″N 2°38′27″E / 50.5303, 2.6408
Country France
Region Hauts-de-France
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: [be.tyn] ; archaic Dutch: Betun) is a city in northern France, sub-prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais department.

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.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 6,932
1800 6,046 −12.8%
1806 6,379 +5.5%
1821 6,319 −0.9%
1831 6,889 +9.0%
1836 6,805 −1.2%
1841 7,448 +9.4%
1846 7,727 +3.7%
1851 7,692 −0.5%
1856 7,720 +0.4%
1861 8,264 +7.0%
1866 8,178 −1.0%
1872 8,410 +2.8%
1876 9,315 +10.8%
1881 10,374 +11.4%
1886 10,917 +5.2%
1891 11,098 +1.7%
1896 11,627 +4.8%
1901 12,404 +6.7%
1906 13,607 +9.7%
1911 15,309 +12.5%
1921 16,795 +9.7%
1926 20,141 +19.9%
1931 19,956 −0.9%
1936 20,073 +0.6%
1946 22,081 +10.0%
1954 22,376 +1.3%
1962 23,445 +4.8%
1968 27,154 +15.8%
1975 26,982 −0.6%
1982 25,508 −5.5%
1990 24,556 −3.7%
1999 27,781 +13.1%
2006 26,472 −4.7%
2009 25,766 −2.7%

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:

  • Jean Buridan, philosopher
  • Antoine Busnois, composer and poet of the early Renaissance
  • Jérôme Leroy, former captain of RC Lens and current FC Sochaux midfielder in France
  • Pierre de Manchicourt, Renaissance composer
  • Nicolas Fauvergue, footballer
  • Thomas Crecquillon, the Renaissance composer, probably died here.

Béthune is also associated with the following historic personalities:

  • Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, general and statesman
  • Conon de Béthune, crusader and trouvère poet

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[]

  • Communes of the Pas-de-Calais department

References[]

External links[]

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