Tag Archives: Northern France

Northern France – Great Biking Country

This part of France seems to be wonderful cycling country. And if that sounds a little hesitant, it’s only because being a recent recruit to the cycling cause I can’t claim to have a great deal of knowledge about the cycle-friendliness of all of the countryside in the whole of the region.

I was recently persuaded back onto a bike again after Continue reading “Northern France – Great Biking Country” »

Northern France Scores Better Than Par for Golfers

The English gave so many sports to the World that that it’s nice for a change to find one that’s generally agreed to have its origins in Scotland. Although games similar to golf are on historic record as having been played in Holland and other countries, it is beyond dispute that the modern game is derived from the Scottish version.

Devotees of golf call it the greatest of all games. By its very nature it teaches patience, humility, concentration, and even-temper, while good manners and fair play are implicit in the rules. The player himself is the referee, recording his own accidental infractions and always awarding himself the appropriate penalty prescribed by the rules – no protests, arguments or intimidation. Imagine that in a game of football!

Golf came to France with British visitors in the Continue reading “Northern France Scores Better Than Par for Golfers” »

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
much.

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

Restaurant Review: Les Pieds Dans L’Eau at Berck Sur Mer

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

Exterior view of Les Pieds dans l'Eau restaurant

A good seaside place to eat - Les Pieds dans l'Eau at Berck

“The other night we were planning to eat out before going to the cinema in Montreuil.  The film (The Company Men, with Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, in English with French sub-titles) was not scheduled to start until 9pm, so we had plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely meal beforehand.  We had aseafood place in mind, too – somewhere we hadn’t been before – the Brasserie “Les Pieds dans l’Eau”, aptly named as it is on the beach at the seaside resort of Berck (about 12 miles drive from Fort Mahon).   This is the restaurant at Berck’s Agora Leisure Centre which I had noticed while attending swimming club training sessions in the excellent pool there.

Brasserie Les Pieds dans l’Eau, Agora, Berck-sur-Mer, Tel. 03 21 89 87 10

Sandboys Sand-Blog reccommends Brasserie "Les Pieds Dans l'Eau" at Berck

Seafood specialities and wines by the glass.

The restaurant is very comfortably furnished and nicely decorated in a modern style.  It is accessed either through the basement level of the Leisure Centre (the restaurant is actually underneath the seaside promenade) or by steps down to the beach from the promenade.

Appropriately for a seaside restaurant, the kitchen at Les Pieds dans l’Eau leans towards seafood, though salad and meat eaters are certainly not forgotten and will find plenty of choices on the extensive menu.  There are some spectacular-sounding specialities as well as a sensible children’s menu.  You’ll find almost all seaside restaurants in France are well prepared for families with small children – we noticed that Les Pieds dans l’Eau had a good supply of high-chairs available to cope with the summertime family seaside holiday rush.

Comfort and fresh decor at this seaside reastaurant

The comfortable interior of Les Pieds dans l'Eau

We chose to eat inside, although it was a lovely sunny evening, and there was plenty of room at the open-air beachside tables.  We both chose the same cold starter, Tartare de tomates fraîches et confites, copeaux de Parmesan, a delightfully fresh and zingy dish.  Sue had Moules Frites for her main course – it’s virtually this seaside region’s signature dish – while I tested the kitchen with a more demanding Turbot rôti, sauce vierge, escalivade de légumes.  I was very happy with my excellent fish, though I personally found the dressing on the vegetables a little too oily for my taste (most people will probably disagree with me)

There is an excellent choice of wines, including a range of wines you can order by the glass.  Unusually you don’t pay any extra for the “by the glass” option.  A 12.5 centilitre glass is priced at one-sixth of the bottle price.  We chose a very acceptable French Chardonnay from the Pays d’Oc, and since we had 3 glasses between us (only one for me, the driver), we paid for exactly half a bottle.

We had to leave it there without trying any of the interesting range of desserts so that we could make it to the cinema in time, but we’ll be back on another occasion to see what they’re like.

All in all, Les Pieds dans l’Eau gets our Sandboys stamp of approval as a very decent, comfortable and superbly positioned French seaside restaurant.”

This restaurant review is reproduced with the permission of the publishers of  Sand-Blog

Art Exhibition at St Georges – more details

It was unfortunate that the weather was windy and rather cool on Sunday when we paid a visit to La Chapelle de St Georges near Hesdin.

Entering the show by way of a well-restored private roadside chapel adjoining a house which provided a splendid venue, we were greeted warmly and colourfully by David Maiden’s oil paintings.

Jeannete Todd's Raku wall plaques

The wind made for rather uncomfortable viewing of the outdoor exhibits, and ceramic wall plaques by Jeannette Todd had to be removed from their hanging places and displayed, instead, lying flat on the concrete floor of an outbuilding, in case they blew down and shattered.  There was no doubt we lost the opportunity to see this exhibit at its best.

Nik Meergan’s large garden sculptures, on the other hand, lost nothing of their monumental quality in the rather dramatic weather.  His swirling organic creations stood firm while the wind howled through their metal Continue reading “Art Exhibition at St Georges – more details” »

Tunnel rail service – Calais Frethun to Ashford

At a conference to be held at the Westminster Hotel at Le Touquet on Saturday July 31, M. Edouard BRAINE, the Consul General of France in London will speak on the work his department is doing to encourage the development of a “frequent and cheap rail link” between Calais and Ashford through the channel tunnel.

M. BRAINE will also talk about the “Forgotten of St Pancras”, the tens of thousands of young French people for whom London and the UK labour market is the gateway into the globalized world.

M. BRAINE is a remarkable man who served in this region as a sous-prefet, before a distinguished career in the diplomatic service. His riding accident in 2002 rendered him quadraplegic, but he continues to serve his country in spite of a disability that would force most to retire. His present post in London brings him into contact with many of the issues facing British people travelling and working in France.

The conference is to be held in the halls of the Hotel Westminster, Le Touquet, on Saturday July 31 from 17h00 to 18h30, on the occasion of the General Assembly of UPRAT (Union des Proprietaires Residents et Amis du Touquet). Non-members are welcome to the conference but other elements of the meeting will be restricted to members.

Free Classified Advertising in Frogsiders!

Do you have something to sell or something to announce to English speaking residents and homeowners in Northern France?

From today all advertising in Frogsiders Classified section is absolutely FREE OF CHARGE!!

Anyone can place an announcement or advert.  To place your announcement or advertisement, click on the “Classified Ads” tag at the top of any Frogsiders page and just follow the easy instructions.

  • Last chance to see….

    There’s still time to catch the exhibition of paintings by three highly accomplished British artists at 119, Rue Pierre Ledent, Montreuil.  The “Trois Visions” show is on until Friday, June 18

    One of the James Buchanan Johnston paintings in the show

    The exhibition, which includes paintings of many local Pas De Calais scenes, has been a topic of much discussion and praise on social network sites and has also received enthusiastic reviews in the press, including this one from the Journal de Montreuil.

  • Royal British Legion Garden Party

    Frogsiders readers are cordially invited to the Royal British Legion,  Boulogne and Pas de Calais Branch, Garden Party. which will take place at:

    10 Chemin de la Foret, 62270 Boubers sur Canche on Saturday, June 26, 14h00 to 17h00.

    The Royal British Legion is a non-political,  inter denominational and multi racial association with two aims that of honouring the memory of those who died in the many conflicts through out the world , assisting the families of those died and aiding those  injured.

    Please help us help them

    Anne and Jeremy Towler.

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