As we pulled away from our parking spot, Mac let our a little whimper as he left his favourite sand dunes behind. And if dogs cry then Mac sobbed his little heart out. We shuck his paw and promised him a summer filled with plenty sand dunes.
After about 20 kilometres we pulled in to a free village aire at Montreuil. The once seaside town was originally called Montreuil sur Mer. However, they dropped the ‘sur mer’ when the tide changed and the village found itself about 10 miles from the coast.
Our Bumble Free Aire Montreal GPS Position: N050.458972, E001.759593
In the comfort of Vin we had a spot of lunch and expresso coffee. Ahhh the aroma of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread, nothing quite beats it. As we sat munching our butties we watch an elderly couple in an adjacent house trim their hedges, pot of geraniums and enjoy life in the sunshine.
Montreuil is a “ville fleurie”, which means flowers galore and window boxes bursting with colour. Wild flowers line the grass verge as you walk to town but the best flower display of all was from a nearby field. A captivating field of blue, bluebells or lavender, we are not sure but it sure was stunning. Reminded us of the lavender fields at the museum at Sentient du Vallon, so we are guessing its lavender. Rose bushes lined the entrance to buildings and wisteria clung to the old stone balconies. Rockeries outside the town hall to potted pansies outside the bistro. Its fair to say the town loves flowers (click to enlarge the photo’s).
Montreuil’s walled town offers walks along the ramparts, which circle the upper town. The splendid views across the surrounding countryside and valleys made for a pleasant couple of hours walk with Mac n Tosh. Students taking picnics on the lawned sections and pensioners snoozing in the mid day sun. Swallows swooped through the poplars providing excitement for Mac n Tosh.
It truly was a beautiful day for strolling. As we gazed down to the wall and out to the countryside, small allotments with old men tending to their patch. Bamboo canes secured in readiness for the beans and bag of fresh manure ready for his prized tomatoes. A perfectly located river just a few strides away with old rusty watering cans on the bank. The scene had a timeless grace.
That same grace was apparent in the town centre. Montreuil is not a big place, just a few old squares linked by cobbled streets. You can saunter down the Rue du General Potez for a bit of window shopping or alternatively, wind in and out down the many narrow back alleys.
Place du General de Gaulle has a nice relaxed feel with traditional theatre building and statue of Sir Douglas Haig, who led the British forces in France during the First World War. In and around the square, cafe and bistro’s offering everything from fast food kebabs to fine dining or if your not hungry, a nice glass of plonk.
Amid the shabby and characterful buildings chocolate shops with mouth watering goodies. Les Miserable chocolatier grabbed our attention but sadly their offerings we rather disappointing with a few soggy and worse for wear buns. Across the road a poster advertising the summer times of Les Miserable performance in the castle grounds. I was gutted it wasn’t summer, its my favourite musical….I dreamed a dream of time gone by…lalala. Montreuil is where Victor Hugo set part of his famous novel and each year the town celebrates and stages the show with over 600 parts played by townsfolk.
After several hours walking around the ramparts and weaving in and out the alleys, it was time to head back and chat with our Yorkshire neighbours.