Hesdin (French pronunciation: ​[edɛ̃]; West Flemish: Heusdin) is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France.

Town hall
Town hall
Coat of arms of Hesdin
Location of Hesdin
Hesdin is located in France
Hesdin is located in Hauts-de-France
Coordinates: 50°22′30″N 2°02′15″E / 50.375°N 2.0375°E / 50.375; 2.0375Coordinates: 50°22′30″N 2°02′15″E / 50.375°N 2.0375°E / 50.375; 2.0375
IntercommunalityCC Sept Vallées
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Matthieu Demoncheaux
0.9 km2 (0.3 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018)[1]
 • Density2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
62447 /62140
Elevation23–34 m (75–112 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.


The N39, from Arras to Montreuil, used to be the main thoroughfare of the town. In the 1950s, a circular route was created to help traffic flow. A second bypass was built in the 1980s, taking all through traffic well away from the town centre.
The Canche river flows through the centre of Hesdin.


Hesdin was a fief of the counts of Artois, vassals of the Counts of Flanders until 1180. When Philip, count of Flanders gave Artois as dowry to his niece Isabella of Hainault when she married Philip Augustus of France in 1180, Hesdin and the other seigneuries passed to France.

At the end of the 11th century, Hesdin gained renown for the park and chateau of Robert II, Count of Artois, which featured the earliest examples of early medieval automata in Europe. [2] These included mechanical monkeys covered in badger fur, mechanized fountains, a large sundial surrounded by lions and leopards, and a bellows operated organ.[2]: 124  Over the years additional automata were added, including creations such as a mechanical king and an indoor fountain with mechanical birds. Guillaume de Machaut, in his poem Le Remede de Fortune, characterized them as "the marvels, the delights, the inventions, the engines, the contrivances, the water courses, the strange things that were enclosed there."[2]: 124  By the 1380s, the automata had fallen into disrepair, until Philip the Good renovated them again in the 1430s.[2]: 130  A 1433 bill of account recounts numerous mechanical amusements, including machines that played pranks on the guests as well as angels and figures that spoke and directed visitors.[2]: 131 

Though subsequently the territory passed to the Dukes of Burgundy, Hesdin remained one of a handful of French strongholds, until in 1553 Emperor Charles V ordered the utter destruction of the old fortified town on a rise of ground and built the present town the following year, some 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the original site, on the banks of the Canche. The unfortified village of Vieil-Hesdin was later built on the original site.

In 1639 the French laid siege to Hesdin and under Louis XIII, it was recaptured for France. Thus, though Hesdin has an ancient name and 16th century structures, there is nothing left of the medieval town.

The most recent and resourceful book on the history of Hesdin is Promenades dans Hesdin by Regis Deparis (2004) (in French)

In 2014 Hesdin elected a 22-year-old law student, Stéphane Sieczkowski-Samier, as Mayor. Sieczkowski-Samier became the youngest mayor in France and is nicknamed "Petit Sarko" (little Sarkozy) in the French press as a reference to the previous French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is from the same political party.[3]


Historical population of Hesdin
From the year 1962 on: No double counting—residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel) are counted only once.

Places of interestEdit

Hesdin is dominated by the central square, the Place d'Armes overlooked by the 16th-17th-century town hall. The town hall, with its large belfry, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005 as part of the Belfries of Belgium and France site, because of its historical importance as the center of municipal power within the region.[4] The contemporary Church of Notre Dame was begun in 1565 and completed in 1685.

Notable peopleEdit


Thursday is market day in Hesdin, when a large range of local produce and more typical inexpensive market items can be purchased from the stalls in the surrounding streets.

In the first two weeks of August the town has the fete of the Cochon Rose (Pink Piglet) which includes a variety of events including a Sunday Brocante (flea market) which is the biggest in the region.[6]

Twinned withEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2018". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e Truitt (21 November 2016). Medieval Robots. Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 123. ISBN 9780812223576.
  3. ^ "Le "petit Sarko" Stéphane Sieczkowski, élu maire à 22 ans". 31 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Belfries of Belgium and France". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Jean Pierre Jumez - Biography -".
  6. ^ Fête du Cochon Rose Archived 2013-02-13 at archive.today

External linksEdit