A Travellerspoint blog

October 2014

French Weekend

Jour Un

Way back in the spring we went to a free travel show at the Dover Ferry Terminal and as usual entered loads of competitions to win cruises and holiday. In the end we did get a lucky a free night at the Youth Hostel in Boulogne sur Mer. Over the last thirty or more years I have stayed at loads of hostels in mainland UK and across in Europe. Most have been really good and some average but none have been a let-down. In some places, they are really cheaper alternatives to hotels but you have to choose well.

Also at the show was a small stand from Douai (pron. Doo-eye) in the Nord region of France. Although we had forgotten the leaflets and what they had to offer we decided to go and have a look. The run down from the Shuttle was pretty good and the Insignia cruised along without a hiccup. Douai though has little to offer!

The tourist office furnished us with a map and we saw there were two trails and so we chose the shorted one, estimated at an hour, plus had a quick detour into the market that was clearing up as we arrived. The belfry on the huge town hall was very tall and the river okay bur sadly there wasn't enough to keep us beyond the free two hours parking that a lot of French towns give visitors between 1200 and 1400.

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

Views from Douai

We head for Arras.

The Grand Place is still cobbled and the TomTom had a bit of wobble and the voice started to warble. Luckily, they have built an underground car-park as well. Three floors down and pay at a machine using a debit/credit card rather than the pay and display on the surface. Although we had Euros with us, it was all in notes and not coins for the machines.

We had lunch at the Brussels Café, where we have eaten before. It is not all that expensive and the food is good. We both had their homemade burger and chips. As about as far from a McDonald's "patty" as possible to get.

There were quite a few wedding parties going past. They do the civil bit at the Town Hall and then walk across the Place des Heroes to the church of St John the Baptist for the religious blessing. We followed one on out little walk.

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Next stop after Arras was with a silent TomTom in 2D! Something had gone AWOL in the unit and turning off and on hadn't cured it. We headed towards Le Touquet and Boulogne via the gardens at Sericourt, arriving too late to go in but at last we know where it is for another trip…. And then onto Boulogne. TomTom by now had time to recover and took us right to the door. If only we could have seen the door though. The only indication was the Hostelling International badge high up, about three floors up, on the outside if the building. Checking in and we were given the duvet cover and sheet for each bed. The room, 102 was quite small with two single beds and a massive bathroom. A smaller bathroom might have given space to walk around the beds!

It had started to rain about 30 miles out and so we decided rather than walk and get wet, we'd drive to the Haute Ville and have dinner. The restaurant was okay, the €15 menu was okay, if only the service was a little quicker! We don't usually take two hours to munch through three courses.

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And then it was back to the hostel and bed. It is supposed to be quiet after 2200, the exception is when they have a 80's Disco for a birthday party and then it's Boney M etc. until nearly midnight…..

Jour Deux is another day!

Deuxième Jour

After breakfast on Sunday we decided to head south to the Baie de la Somme, and to Le Crotoy in particular. A couple of years ago we had a short visit there on the way back from Normandy. Although the obvious non-motorway route was to go down the D940 coast road to Le Touquet and Berck sur Mer, TomTom had other ideas and we ventured away from the coast into nowhere, or the hinterland between the N1 and the coast. In the end a road closure actually forced us back to the coast road in any case!

The first stop had actually been on the outskirts of St Leonard, the town that adjoins Boulogne. It was to fill the tank with refreshing French diesel. At €1.242 - litre I was saddened to only get €60 to fill up the pipe. There is a flap to stop overfilling. That price equates to about 98p a litre! At home at the local supermarket it is about 34p a litre more!!!!

After eating out twice the day before we decided to have a picnic instead. The weather was good with temps around 22C and so we stopped at the Carrefour at Rue and bought some food and drinks. As with Douai the day before, parking is free between 1200 and 1400 and we arrived at 1141. To cover out arses we popped 30c in the machine and that took us to 1159! It would be a hard traffic warden to issue a ticket for 1 minute?

Beach Pano

Beach Pano

Leaving the stuff in the car we had a walk from the beach area to the town for a coffee and a look in the shops, just in time for them all to be closing for the day or for lunch. And then back along the seafront to the car and to eat the pizza like food we had bought. It was still warm and the beach was pretty much "tide out", with the bay looking almost shallow enough to walk all the way across to St Valery about three miles away.

Le Crotoy Beach Huts

Le Crotoy Beach Huts

With food eaten, we had another walk along the sands to try and exercise the calories away, instead stopping for an ice-cream!

Le Crotoy

Le Crotoy

Once back at the car it was about 1430 when we set off home, via Audreselles and afternoon coffee. There were delays on the Shuttle due to an earlier breakdown and we managed to squeeze on the back of the train that was retimed to leave at 1827 instead of 1820. The rest of the train was filled with the previous train's cars! Two cars further back in the queue and we would have been on the next one at 1850!

Unlike Southeastern Trains, there is no compensation for delayed travel! You simply have to grin and bear it!

Posted by InvictaMoto 05:56 Archived in France Comments (0)