The substantial Porte de Valenciennes town gate, a reminder of the town's past military importance, was built in 1453.
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Apart from the ferment of the French Revolution, it was again caught up in hostilities in World War I, and in 1918, the town was partly burned, while World War II also brought considerable damage to Douai.
The town is still a transportation and commercial center for the area, which was known up to the Sixties for its coalfield, the richest in northern France.
By 1713, the town was fully integrated into France.
Douai became the seat of the Parliament of Flanders.
Connected with the University were not only the English College, Douai, founded by William Allen, but also the Irish and Scottish colleges and the Benedictine, Franciscan and Jesuit houses.
The Benedictine priory of St Gregory the Great was founded by Saint John Roberts at Douai in 1605, with a handful of exiled English Benedictines who had entered various monasteries in Spain, as the first house after the Reformation to begin conventual life.Douai's ornate Gothic style belfry was begun in 1380, on the site of an earlier tower.The 80 m high structure includes an impressive carillon, consisting of 62 bells spanning 5 octaves.The University of Douai was founded under the patronage of Phillip II, when Douai belonged to the Spanish Netherlands.It was prominent, from the 1560s until the French Revolution, as a centre for the education of English Catholics escaping the persecution in England.An additional larger bell in the summit, a La called "Joyeuse", dates from 1471 and weighs 5.5 tonnes.