Thursday, September 06, 2007

Arras, Boulogne, Le Touquet

The recipe for a perfect weekend - take two of our oldest friends, a Speedferries flexiticket, 2 nights in Arras and a few antique shops in Boulogne; mix in an unexpectedly magnificent firework display over Arras town hall, a sand sculpture festival on the beach at le Touquet and a generally lovely time and there you have it, a goooood weekend.

Arras Town Hall in daylight:
Arras Town Hall

Arras is lovely, lots of Flemish-style architecture, grand squares and serious - very serious - history. The squares are almost entirely 'new', rebuilt after WW1, but lovely nonetheless, and we saw what was probably the loveliest firework display we have seen - accompanied by a commentary in words and music, it told the story of the town as pyrotechnics burst over, through and from the town hall and belfry. Enchanting. A few more shots to see on my Flickr set of Arras pics.

Arras Town Hall in pyrotechnic-light:
Arras Town Hall
Arras Town Hall

And the Place des Heros by night, showing the beautifully reconstructed Flemish-style heart of the town.
Place des Heros

Under the Town Hall are entrances to the dozens of miles of tunnels, started as medieval chalk quarries and completed as WW1 troop accommodation - and access to the Front, several miles away. Very sobering, and seeing the map of British War Graves (all 693 of them) was a chilling reminder of sacrifice and slaughter.

Some lovely architecture survives of course: here are a couple of front doors that caught my eye:

French doorsFrench doors

On the way back to Boulogne we thought we'd try Le Touquet for lunch, and found the last day of the Sand Sculpture Exhibition - marvellous. Loads more to see on my Flickr set of Sand Sculpture pics (again).

Sand Sculptures at le TouquetLe Touquet

And topping it all off with a few antique shops in Boulogne and a nice piece of furniture on the roof of the car just to prove the point. And Speedferries are offering a deal at the moment - 10 tickets for £220 (that's £44 for each return trip, which is pretty good, as long as the sea cooperates). Hmmm...

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