Tag Archives: Montreuil Sur Mer

More Than Just A Christmas Craft Market

The Christmas Craft Market that Frogsiders prefers is the one that’s held each year in Montreuil at 119 rue Pierre Ledent. This year it will take place on Saturday and Sunday, 1 & 2 December.

First, it’s held in the indoor comfort of a magnificent house with vast rooms. Second, the quality of the craft items on show is first class, and they are all genuinely the product of local craftspeople (unlike some of the stuff at other Christmas Markets). And, finally, it is as much a meeting place as a shopping expedition. You will meet people you know (or would like to know) there, some you may not have seen since last December’s event.

For both shopping and social reasons Frogsiders says “Do Not Miss It!”

Local British Artist’s “Open Studio” Show, Oct 20 & 21

copyright Pascal Mores 2010

John Hutton in his Montreuil studio. (photo by Pascal Mores)

John Hutton is a British abstract artist who has lived and worked in Northern France for many years.  Next weekend, Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21, he is throwing his studio doors open so that the public can take a look at some of his latest work.

Although John usually works in acrylic on canvas, Frogsiders has heard that in some of  his most recent pieces he has been tempted to depart from pure painting in order to experiment with the 3-dimensional effects of coloured and textured perspex.  Visitors to John’s studio may be intrigued to see some of  the results of this new direction in his art.

John and Tricia Hutton

John Hutton’s “Open Studio” show is at La Grange Blanche, 43 rue de Montreuil, 62170 Neuville s/s Montreuil.

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October, 2012.

Opening hours 9h00 – 12h00 and 14h00 – 18h00 each day.

Admission Free

Frogsider Editor’s Note:  The dates originally posted by us were incorrect.  The dates for the Open Studio event, now shown above, are correct.

Les Miserables ~ the spectacle starts tonight!

Montreuil Sur Mer’s legendary summer Son Et Lumiere production of Les Miserables starts tonight in the grounds of the chateau.

Yes, we know it clashes with the opening of the Olympics, but you can’t get tickets for that, can you?  And, anyway, you can always video it and watch it later!

Instead, why don’t you catch the Montreuil show, with its 600 local performers, horses, cannon, gunfire, lighting, music, dance and spectacular fireworks, performed and produced by local people, before the summer weather turns wet again?

Click here for details of performances, actors, the history and the story.

A Tourist Day Out and Restaurant Review

We are pleased to re-publish a piece including a restaurant review which appeared recently in “Sand-Blog”, an occasional journal written by Frogsiders publisher and local gite owner, Patrick Hay.

“Yesterday was my birthday, and in keeping with a family tradition that now

View from the fish quay at Etaples

stretches back 12 months, we took part of the day off to put ourselves in the place of our Sandboys holiday clients, and go and do something “touristy” in the region. This time we drove a few miles along the coast to have a look at Etaples and, in particular, the Museum of the Fishing Industry, « Maréis », which we had heard was well-presented and very interesting.

Etaples used to be one of France’s biggest fishing ports in terms of the tonnage of fish landed, but over the last 50 years, the estuary of the River Canche has silted up to the point where today’s larger fishing vessels are unable to use the harbour. The fishermen of Etaples, however, unwilling to lose the town’s major industry, have simply moved their boats a few miles up the coast to the port of Boulogne.

The fishermens’ cooperative of Etaples numbers some 50 boats in its fleet. Most of them sail at the beginning of each week and remain at sea until Thursday or Friday when they return with their catch, a proportion of which is retained by the cooperative for sale in their own fresh fish shops and restaurants in Boulogne and Etaples. Some of the boats keep back a little of the catch to be sold direct to the public from the stalls on the fishmarket quay at Etaples.  Each stall is decorated with paintings and the colours of the boat to which it belongs. Altogether, in supplying, manning, and maintaining the fleet, marketing, processing, transporting, selling, cooking and serving the fish, the cooperative provides work for thousands of people in Etaples and Boulogne.

MAREIS in the old "corderie" at Etaples

At Maréis you can see how the different types of fishing nets work and the variety of fish that are caught in the Channel waters between France and the south coast of England. There are aquaria where you can see the fish up very close, and rock pools where crabs crawl among mussels, starfish, oysters, scallops, shrimps and other seashore creatures. You can stand on the bridge of a modern fishing boat with its radar screens and depth sounders demonstrating the complicated world of the fishing boat skipper. There are guided tours and demonstrations, and films showing life on the boats are screened.  Finally there’s a tank where you can gently stroke rays, as they swim playfully around from one hand to the next.

We enjoyed our visit, and left via the shop where we found some nice books, games and souvenirs including a soft toy in the shape of a ray.

As a special birthday treat in the evening we had dinner at a restaurant in Montreuil which has been getting exceptionally good reviews recently. As

Magret de Canard with lovely sauce, crisp potato cake and vegetables

a result of one of the best meals we’ve eaten in France for many years, we can thoroughly recommend L’Atelier 26, in rue d’Hérambaut.  It looks like an ordinary bar or cafe from the outside. Inside it is furnished sparsely and simply, but it is warm and there is a friendly welcome, and above all, the food is top quality at reasonable prices. After a delightful complimentary appetiser and excellent seafood starters, our main courses were Haddock with a Smoked Herring sauce, and Roast Breast of Duck with a Cocoa Bean and Hot Pepper sauce. Both were superbly cooked, beautifully balanced for flavour, and nicely presented. The “moelleux au chocolat chaud coeur coulant caramel”, Chocolate “Moelleux” dessert with a fondant centre, was superior to anything we’ve had in top London and Paris restaurants. Normally a 3 course meal of this quality would cost almost double the 65 euros we paid for two, including wine and aperitifs.

Photos of L'Atelier 26, Montreuil-sur-Mer

L'Atelier 26 at Montreuil sur Mer

We’ll certainly go again to L’Atelier 26 soon and report more details. It seems it is open at lunchtime Monday to Saturday, and evenings on Friday and Saturday only. They will serve a simple omelette and chips, or a full three course meal. On the evidence of our one visit, value-for-money is outstanding.”

This photo of L’Atelier 26 is courtesy of TripAdvisor

French classes in Montreuil sur Mer

Hannah France writes to let us know she’ll be starting her French classes for adults (and children’s classes, too) again, soon.

“Some of you have heard of me, some of you not!  I’m Hannah and I live in Montreuil-sur-mer.  I run French and English lessons for children and adults.  This September I’ll be starting French lessons again having had six months off on maternity leave.

The classes mainly revolve around you and what you want to study.  Together we organise the programme and usually we work to a ten-week block.  My focus is to get you talking in a relaxed and friendly environment where everyone feels confident to have a go!

I try to keep class sizes to around 10 maximum.  The day and time is yet to be decided as this will mainly depend on your availability. This year I’m hoping to have two groups – one for beginners and one for the more advanced.

If you are interested, or maybe know someone else who might be, please get in touch”.

More details on Hannah’s website www.hannahfrance.com

or from Hannah at 03 21 06 44 43

  • 4 British Artists announce a summer show at Montreuil

    Last year’s group of 3 has become this year’s gang of 4 with the inclusion of Frank Banfield along with regular exhibitors James Buchanan Johnston, Alice Lawrie Johnston and Peter Wyart.

    All 4 artists have homes in or around Montreuil. We look forward to an opportunity to examine the ways in which this common experience might impact differently on 4 separate artistic visions.

    Restaurant Review – Art by the Yard and a Vegetarian Menu

    This review first appeared in Frogsiders Magazine section in 2009

    According to the Michelin Guide there are a number of good restaurants in Montreuil. Curiously, though we’ve tried several, we’ve never had a really satisfactory meal in the town. We were once treated by friends to a meal in one of the more highly rated Michelin listed places. We’ve never gone there again. The place was scruffy and uncomfortable, the service was sloppy, and the food was dull.

    We’ve heard good things about the Chateau, and of Jeroboam’s at the Hermitage hotel, but on this occasion we wanted to try out the vegetarian menu at Les Hauts de Montreuil, a hotel and restaurant, not Michelin listed, in what is claimed to be the oldest building in the old town. The hotel is a member of Logis de France, a label that we’ve often found to be a reliable guide where there’s an absence of Michelin, Gault Millau or other recommendations. Hotels in the Logis de France guide are required to meet high standards, including having a decent restaurant.

    Beams, bricks and large oil paintings characterize the comfortable dining room

    First impressions were good. We were greeted at a reception desk and shown to our table on the upper of the two floors in the split-level restaurant. The tables are large and there’s plenty of room between them so you feel comfortably private. The room is in the oldest part of the building with old beams and exposed brickwork. There are also some impressively large oil paintings which lend an air of expensive luxury – if art were valued by the square metre these would be priceless. Without delay aperitifs were served accompanied by some truly delicious olives and a few dainty bite-size savoury pastries. By now, with a Kir and a Coupe de Champagne in hand, there was a palpable feel-good factor in the air.

    I have often eaten totally vegetarian meals and enjoyed them, but this time I chose from the normal 32 euro menu, while my wife Sue, who eats no meat, took the vegetarian menu at 29 euros. Worried about the drive home, and at the suggestion of the maitre d’hotel we ordered a 50cl pichet of very decent house red instead of a bottle from the extensive wine list, which includes a number of rare classics. So far, so good

    ‘Aioli du Maraicher à la Provencale’ - a vegetarian dish here served with an optional portion of fish for non-vegetarians

    There was nothing wrong with either of our starters. My “Flamiche Montreuilloise”, a cheesy tart with leeks and smoked duck’s breast, a speciality of the house was a tad oily, but the sharp dressing on the accompanying salad counterbalanced it well. The vegetarian choice of “Mousse de Betterave au Crusty de Patate Douce, Sorbet Betterave” certainly looked good, but my wife, a great fan of beetroot, hinted that it was just a little short on flavour. As I hate the taste of beetroot I would have praised the chef for subtlety and given him an extra mark.

    Our main courses and the desserts that followed were less good. My generous “Roulade de Mignon de Porc”, stuffed with prunes and lardons, was nicely cooked but not particularly well presented and its ‘speculoos’ flavoured sauce was overpowering and too sweet for me.

    Roulade de Mignon de Porc, stuffed with prunes and bacon, and a “speculoos” sauce

    My cabbage, too, was laced over-lavishly with strongly flavoured lardons, and looked as if it had been prepared too far in advance and re-heated once too often. Sue thought her “Aioli du Maraicher à la Provencale” was far too oily and strong. These disappointments were not made up for by the desserts. My ‘Soupe de Fraises’, apparently a speciality, was too sweet and its decorative dobs of chantilly came, rather obviously, from an aerosol can. Sue’s ‘Pudding Maison sauce chocolat’ looked unappetising even to me, and she could manage very little of the stodgy lump.

    So, unlucky again, we left Montreuil a little disappointed. Although we dined in comfort and style and received excellent service, we felt let down by the chef’s unbalanced flavours. The bill was about 90 euros including aperitifs. We won’t be rushing back there, but would probably give it another try on another day. Go there for comfort, ambiance, and generous helpings rather than a gourmet experience.

    10 great things about Montreuil – (restaurants and history apart)

    by Lesley Delacourt

    (Article first published in Frogsiders Magazine – Summer 2009)

    If you know Pas de Calais well, you’ll probably have been to Montreuil sur Mer and know that it has a Michelin-starred restaurant and about 15 other places to eat. You’ll probably also know that it was founded in 987 AD and wears its history (which is amazing! don’t get me started) and other charms on its sleeve. But there is more besides the Citadel, the museums, the Saturday market, restaurants, cute little theatre/cinema and small choice of chi-chi shops.

    Behind the scenes there are (at least) 10 other great things about Montreuil, that may take a bit of digging around before you’ll come across them, but they are delightful when you do. In no particular order try:

    1.    Summer Sunday afternoons outdoors jazz and blues concerts as the sun sets at the Creperie in the Rue Clape en Bas. Last month pony tailed duo “Pere et Fils” between them played double bass, ukulele and guitar. “Fils” is 12 years old and is already an accomplished musician, especially impressive as he’s only played double bass for less than a year. Have a drink or a crepe while you listen to the music; a crepe with ratatouille and Maroilles cheese is a great snack or light meal.

    2.    Saturday Auctions. The furniture auction rooms are more or less opposite Le Patio hotel/restaurant (great food and a pretty courtyard for summer dining) on the main cobbled street that winds through Montreuil. You don’t have to attend the whole auction; check out the reserve price of what you want, leave your bid and go back later to see if you bid successfully for that pretty 18th century boat bed.

    3. Malins Plaisirs. Sometimes 10 days, sometimes 2 weeks depending on each year’s state subsidy, the festival of Malins Plaisirs (Wicked Pleasures) takes place in August. There are opera and theatre performances, concerts and talks, visits to surrounding historic villages, wine and food tastings, all of them very professionally performed by artistes who use Mailns Plaisirs as a glorious dress reherasal for winter in Paris theatres. Good humour, surprise and aplomb are the order of the day. In particular the Last Night is Continue reading “10 great things about Montreuil – (restaurants and history apart)” »

    1 2 3