Blogs from Nord-Pas de Calais, France, Europe

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Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Lille January 14th 2020

Lille The walk from Lille Europe station to the Gare Midi is through a zone of brand new architecture which meets the 19C / 20C buildings in the boulevards by station. It was a bit noisy by night in our hotel near the station, an establishment named, ironically, Hotel Calm. Our first sortie took us along shopping streets to the Opera where we booked tickets for a quartet playing early music, the following night. As night fell there were large numbers of armed police, motor cycle cops, vans and armoured hardware, men and women in riot gear by Beaux Arts Square, we retreated fro a beer, aperos in a bar down by the station before setting off again for the Assiette du Marché, a swanky restaurant which had been the city mint in the past on ... read more
Coliel Ceramics House
Ceramic Fireplace in The Beaux Arts Musee
IT Italian canteen

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Gravelines October 18th 2019

We left the camping site early and hit the road . Eventually we left the road works of Germany and found ourselves on some very rainy Belgian roads. You know you are there when you see the traffic building up around Brussels and hear the dee dum dee dum of the concrete under Gabbys wheels. We needed diesel and stopped at the first garage . We forgot that you cannot just buy fuel in Belgium . You have to go into the cash desk and get your card authorised. We failed miserably as the cashier was disinterested and just pointed and said machine. Not much help. We still had a few miles left so it was not a problem. A few more miles under our belts and tried the second garage. Same story - no diesel ... read more
The square in Gravelines
Vauban fort walls
The path round the gardens

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Arras August 31st 2019

Avant que l'automne ne nous tombe sur la tête... car nous n'en sommes pas encore à deux saisons sous nos cieux... (changement climatique oblige...), profitons encore de ces très beaux jours pour une petite escapade en Bretagne... C'est ainsi que nous profiterons d'une invitation à Bruxelles, à déjeuner chez Pierre et Véronique (avec d'autres amis du voyage à Oman d'il y a deux ans...), que nous décidons de ne pas nous arrêter là mais bien de continuer la route vers la Bretagne où nous sommes venus la dernière fois en août 2016... Certains se souviendront de ce passage mémorable qui m'a laissé l'expérience d'un pied fracturé... suivi d'une embolie pulmonaire... Ah... que de mauvais souvenirs, heureusement oubliés mais qui m'obligeront à être attentive aux petits trous cachés des chemins... quand je prendrai des photos... Pollux mais ... read more

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Calais August 2nd 2019

25 years ago Doug was chosen by the Department of Veteran affairs to officially represent Canada at D-Day ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary Of D-Day. Doug was interviewed by two local newspapers - The Ottawa Citizen and the Aylmer Bulletin - what follows is want Private Kelley had to say about the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944: Aylmer Bulletin On June 2nd we were given a dagger, assault boots, a gun, a piece of paper and 50 French francs. On June 3rd I and 31 others were on a landing craft heading to Normandy. We were supposed to land on June 5th but the landing was delayed by poor weather forcing us to spend an extra night in cramped quarters on the English Channel. We had to eat our emergency rations. We arrived about 4 am ... read more
Ottawa Citizen article
Juno Beach Centre
Juno Beach Centre

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Gravelines July 25th 2019

Woo hoo! Back on the road after the luxury of last year's cruise. The plan was to pack up yesterday and leave today by 7, just as the concrete men were supposed to arrive to lay the new path at our house. All was going surprisingly well until they arrived early and got, well, a bit in the way. Not helped by Seth's desire not to wee (asking Seth if he needs a wee, taking him for a wee, persuading him to wee, bribing him to wee etc etc ad infinitum is my actual life) as he'd rather watch the 'huge concrete mixer'. By some miracle, after one final wee check (no mummy, i don't need one) we left just 20 minutes late, yay, go us! Exactly 6 minutes later, barely on the M1, after a ... read more

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Calais July 16th 2019

Hiking via WWII bunkers to a monastery The rest of the first week of the vacation we continued our hike in northwestern France. We arrived with the ferry in Calais. The Via Francigena first follows the coast south to Wissant. From there the trail goes east via Guines, Licques and Tournehem-sur-la-Hem to the town Wisques where we right according to plan finished the hike. Most people have never heard of these places. Please don't look at a map where we actually hiked these four days. We did actually hike a decent distance each day. But it looks embarrassingly short if you view it on a map of France. The first day's hike in France was very different from what we did in England. The trail from Calais to Wissant follows the coast and much of it ... read more
From Calais to Wissant
To Rome 1648 km. To Canterbury 107 km
WWII bunkers

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Calais May 28th 2019

Who would have thought it? A decent nights sleep on the equivalent of Cheshire Oaks. Gabby the motorhome had her last day in Germany and after breakfast was heading home. We wondered if we would be able to get home easily due to the roadworks but the sat nag proved it worth and negotiated us back to the autobahn. We could see the reason for our delay yesterday. The German government had invested heavily in renewing the roads and this one was a case in point. Not only had they scraped the surface off for retarmacing. They had taken every layer down to the subsoil and were starting again. Even the bridge had been demolished and was in the process of being replaced. All went well as we sailed past Frankfurt airport. In the short distance ... read more
The pancake starter
Third time lucky -

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Lille April 30th 2019

Off to France First step, sort the car up which we duly did - then found out the air conditioning didn’t work even though we had just had it regassed. Having spoken to the garage it seems working out the problem and fixing it was likely to cost more than the car was worth, so we decided to take the Astra instead. Shame as I wanted to get to 250,000 miles in the Touran! We caught the ferry from Dover to Dunkirk before heading to Lille where we met an old friend of Sue’s who I cleverly call Anne from France! The following day we went into Lille itself - me hobbling with my knee strapped from playing too much squash too quickly-Doh! Lille is bigger than I thought with a lovely old town. The Cathedral, ... read more
cathedral door from the outside
front of the cathedral from the inside
Anne ( from France) with Sue

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Calais September 22nd 2018

Gabby the motorhome is sitting on a large plot in the town of Calais in the campsite La Bien Assise. We come here often. It is close enough to drop into on our way down France and handy for the tunnel coming home. It is late and the office is shut for the night so there is nowhere to pay. We will have to do that in the morning. As Glenn wires us up to electricity I head off for the restaurant hopefully to book a table for two. When I get there I am told we can have a table but outside . It is raining, it is cold and windy - why would I want to sit outside? Inwardly seething I sidled off cursing our luck. Why couldn't we book you probably wonder? It ... read more
Le Shuttle - we have arrived
Waiting to load up on the train - France next

Europe » France » Nord-Pas de Calais » Lille September 4th 2018

We have been in France before and for an extended period. On that trip we had a vehicle and spent most of our time in the smaller towns, villages and rural areas. A week or so in Paris is our only real experience of a French city. This time we decided to use the trains as our primary means of transport and check out some of the cities. Not too many, though. We prefer to move along slowly and take our time to have a look around. Lille is relatively close to the Netherlands and Belgium and is, therefore, the first French city we would come to. We had a bit to do at our first French railway station. We needed to collect rail tickets bought on-line, and organise and pay for our French Seniors Card. ... read more
A leaf to be proud of
Bollards mark the road
Chamber of Commerce and the Opera House




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