caz963: (Autumn asters and butterfly)
[personal profile] caz963
Bonjour - je suis revenue de France!

I got back late Saturday afternoon and am just getting back to normal, really. There was a pile of washing and the ensuing ironing to do, shopping and just a load of stuff to sort out, so I haven't been able to get here before now.

I had a lovely week. The weather was absolutely wonderful: we had more sunshine last week than we did in the whole of our two-week break in the summer! We'd packed extra jumpers and cardis, but didn't wear any of them. We'd rented a small gite on the borders of the Pas de Calais and Picardy départements, so it was about 90 minutes drive from Calais. It's just a bit further south from where we went in the summer, so we were pretty familiar with the area and revisited a couple of places while we were there. The gite was pretty much in the middle of nowhere so it was really quiet, and very dark at night - no light pollution!

It was so warm most days, that we were able to eat outside. I think we only had a couple of meals "out" though. Most of the time we'd go to the market and pick up stuff to cook ourselves; I think one of the best meals I've ever had was bought from a rotisserie van in Doullens market - just a roast chicken, potatoes and quite possibly the most delicious gravy I've ever tasted.

I've really fallen in love with that particular area of France. We're going back to Picardy at Easter, and even though we've planned to go to somewhere different next summer, we'll probably keep going back to this part of France. It's not too far to travel, for one thing, even though we have to plan our journeys in order to try to minimise traffic delays this end. We left at 6am to avoid delays in getting over the Dartford Bridge, although amazingly, we managed to get through the tunnel without getting stuck in traffic on the way back. There were, however, delays to the Eurotunnel service for some reason, which was a bit of a pain, but it wasn't a bad journey other than that.

Anyway - pics. I actually made a nice online scrapbook of these pics, but LJ won't let me embed it, so if you'd care to look at it, it's over at Beeclip.

Alternatively, here are the pages I made. I'm afraid they're on the large side, but whenever I try to resize things on here, the ratios seem to go out of whack, so I've left them alone!

St. Valéry-sur-Somme is a lovely old town that sits at one end of the Baie de la Somme. You can take a steam train ride right around the bay to Le Crotoy at the other side, which takes about an hour. We didn't go because we didn't really have time but it's on the "to-do" list!

On the way back, we stopped off at Saint Riquier. A huge abbey/church and adjoining museum and college sit in the middle of the cobbled square - it's all very picturesque. I was really pleased with how the shots of the stained glass inside turned out.

Abbeville was a bit of an odd mish-mash of a place in terms of the architecture. But it's a fairly big town, so I suppose it's not surprising that there's a mix of old and new in the town itself.

Doullens is yet another old town (with a fabulous food market!). It's famous for it's 15th century (I think) belfry which is now the local tourist office. There's also a beautiful town-hall, but it was covered in scaffolding, so I didn't take any pics of it.

I remember wondering, before we went, whether the area would be any busier now than it was in the summer, as we'd assumed that the roads were so empty because everyone there had gone south for their holidays! But no - it was just as quiet as before. It was actually a pleasure to drive around over there - and I can't remember the last time I could say that about driving over here!
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December 2012

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