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Northern France short break tips - calling Miggy and Hula!

(10 Posts)
Marina Wed 23-Feb-05 12:07:24

Hi ladies, you both very kindly offered some up to date views on what's fun to do in the Pas-de-Calais Boulonnais region for children on five and nearly two...
We are only going for a few days in May but plan to visit Aqualud in Le Touquet, La Coupole for space-mad boy, and Bagatelle if it is any good. Nausicaa is our wet-weather back-up.
Also would love some views on nice, inexpensive-ish, family-friendly eating places in the region. We've heard that Chez Jules in the centre of Boulogne is good.
Have now stopped my "popular Mumsnetters" thread hijack

katzguk Wed 23-Feb-05 12:18:09

will watch this space with you, we're off to pas-de-calais (Le Touquet) in august so will be stealing ideas!

Marina Wed 23-Feb-05 15:42:16

It's such a nice part of France but we have only done overnighters before now katzguk. We've been to La Coupole before and ds adored it (he was 3 at the time, 5 now and still obsessed with rockets AND bombs so it's perfect). It's near St Omer, about 40 mins from Le Touquet I'd guess.

miggy Tue 01-Mar-05 13:16:20

Sorry-been away.
Bagatelle is great, mine were 10/7/5 when we went last year and they all enjoyed it. Plan on it taking a whole day.
Aqualud was not as exciting as I was expecting but we did go when the outside wasnt open-not sure if it will be open in may. Kids enoyed it though and by wandering round the town can be made into a whole day again. There are a few little carousel type rides near the entrance.
Cant help with eating places as we tend to go furthur along-nearer Dieppe.
As a water park I prefer The pool at belle dune, nr le crotoy. Less busy and just as big plus the holiday village has a little playground too. You can eat there whilst still in swimming stuff ie just around the pool and for a fast food place the food is quite reasonable.
As a sandy beach again le crotoy is fab, huge flat expanses of sand and there are lots of great fish restaurants in the town, all of which are very child friendly. Also in le crotoy there are horse drawn trips around the town-depart from the railway station. Cart drawn by 3 huge carthorses working abreast, negotiating narrow streets with parked cars-very exciting! This is also one stop on the steam railway that runs around the bay.
If you havent been to naussica, dont only go if its raining-its actually very impressive. The fish restaurant there is good too.
have a good trip.
Have you somewhere to stay-we stayed in a lovely b and b in boulogne a few years ago-one of the very old houses by the walls-I can give you details if you havent got rooms yet. They had a lovely family room.

Marina Thu 02-Jun-05 10:04:15

Well, we've just returned from an enjoyable short trip in which we failed to get to either Bagatelle or even Aqualud due to the tendency in France to shut lots of attractions on Monday unless it is high season.
But we really did fall in love with the area this time (have only done overnighters before) and are already plotting a proper fortnight's return next year.
We stayed here La Raterie and they were so friendly and welcoming, although I think we were lucky to escape Christophe's "cabaret"...
Lovely food, a really pretty garden with large family rooms opening on to it, friendly dogs (although we think their rescue Scottie has gone into a decline after dd followed him around mieowing at his pointy ears ).
And how nice to get two Mothering Sundays this year !
Thanks for your link Miggy, and belatedly to superstar Janh, whose recommendation of SpeedFerries is now engraved on my heart. Friendly service, decent facilities for children on board (crossing was packed with families and there was a full-scale party in progress in the softplay area, wonder if any others were Mumsnetters?).

tigermoth Fri 03-Jun-05 14:00:43

glad you had a good time, Marina. We're off that area in August.

Janh Fri 03-Jun-05 14:50:44

Oooh, was Speedferries good then, Marina? I think yours is the first actual recommendation I've seen

Glad you had such a nice time, did you enjoy the florid green environnment at La Raterie?

Janh Fri 03-Jun-05 14:53:02

Did you try the turkey of licques in the restaurant?

(btw, while I'm thinking about translations, do you know what volaille is? essbee had it in a salad in Corsica - she ate it but we still don't know what she was eating - it seemed like poultry?)

Marina Fri 03-Jun-05 15:11:00

The florid green environment was delightful if occasionally studded with dog poo from the friendly farm dogs (had forgotten how nonchalant the French are about crotte de chien)!
Volaille is the restaurant term for a lot of chicken dishes so Essbee can rest easy - it is unlikely to have been crow or buzzard (always a possibility on that loveliest of islands that offers DONKEY sausage )!
Do not mock the poultry of Licques young lady...their chickens and turkeys are a renowned speciality of the region, free-range and great big happy birds. They taste yum too, I am happy to report. Licques is one of those lovely French towns that seems like it is 100% closed on Mondays
As well as hommage for the ferry recommendation (we bumped into one of ds' schoolfriends at one of those effing WW2 sites and his mum disclosed they paid six times what we did for a half-term channel crossing) we owe you a letter of thanks for the fab stamp albums. Ds was very chuffed but not chuffed enough to sit down and write without me cracking the whip, which I will now do. How were your hols?
Hope you have as much fun as we did Tigermoth!

calpopscalum Sat 04-Jun-05 16:04:22

yeah, getting back to original message - Chez Jules in the centre of Boulogne is fab! Really loved it! They even cut the kids carrots into little tiny animal shapes - the little boy next to me was delighted with his vache!!!

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