|Intercommunality||Communauté d'agglomération de Saint-Omer|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Brigitte Leblond|
|Area1||8.92 km2 (3.44 sq mi)|
|• Density||200/km2 (510/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||62423 / 62570|
|Elevation||23–95 m (75–312 ft)
(avg. 92 m or 302 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.
A large village situated 4 miles (6 km) south of Saint-Omer, at the D195 and D198 crossroads. It is located on a geological formation called the "plateau d'Helfaut", which separates the Aa valley to the north from the Lys valley, to the south. The commune is home to a unique geological heritage, resulting in an unusual landscape. The sides of the old quarries alongside the plateau display many geological strata. The quarries of Heuringhem and Blendecques have collapsed as a result of soil creep. The commune gave its name to 'Dilluvium d’Helfaut', a flint and clay formation rare in France and Europe. The commune is home to many rare and protected species in a heathland landscape, which is unusual for northern France and justified the creation of a nature reserve (Les Landes d'Helfaut).
The inhabitants are called Helfalois.
|From the year 1962 on: No double counting—residents of multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel) are counted only once.|
The village was subject to much damage during World War II, as it was here that the Germans sited La coupole, an underground bunker, housing a huge concrete dome built by the Nazis between 1943 and 1944. Initially this bunker was to serve as a base to launch V2 rockets, but it never entered service because of the many bombing raids by the Allies. The Dome has been transformed into a museum.
Places of interest
- The church of St.Fuscien and St.Victoric, dating from the thirteenth century.
- The church at Bilques.
- La Coupole : Second World War museum and visitor’s centre
- The monument known as the ‘Helfaut column’. See fr:colonne d'Helfaut (French)
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