Flanders, French, region of N France, on the North Sea and along the Belgian border. It is coextensive with Nord dept. The area is studded with important industrial cities and historic towns and was once a rich coal-mining region. It was incorporated into France in 1678 by Louis XIV and was a province until the French Revolution. Lille was the provincial capital, Douai the seat of the parlement. The area has been a battleground in several major European conflicts.