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Nord-Pas-de-Calais is the northern most region in France. It combines the departments of Nord, literally ‘north’, and Pas-de-Calais, which translates as Straight of Calais, the French name for the Straight of Dover. On a clear day the White Cliffs of Dover are visible from Calais. There are currently debates over the name of the region with several petitions aimed at changing the name to various other suggested titles such as the French Low Lands or Region Flandres-Artois.
The North Strait of Dover region has always been of strategic significance. Several times invading armies have used the area as a route to their conquests. French President Charles de Gaulle called the area a ‘fatal avenue’, and it has been conquered multiple times by different forces since the Celts. After the French annexation of the area in the 18th century, much of the area was occupied by German forces during the First and Second World Wars.