Tag Archives: 7 Valleys

La Garenne ~ a funky place for satisfying food and wine

by Ian Blackshaw

Restaurants come and go in terms of quality and value for money. And one such Restaurant that has had a rather chequered history in recent years is ‘La Garenne’ in Huby St Leu, just outside Hesdin.

Grande Salle at La Garenne

My wife and I – and several of our friends – used to go there regularly
until a couple of years ago when the food went off and the prices went up.
Several of our friends – and we ourselves – have had some disappointing
meals there, when all we could hear was the ping of the microwave from the
kitchen as prepared food was heated up and then served!

Recently, we were told that that the owners had introduced a more reasonably priced menu of €19,60, instead of the previous one of €38. So a few Saturdays ago, we thought that we would give it another go – and we were not disappointed. The food was freshly prepared and there was a good choice. To make sure that this was not a flash in the pan, so to speak, we went again on Friday evening. Again, it came up to expectation and we enjoyed it very

I started with escargots a la bourguignonne and my wife with a fish dish, which rejoiced under the French name of ‘dos de poisson a la crème de pistou’ – both delicious. We then chose the ‘plat du jour’, which, to reflect the season, was venison stew with a selection of well-cooked vegetables – the French generally speaking are not good at veggies! These
included – again seasonal – Brussels sprouts – and rosti potatoes, which complemented the venison, which was very flavoursome and tender, very well indeed!

For dessert, we chose one of their famous – and quite generous! – coupes: for me, a coupe garenne with rum and raison ice cream; and for my wife, a fruit berry coupe.

We chose, from their excellent and renowned – but quite pricy – wine list a 2003 Chateau-bottled Fronsac, which was served at room temperature – and, I would add, in the proper bordelais glasses! – and went down very well indeed. Incidentally, they operate a loyalty card system and on your fifth visit to the restaurant you are entitled to a bottle of their finest Champagne gratis!

As usual, we had a table by the fireplace, on which, incidentally, they cook some of their meat dishes.

‘La Garenne’ – as Jaimie Oliver might say – is a funky place, both outside and in, and lives up to its name – the warren! It was decorated for Halloween. Indeed, on the way in through the garden one was met by life-size skeletons and wild beasts! They are also well known for their Christmas decorations, albeit, for some people, somewhat ‘ott’!

The bill came to €67 and, quite full and satisfied, we paid and staggered from our table and, on leaving the restaurant, we went for a post-prandial – and much needed – walk around the block!

We will certainly be back – if only to claim the free bottle of Champagne!

Contact Details:
Restaurant ‘La Garenne’
62410 Huby St Leu
Nr Hesdin
Tel: 03 21 86 95 09
Website: http://pro.wanadoo.fr/la.garenne

Queen tribute concert at Beaurainville

Frogsiders recently heard about an interesting concert taking place soon in Beaurainville.

Fred Camaria of Coverqueen - Freddie reborn!

Coverqueen is a band dedicated to the music and style of the globally famous band “Queen” and its lead singer Freddie Mercury.  They claim to be more than just an ordinary tribute band:  the 5 talented musicians that make up the group aim to carry forward and extend the spirit of Queen.

You can get a flavour of the style and content of their shows on the group’s website http://www.coverqueen.fr

Coverqueen certainly sound very convincing and their stage show looks suitably spectacular.  So if you like Queen’s music but you never saw them perform live, get down to Beaurainville for the next best thing.

The Coverqueen concert is on Saturday August 13 at 21h00 at Beaurainville.

For more information and reservations contact

Tourist Information Point
Place de la Gare
62990 Beaurainville
03 21 81 03 54

Le groupe COVERQUEEN se produit à Beaurainville, le samedi 13 Août 2011 à 21H.

Ce groupe rend hommage aux légendaires membres du groupe Queen et à son chanteur Freddie Mercury.

Plus qu’un groupe de reprise, ces 5 jeunes talents véhiculent et prolongent l’esprit “Queen”… Pour un aperçu de leurs performances, je vous joint l’adresse de leur site internet…

Renseignements et réservations :

Point infos tourisme
Place de la Gare
62990 Beaurainville
03 21 81 03 54

Restaurant La Planquette, Cavron St Martin: good wholesome French country cooking at a reasonable price

My brother-in-law and his wife have been staying with us for a few days to celebrate her birthday and they very kindly invited us out for dinner. They left it to us to decide on the restaurant. This was a great responsibility, given that my brother-in-law enjoys French food and wine and is a member of the prestigious and exclusive ‘Pink Elephant’ Dining Club in Bristol. There, they specialise in French food and wine from various Regions, bringing in Michelin-starred chefs to cook for them! All rather grand and a lot to live up to!

So, it was with some trepidation that I chose a local restaurant, as they do not like to go far in the evenings, even in search for excellent cooking, and wanted a typical local place. The Restaurant de la Planquette is in nearby Cavron St Martin, a few kilometres outside Fressin. It is situated in a charming spot, along side the river Planquette, from which it takes its name, which is a small tributary of the river Canche. The Restaurant has recently been refurbished, but has preserved its rustic style and décor.

The Caron family who run La Planquette seen here in the restaurant dining room (photo: La Voix Du Nord)

We had a table near the fireplace, in which a roaring log fire greeted us. The location and ambiance were an instant hit, so the first hurdle was duly cleared. We ordered an aperitif, a bottle of 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from the Pays d’Oc, and this was served with a selection of charcuterie and crusty French country bread – again, this went a down a treat!

We all chose the €18 menu, which offered a variety of starters, including my favourite snails. My brother-in-law chose trout served in a cream sauce, which again passed the test for freshness and flavour. For mains, he chose steak, and the rest of us chose magret de canard, both of which melted in our mouths. We washed this down with a 2005 Chateau-bottled Bordeaux, which was very good indeed and served at room temperature – in other words, slightly on the cold side, which brought out its flavours. A plate of local cheeses followed, including maroilles, accompanied by a green salad with a delightful dressing. For desert, we chose home-made pastries and ice cream.

By now, we were all well and truly satisfied and decided to have coffee – and a digestif – at home. The bill came to a remarkable €115 for the four of us, including tax and service, which was very friendly and attentive. My brother-in-law pronounced the choice of restaurant a great success, not only offering good cooking – in the cuisine bourgeoise style – but also excellent value for money. I was quite relieved!

Contact Details:
Restaurant de la Planquette
8 rue Mairie
62410 Cavron St Martin
Tel: 03 21 86 90 64

7 Valleys Carol Service – Oops! A mistake in our mailing!

If you received our Frogsiders mailing today you may have noticed a couple of mistakes. First we sent out some of the emails announcing the Carol service on Sunday – it should be Saturday 11th December, and then the link to the detail of time and place wouldn’t work!

In our defence, we sent out the mails in a hurry, as we had just received the notice ourselves. Somehow we got the link wrong. Try clicking here for the notice of the service in full.

December Events – Frogsiders recommends…

December is so often taken up with sending cards, gift shopping, hanging decorations and preparing for family feasts, that it’s often difficult to get out and do anything more entertaining. Frogsiders comes to the rescue with a few really interesting ideas for December outings.

The Franco-British Christmas Craft Market at Montreuil (already featured in an earlier post, but worth a reminder now. This weekend Sturday and Sunday 4/5 December (afternoons only)

Open Studio at the workshop of Scottish artists Alice Johnston and James Buchanan Johnston. Also already featured here, also in Montreuil this weekend Sunday 5 December 15h00 to 19h00

For tennis fans and all sports lovers, the 17th Le Touquet International Women’s Open Tennis Tournament takes place all next week Monday 6 December to Sunday 11 December at the Le Touquet Tennis Club. See the stars of the future (Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin were successful here on their way to stardom) including two contestants who are already ranked in the world’s top 50. Tickets from only 3€. Telephone 03 21 05 02 97

Ice Sculpture Demonstration at St Pol sur Ternoise.  Free!

A free demonstration by Philippe Gondrand, the champion ice-sculptor of France, at St Pol sur Ternoise, Square Warstein, December 11 at 14h00

Fancy something a bit more tropical?  Latin Singer, Dany Brillant stops off for one night, Saturday 18 December, on his “Salsa Tour” to give a concert at the Palais de Congres, Place de l’Hermitage, Le Touquet. Tickets from 36€ Telephone 03 21 06 72 00.

Traditional Winter Fair at Hesdin December 4 to December 12. A traditional event in the town dating back to the 17th Century. The programme includes a winter market on Saturday December 4, and an indoor Christmas Market in the Salle De Manege on the 11 and 12 December from 10h00 to 19h00. Enjoy also, all week, the traditional pork offal and “tripes” dishes which most of the restaurants in the town will be serving as part of the festival.

During December the villages and towns of the Seven Valleys region hold many events – too many to list here, but you can get the full programme by clicking here

Pas De Calais – the Golden Triangle?

Cycling in the Pas De Calais

When we bought our first house in the Pas De Calais, just a mile or two from the site of the Battle of Agincourt, we could reach it in 3 hours by car from our home in Central London.  It was this arbitrary limit on travelling time that defined our search area in the first place, and we congratulated ourselves many times on the decision, as it made it possible for us to spend almost every weekend in France, starting late enough on Friday evenings to take an off-peak rate shuttle yet still arriving at our house before French midnight.

The nearness of the Pas De Calais to the most densely populated and richest part of Great Britain was an advantage to us then, and it remains an advantage now, even though we long ago left London to settle permanently here.  Though the clientele for the holiday gite business we established came from all over Britain, the majority were from the South-East, and it was equally this region that provided almost all our useful out-of-season short break business – the icing on the cake for holiday landlords.

Statistically the Pas De Calais is one of France’s poorer regions, so prices here tend to be lower than in other more traditionally touristic areas of France.  It’s a stroke of great luck (for homeowners and gite landlords, at least) that such an affordable region of France should be situated so close to much of Europe’s most Continue reading “Pas De Calais – the Golden Triangle?” »

Journées des Jardins – Open Days at 10 well-kept gardens

10 gardens and potagers in villages in the beautiful Course Valley will be open to the public this weekend.  You can tour them in any order, just buy your ticket at the first one you visit.

Tickets are 3 euros per adult (children free) and visitors will be treated to tea and scones free at one of the gardens.

Les Journées des Jardins

Saturday July 10 from 14h till 18.30
Sunday July 11  from 10.30 till 18.30

10 jardins d’agrément et potagers ouverts au public

Estrée 1, Estréelles 2 Beussent 3 Doudeauville 1 Enquin-sur-Baillons 1 Hucqueliers 1 Bourthes 2

These are all situated in the Course valley and its surrounding area, just to the north of Montreuil.

Tea, cake and scones offered at Paul and Lalage’s, 156 rue du moulin, Estréelles

Tickets 3 euros to visit all 10 gardens can be purchased from any of the gardens open.

For further information contact Lalage 03 21 81 47 65  e-mail paul.glaister@wanadoo.fr

The Course is arguably the most beautiful of the famous 7 Valleys, and its villages are renowned as some of the prettiest in northern France.  While you’re on the tour, you might also want to stop to buy some delicious hand-made chocolates at the famous Chocolaterie de Beussent which you’ll pass en route.