Beer – part of France’s official cultural heritage, with a long and distinguished pedigree –comes in several colours: blond, amber, brown and even black. While it used to be an everyday drink brewed up at home, these days it’s the result of an expertise that differs by brewer, all of them united by that special French touch. Are there secrets to brewing that they guard closely between them? Dried hops embellishing the ceiling, cosy wooden seating, glasses tinkling, froth tickling lips – it’s a very French scene. You could almost believe you’re attending a wine tasting. But in Esquelbecq, a picturesque Flanders village, it’s tankards that bring visitors pouring in. Here, Daniel Thiriez – one of the first to exchange his office suit for an artisan brewer’s garb – opens the doors of his micro-brewery for a one-hour guided tours.
"They may even get the chance to take part in making cheese, and everyone will get to sample some and to expand their culinary horizons…"
Less than three hours from London and a short hop from Calais, France has cycle routes perfect for family days out amidst lovely scenery and wonderful views.With its mainly flat, traffic-free routes, the Forêt de Compiègne is an ideal spot for outdoors activities for children of all ages. Slow down and relax as you feel the fresh air in your lungs and the wind on your skin. Being up-close with nature stimulates your creativity while making you feel pleasantly tired, and cycling itself is as good for the mind as it is for the body. And unlike in a car, exploring by bike brings it home to you that it’s all about the journey, not the destination, and about spending quality time together as you share special experiences and emotions during your family holidays in France.
in Northern France
Rediscover the pleasure of spending time together as a family, live like a local and support sustainable tourism – all in a natural setting offering plenty of outdoor activities for children.
Take advantage of the school holidays to spend time and have fun with the grandkids, as well as helping to educate them about the future of our planet with a visit to Europe’s largest aquarium.
Family holidays in France are a fantastic opportunity for grandparents to spend more time with the younger generation and to pass on their values and traditions, while having unforgettable days out and learning new things together.
Visiting Nausicaa with grandchildren will give them new knowledge and an awareness of the importance of sustainable development, as well as lasting memories of an amazing fami-ly day out."
Escape to the peace of the Marais Audomarais
Let the power of nature relax and revitalise you
We’ve a bold claim to make: in a corner of our beloved Northern France we’re hiding the ultimate haven of peace, a place which combines the charms of nature and the healing balm of solitude.
It’s easy to assume people are exaggerating. You’re probably tired of holiday companies who promise the moon on a stick, a paradise as otherworldly as it is unachievable. So if we told you that the Marais Audomarais is a unique hideaway, you’d shrug and assume hyperbole, right?
Well, sometimes you can trust the blurb. This haven near Calais, is a wetland that lies at an unusual intersection of coast, Flanders land and Artois hills.
A forest full of history
"On October 31 we hope to gather 150-200 participants who will start at the for a stage from Compiegne to Beauvais. The next day we will bring the cyclists from Beauvais to Arras where on November 2 we will climb the Vimy Ridge to arrive at Ypres in the evening."
Popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders, the Compiègne Forest covers almost 40,000 acres that are criss-crossed by over 1,000km of roads, paths and trails. Linking idyllic hidden villages, the Château de Pierrefonds, restored by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, and Compiègne itself, this lush forest has long been a favourite destination for kings, emperors and commoners alike. However, this peaceful, relaxing escape from the pressures of the 21st-century can also lay claim to having witnessed two of the most momentous events of the last century. And November 2018 will see the centenary of the Compiègne Forest’s most famous moment in the spotlight of history.
Perhaps it would have been more fitting for the representatives of the two great armies to have marched out into the Western Front’s no man’s land for the ceremony that brought the ‘war to end all wars’ to an end. For the very document itself to bear witness to the destruction wrought across northern France over the preceding four years of cataclysmic war.
Instead, the location for the signing of the Armistice, was altogether more tranquil. Albeit the event itself was no less momentous. At 5am on the morning of November 11, 1918, a quiet railway siding in a clearing of the Compiègne Forest, some 90km north-east of Paris, saw the leaders of the warring powers assemble in a railway carriage, part of Allied supreme commander Ferdinand Foch’s private train, to witness the ceremony that would silence the guns of the Great War six hours later at 11am.
Riding the Remembrance Routes
on the Somme Battlefields
An organised cycling tour is the perfect way to combine a love of the outdoors with a unique insight into the historic sites of The Great War. Not to forget fine French food, amazing attractions and stylish stops.
A visit to the many memorials, graveyards and historic sites of The Great War bears comparison. Each visitor seeming to understand, without explanation, that these are places of quiet remembrance; their tranquillity today in stark contrast to the events they commemorate. Silent families wandering amongst the graves of the fallen, each no doubt mentally marking a familiar surname – their own name, a friend’s; wondering if they would have returned had they been born a century ago.