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Coordinates: 50°22′17″N 3°04′48″E / 50.3713888889°N 3.08°E / 50.3713888889; 3.08

Douai (Dutch: Dowaai) is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. Located on the river Scarpe some 40 km from Lille and 25 km from Arras, Douai is home to one of the region's most impressive belfries. The population of the metropolitan area, including Lens, was 552,682 in 1999.



The main industries in the town are in the chemical and metal engineering sectors. Renault has a huge vehicle assembly plant near the town, which has produced many well known Renault vehicles, such as the R14, R11, R19, and the Megane and Scenic of today.


The Gare de Douai railway station is served by regional trains towards Lille, Amiens, Saint-Quentin and Valenciennes.


Its site probably corresponds to that of a 4th century Roman fortress known as Duacum. The town became a flourishing textile market centre during the Middle Ages under the Counts of Flanders. Historically, it was known as Douay (Doway in English). In 1384, it passed into the domains of the Counts of Burgundy and thence in 1477 into Habsburg possessions.

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