Last weekend we popped over to France. It was actually a 'booze cruise' in that the primary objective (excuse) for going was to buy wine and beer for our son's 21st birthday party next month. Although, as my husband pointed out, it would have been a lot cheaper to save the money we spent on the hotels and meals and buy the booze in our local Tesco.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we can get to France via the tunnel. We left home at 7.15 and we were in the supermarket in Calais buying wine at 12.15 (French time + 1 hour)
Wine bought, we headed along the coast to Boulogne where we were spending our first night. As we headed off to walk along the beach the first thing that struck me was the amount of blue everywhere.
These balls were lining the road in front of our hotel down to the aquarium and the beach. Once on the beach I loved the colourful lines of sand yachts bearing testament to the exposure of the coast line!
After a very windy stroll along the prom, we headed into town to have a look at the shops, passing the fish market which still had a few stalls open.
Reaching the town centre my eye was caught by this antique shop which proved to be a veritable treasure trove of photographic opportunities.
I even ended up buying one of these gorgeous art deco soda syphons
The next morning we visited the Maison de Beuriere a 19th Century fisherman's house which has been furnished in the period and came with a very helpful guide who recommended that we visited the fishermen's memorial on the cliffs above the town. We were unable to enter the chapel but were very moved by the memorial stones which describe the sailors as lost often giving the name of the boat and year rather than the date.
The museum guide had also told us that the fishermen in a neighbouring village were so poor they couldn't afford any kind of home so they built houses using boat hulls for roofs. There is apparently one of the original houses left, but we couldn't find it and had to settle for a picture of the ones they had built in the holiday park!
After a quick lunch it was off to our next destination the Parc du Marquenterre in the Somme estuary. This is a bird sanctuary that we have visited on several occasions but only in the autumn so it was interesting to see what birds were there in the summer. As it turned out the highlights were probably the storks,
some of whom were nesting, and the avocets a beautiful bird I hadn't seen before.
Then off to our hotel in St Valerie sur Somme - I have been trying to book a room in this wonderful gothic pile for years but it's always been full - this year success at last!
Great details and stunning views too! Although sadly our room overlooked the car park.
The next morning it was off to the market to buy some goodies to take home.
If you haven't tried one of these little flat peaches you haven't (if you are a peach lover) lived! Sadly the only place I've seen them in the UK so far is Borough Market which is not very local to us. I also loved the green of the samphire and the attractively displayed waffles
After a traditional lunch in the market brasserie it was time to head back across the channel. But first there was just time to pay a flying visit to the medieval city.
Where we discovered this charming square, full of ancient houses and flowers.
Au revoir till next time!