It was, among other factors, the river Selle that persuaded the British General Smith-Dorrien to halt his retreat in the area around Le Cateau. The steep-sided valley was seen as suitable for establishing a defensive position. Over several hours on 26th August 1914 the British and German armies faced one another, until the British fell back early in the afternoon. The German push finally came in the eastern sector.
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Whether they follow the Escaut, drive along country roads, discover the picturesque alleys of the old Cambrai, fortified farms, museums, learn about Matisse and Blériot, lace ang giants, tourists will understand why the inhabitants of this part of France are so happy to welcome them feel like coming back.