Nord Pas de Calais (France 2016)

A somewhat forgotten area, up north from Normandy, in between Belgium and connected to Dover and other white cliff places on the British shore through a tunnel under the sea, Nord Pas de Calais doesn’t boast mountains, mighty rivers, nor, as far as I know, one or more of the plus belles villages de France.

 

But we like to come here, wonder off for the weekend, drive the green sloping départementales, along the poppies and the futuristic windmills. It feels familiar, and actually, it is Flanders, just a bit more hilly. It was Flanders, het Noord-Nauw van Kales, until king Louis XIV took it away from the 17 provinces, end 17th century. That, of course is history.  But merely look at the market place of Arras, and the names of the villages: Northkerque, Ruminghem, Hazebrouck …

We rent an old, dilapidated gîte in Humbert, a one street village with mostly farms. Red roofing tiles, shutters on the windows and iron gates. Starting from the garden a trail goes up the hill, through the meadows, corn and millet fields. Puppies en mud all over. The kids are finally getting a bit bigger and we do walks of an hour, which maybe for some parents doesn’t sound so incredible…

 

A twenty minute drive from Humbert we find Dennlysparc, a small and cosy theme park. Some attractions, are a bit outdated, but overall they suit the needs of our kids. The rollercoasters are not too crazy, the haunted castle is actually incredibly boring. And best of all, there are not that much visitors.

 

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