Sadly it was time to say goodbye to London and especially to Dominique and Tom. We have loved the time we spent with you both and are looking forward to our return for the wedding at Easter next year. Until then new adventures await.
Geoff has been keenly anticipating a trip on the Eurostar for sometime and so we headed for St Pancras Station to board our train. There were lengthy queues for security checks and passport control so we were glad we had made an early start.
Soon we were off to Lille on a Brussels bound train. The trip was so smooth and comfortable and before we knew it we had travelled under the Channel and were disembarking at Lille. The presence of army personnel greeting the arrivals was a little unsettling as they marched alongside us all the way along the platform to the main station proper.
Our car hire was conveniently located in the station and soon after a few false starts we were on our way to Arras. Keith has done a great job driving on the right side of the road. While we would be reluctant to go without a Sat Nav, our navigator has been quite mysterious at times and we have had to resort to Google Maps on a number of occasions when her directions took us to all sorts of curious paths through back roads and small villages.
We located our charming French Gité on Rue de la Republique and Valerie our host was very welcoming. Our Gité is très chic with all the comforts of home, so it will make a lovely base from which to explore the Nor Pas de Calais region.
Time to check out the local boulangerie and the supermarket for supplies before settling in with some pate, cheese, Belgian beer and French wine for our first ” sundowners” 😉
Arras is a medieval town with a long history of occupation by various forces…Roman, French, Spanish, FIemish over the centuries. The buildings around the main square are in Flemish Baroque style, tall and narrow and often embellished with ornate plasterwork.
On Saturday morning we took a walk into town to explore the extensive markets in the main square and adjacent streets. The town was buzzing and there was so much to take in. I also popped into a grand cathedral gothic style church, St Jean Baptiste L’ Eglise where they were saying Mass… a lovely experience.
This charming and friendly town will be our base as we explore the battle fields of the Somme and Flanders over the next few days. We are going to have a wonderful time here.