Old church, CalaisIt was a steady drive from Reims up to Calais, part of it on ‘A’ roads as far a Laon – which looks like its worth a stop-off next time we’re in the area, and the rest of it on toll motorway. We just wanted to get there with enough time to look around, as we’d not really spent any time in Calais itself before.

We’d booked into the Hotel Meurice, situated in what must once have been a favourite spot for travellers to stay. The hotel is surrounded by other typically French hotels, there’s even a Mercure. Nevertheless, the area is a little run down and has the character of an out-of-favour Victorian holiday resort in England. That isn’t to say it isn’t an interesting area.

As we drove into the area (not central Calais) we passed the makeshift camps of would-be illegal immigrants and when we stopped at Bleriot Plage, Sangatte for another picnic lunch, we saw them sleeping between the beach huts. Still, it made for an interesting lunch, with our picnic rug spread on the deck of an unoccupied beach hut. It was fun to watch the ferries going in and out of the port too – so close we could almost touch them.

Ferries crossing

After we’d checked in we went off to check our route to the Euro Tunnel terminal and took the chance to do some hypermarket shopping (mustard and gherkins mainly!).

The hotel was nice, a little faded – just as the others have been, but the bedroom was clean, the linen was crisp and new and the WiFi worked – what more could we want. The restaurant attached, under separate management, was superb. The food was freshly cooked; chosen from a quite brief selection of dishes and tasted wonderful. half a chickenI had half a chicken (poussin) in mustard sauce and this came with dauphinoise potatoes (again), and a garnish of haricot beans, turned vegetables and garlic mushrooms – all delightfully prepared and tasty. Sharon had a cod dish but to be honest, mine was so nice that I took no notice of her food ;-(

And that was that!

We set off back to England on the 10.10am train and arrived back in England dead on 10.00 o’clock. An uneventful crossing this time. The fun came when I missed the turn off the M20 onto the M25 and ended up heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel. But, in the end it mattered little. We made it home in time to unpack and go to John and Carol’s for a well needed meal. 😉


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