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Short break in Northern France

15 replies

Marina · 18/09/2001 10:13

We want to do an overnighter in December with our two year old son. We don't want to drive too far. I'd be really grateful if anyone knew:

  • Lille. When does the Christmas market start and is it a good destination for small children?

  • Countryside around Calais/Boulogne: are there any nice hotels that make a bit of an extra effort for small children, eg serving a light meal for them at around 6.30pm?

  • Nausicaa. Is it worth going?

All tips warmly welcomed. Thanks!
OP posts:
Paula1 · 18/09/2001 10:23

We had a brilliant day at Nausicaa, our son is 3, but he was a bit scared because parts of it are dark. There are definitely bits that your son would love - there is kind of a display that is made to look like a beach with shallow water and very colourful fish, and also the sharks. Some of it is very educational and probably aimed at school trips so he may be bored by some of the displays. There is a Holiday Inn at Le Touquet - never been but heard good things about it

Triplets · 04/11/2001 20:54

We are going to France this coming weekend the 9/10/11th Nov. We are staying in self catering accomodation in Eperlecque near St Omer, about 20 miles from Calais. There is a chateau and Mme Hemery has 2 s/c units attached. What sold it to me was the fact that Mme will cook you a meal for 80francs a head if you are feeling lazy and brings it into you! Bliss! For summer she has a pool, but she provides some toys etc, and has bikes you can use. I hope it is as good as it sounds, I will let you know how we get on with my triplets! If you want more details you can e-mail me at [email protected]

Marina · 05/11/2001 09:55

Anne, thank you. We're staying in St Omer as it happens, at the Le Bretagne in December. I'd love to hear what Eperleque is like too though - hope you have a nice time. I have a feeling ours is going to be pleasant but lacking the personal touch. We had a lovely response from the Chateau de Tilques, who would have cooked him tea early etc, but sadly this time round it was beyond our budget.
I hear the Sat am market in St Omer is very good and traditional and that the local veg, grown in marshland allotments, is really excellent. The BEER is an added incentive for dh.

OP posts:
Pupuce · 05/11/2001 21:04

I have asked a friend in Lille for the dates of the x-mas market. I'll keep you posted.
BTW - I love Lille - have you been ?

Faith · 12/11/2001 21:49

Hi Triplets, how was your w/e? Hope you had a great time. we are off to France in Dec - I've booked the ferry, but no accommodation yet. Would you recommend the place where you stayed? Was it expensive? Lots of places have rooms for 2 adults + 1 child, but v. few say 2+2, although I expect many offer this in reality. Did you go to Lille? Recommended? accessible? Any other tips ? Look forward to hearing how it went.

Marina · 13/11/2001 13:08

Hi Pupuce, we've never been but do want to go. We thought we might do an overnighter without our son in the Spring as its a bit mean to just take him in and out of shops all day. So we're also interested in any tips for accommodation etc.

OP posts:
Pupuce · 13/11/2001 18:19

I still haven't heard back when the market is but my friend said it was way too commercial and she didn't recommend it (that's her opinion of course).
I don't know about accommodations but I'll ask her.

Triplets · 16/11/2001 23:12

Hi Marina and Faith,
Success! A weekend away that we all enjoyed! The ferry crossing going over was horrendous, 80 mile an hour winds chopping up the channel, 2 out of 3 children sick and mother very nearly! All recovered quickly and headed off to Cite Europe for booze and food for the weekend. Arrived in Eperlecque at 3pm, and first impression of Chateau Holtz was, "oh"! It looks very much run down, but in a nice way. I just fell in love with the place. We stayed in Le Grange, it is a barn conversion so no stairs to worry about and was very nicely done. Not posh but not basic either, so I didn`t feel I had to worry about my three. There is a large lounge, come diner, come kitchen, two bedrooms, one with three single beds and one with a double and one single, and two bathrooms, though no bath but showers. With a large roaring log fire, and central heating we were warm as toast. Mme is english and very nice, lots of horses and three dogs, which my kids loved. The highlight for me was that on Sat night she cooked us a 3 course meal which was wonderful, served it to us in our cottage, complete with white cloth and napkins, all for 80frs each!! We cannot wait to go again! Oh in Le grange she had also left a large bucket of lego and other toys for the kids, what more could I for?

Faith · 17/11/2001 22:44

Sounds blissful, glad you had a good time. Do you have a contact no. for Chateau Holtz? Any other tips on fun things to do / places to visit?

Triplets · 20/11/2001 22:17

You can look up the chateau on the web, and its property ref 7905, or e-mail to [email protected]
Love Anne xx
ps forgot to say that we took the kids to Bolougne to Nausica sea life centre, it was excellant. Harry also went off on his own to visit Le Blockhaus a launching site for v2 missiles during the war, not my scene but he says that its something we should all see. Its in the forest of Eperlecque which we trampled around, all 5 mins drive from the chateau. Bolougne is an hours run.

Marina · 21/11/2001 09:54

Now how spooky is that? The new Chez Nous brochure arrived yesterday and I saw Thea Hemery's property in Eperlecques. Nice to know it has a personal recommendation because it certainly looks very beautiful.
I've heard the Blockhouse and the Coupole are very impressive and we'd go if we had more time. One of the highlights of our holiday this year was visiting the unpromising sounding Museum of the Breton Resistance in Malestroit, and it turned out to be very moving and informative, with an excellent playground and a ride in a very uncomfortable jeep for little britches.
We're definitely going to Nausicaa, not least because it is INDOORS. Heard the restaurant is rather good!

OP posts:
Faith · 21/11/2001 12:57

Thank you very much. Yes, Nausicaa is on our list too! Looking forward to some good food, lots of wine etc

Pupuce · 22/11/2001 19:22

Marina, the christmas market in Lille is open every day in December between 1100 - 1900. It's on Place Rihour.

Faith · 23/11/2001 18:14

Marina, Arras has been recommended for it's Christmas market. Apparently less commercial than Lille, and held in a large square in the centre of Arras, said to be a beautiful old town. I've not yet been, so can't verify this.

Triplets · 25/11/2001 22:26

I forgot to say that alot of families had written in the visitors book at Chateau Holtz, and all said that the Christmas market on a Sat in St Omer is brilliant.

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