18 March 2013


The waterwheel at the Musee du Moulin
Due to a combination of sickness and atrocious weather our original trip last month for Claire's birthday never happened and I had to re-book the ferry for another date.  With so many things to do at weekends it meant that it had to be the 17th March.

A Sunday. Not ideal for day trips to France, as unlike us in the 51st State most of the shops are shut. Some local bakeries stay open as the French like to eat fresh bread with their meals and poo-poo (pah?) the idea of that white spongy stuff in a plastic bag we like to call bread.

Heavy snow fall last week that extended into the early half of the week meant that our horizon was set a lot closer than usual.  In fact Wissant.

Wissant is a small coastal town just south of Calais.  In fact, using the autoroute took us a mere 20 minutes to get there from the ferry.

Lunch was at La Chaloupe in Wissant. A new build on the edge of town just off the D940 coast road. Inside though it has been tastefully decorated and has wood panelling and floor boards. Most of the reviews on Tripadvisor were very positive with the exception of the last one before we went.

We were very boring and ordered the same things, soupe de poisson for entries and then steak for mains. All served and cooked to perfection.

Once we had eaten we drove down into the town and remembered we had been there before a few years ago on a day trip with friends, that time on the bikes.  The plan was to have a walk to maybe offset the calorie intake but within minutes the rain started again.

Not before we had a look around the village.

Here's some views:

Hotel Normandy

Musee du Moulin

Hotel Vivier Terrase

Hotel de la Plage

Once we had rushed back to the car to get out of the rain we had a drive along the coast, southwards stopping at a newly renovated car-park at the amusingly named Dunes de la Slack.

The local authority have cleared a lot of the scrub and are trying to get the dunes back as they should be. The area is littered with concrete courtesy of the German Army as it was a major part of the Atlantic Wall. They have started to clear it but the "beach" is still littered with concrete and other crap.

From the car-park, the new(ish) wooden steps go right down to the sea. Once cleared it will look really good.

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack

Slack Dunes
Dunes de la Slack
On the way back up towards Calais on the D940 we came across some snow banks where the ploughs had turned it all off the road. We don't generally have this much snow here. We live in a pretty temperate climate. Not too hot in the summer and not too cold in winter.

Snow Bank
Snow bank

One of the places we have visited before and one that usually merits a stop is the Todt Battery, housed in a huge bunker built by the Germans. Of the exhibits the biggest is the railway gun. A huge cannon capable of lobbing a large explosive shell across to the English coast some 30 miles away.

Disappointingly, they have fitted a green plastic screen along the wire fence that obliterates the free view. So instead, we took a few pix of the donkeys in an adjoining field!

Todt Battery native neigh-bours

From here it was but a short drive back to the Port of Calais and the "Spirit of France" back home.

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