A week in Northern France, Part 1: the Region

At long last we returned triumphantly to France!

This time, however, it was not to Provence (surprise!), but to completely new-to-us turf: the north. After a rough week for both of us, we packed into the car early Saturday morning and headed off to Cologne for our first stop on the way to our week in Northern France.

The first leg was surprisingly easy. It was the A3, the stretch of Autobahn Germany wears around its waist. Given that it was the weekend before a week containing a Christi Himmelfahrt, we expected Stau and Baustellen. Mais non, it was totally facile.

When we got to Cologne, we met up with our travel buddy from our Shetlands Odyssey. We had a great Indonesian dinner at a restaurant downtown in Cologne (sure felt great to use the public transportation after the 5 hours in the car). We crashed at her place for the night and the three of us set off across Belgium the next morning.

That trip was also quite uneventful. It was about four and a half hours of pretty good roads. Large chunks of our road across Belgium were under construction (narrow, single lane traffic much of the way), so we weren’t quite as speedy as we hoped, but our gas mile kilometerage surely benefited. We arrived in St. Riquier and had a look around.

Our place seemed pretty nice — much more so than the last time we rented a Ferienwohnung in Provence, or in the Shetlands last year. Two full bedrooms and bathrooms, pretty nicely-equipped kitchen, plenty of room for three adults who like to cook.

Our first foray out of Saint-Riquier into the region was to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme at the suggestion of our innkeeper. It was an easy drive, but a wet one. The rain didn’t let up the whole time we were there, but we still enjoyed our drizzling walk along the Somme to the open sea (even spotting a couple of seals hanging around small fishing vessels). We got a tasty lunch of galettes somewhere just before most restaurants would close for the afternoon and drove back to our gîte to warm up and dry out.

The weather stayed pretty drippy and cold like for most of the trip, until — you guessed it — the last day or so. We managed to snag a few shots of Saint-Riquier under pleasant conditions, too:

And we even got these cows1 to stare at us for a while.

  1. Actually, they might all be neutered bulls. Look closely. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t trust us one bit. []

3 thoughts on “A week in Northern France, Part 1: the Region”

  1. Why is it that cows do that? Every photo I have of a cow – or indeed, a band of them – is of it (or them) trying to stare me down.

    I love France. We’re visiting the south of it later this year for a wedding – any tips for the Mediterranean coast?

    1. cliff1976

      Oh hi, Frau!

      Well, sort of. We’ve flown into Nice and Marseille, but spent almost all of our time inland, driving around discovering small towns, stopping for fresh fruit at road-side stands, getting local recommendations on nearby wineries, stuff like that.

      Some of our favorite bigger stops in the region:

      • Aix-en-Provence
      • Avignon
      • L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue (not to be missed on Sunday mornings for the markets)
      • Nîmes

      This was our most recent trip to the region:

  2. […] and our pal Resident on Earth — our travel buddy on trips to the Shetlands in August 2013 and Northern France in May 2014 — was in town for it. She showed me around one of her favorite parts of Munich: […]

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