There were a technical problem so that I cound't write the precedent message until an end. Here's is the following.
The agglomerations of the region wich are over 100 000 inhabitants.
1st Lille Métropole (including Roubaix, Tourcoing, Villeneuve d'Asq and many others). French part only, Courtrai for example is not includes because in Belgium, but is part of the métropole.
3rd Béthune 352 534, 17th place of France,
4th Valenciennes, french part only, 333 564, 19th of France.
5th Dunkerque 17th of France, 179 503 inhabitants.
6th Maubeuge (without the belgian part of Erquelinnes) 114 174 inhabitants (with me and my husband (!), without it would be only 114 172 inhabitants!), it is at the 58th place of France. It includes Pont-sur-Sambre and Aulnoye-Aymeries.
Only 6 agglomerations have more than 100 000 inhabitants in the North-Pas de Calais : Calais, Arras and Cambrai have less than 100 000 inhabitants.
Source : Insee (French National Institute for statistics 2009).
I have count 135 000 inhabitants for the Agglomeration of Maubeuge (towns syndicate in the Agglo + Hautmont + Erquelinne in Belgium).
A society of town-bus is covered the agglomeration. It is called Stibus.
Somewhat suprising : Louvroil for example, town just in the South of Maubeuge has 6812 inhabitants, more than 1000 inhabitants/km2 and from the commercial centre in the South-West of the town to the college in the North East of it, there are more than 5km.
The agglomeration of Maubeuge is about 30 km long along the Sambre and is between 3 and 15 km wide.
There is every day about 12 o'clock a big problem of car-circulation at the entrance of Maubeuge coming from Louvroil, you can wait a big long time!
To compare with the biggest agglomerations of the world : the megalopole of Mexico (3rd of the world has 60km x 100km.
And we have 30 km x 15 km !
There were a big industrial crisis since the seventies. It is a zone of metallurgy and we can imagine how many inhabitants would have this agglomeration without the industry crisis!
Concerning the Metropole of Lille, Valenciennes and Douai-Lens it could be soon a bigger Megalopole because the three agglomerations are growing together. Perharps we see that in ten or fifteen years!
The Avesnois is another part of the arrondissement of Avesnes. It is the country-side of it. The Sambre is dividing this arrondissement in two parts : the west side with the forest of Mormal and the town of Le Quesnoy and the East Side with the capital town Avesnes-sur-Helpe in the middle of the East Side (but not biggest town, the biggest one is Maubeuge on the Sambre), Fourmies is at the end of the departement with Anor, in the South East of the Arrondissement.
Aulnoye-Aymeries in the South of the Agglomeration of Maubeuge was once a big railway town with the cross of Calais-Bâle (London-Milano) and Paris-Köln-Berlin-Moscou. But now it is nowhere : the TGV is passing though Lille and Aulnoye has no more trains to Brussels, Köln and Metz like once; to go with the railway to Metz, there is only one intercity pro day from Charleville-Mézières, 100 km far away, at another hour time, you have to go to Paris to be in Metz in a short time but it is a longer way (300 km more!) and more expansive!
That is modernization, which lets this big agglomeration of 135 000 inhabitants at the side of the world.
Perle de Rosée.