Valenciennes - France

Valenciennes in northern France is located on the river Scheldt on the border with Belgium. The Hindenburg Line ran through Valenciennes during World War I, leading to extensive destruction. And the town was again almost completely destroyed during World War II, and has since been rebuilt in concrete. The old town has the architecture of its houses, the Watteau and Froissart Squares, the Rennaissance facade of the Town Hall, and the Rhônelle Gardens sculptures. There are some surviving monuments including Notre-Dame du Saint-Cordon and La Maison Espagnole, the remains of the Spanish occupation, which ended in 1678. Also see The Dodenne Tower, the remains of the mediaeval fortifications and the "Beffroi", a large, pin-like monument 45 metres (148 ft) in height, built in 2007 on the site of the former belfry, destroyed in 1843. Valenciennes was founded around 693 while the Tower of Dodenne was built by Albert of Bavaria in the 14th century. The town was part of the Spanish Netherlands until the armies of Louis XIV of France captured the city and in 1678 it came under French control. The city was fortified and became one of the main strongholds of northern France.