Great Britain

Feast on wine, crêpes and stunning scenery in a medieval French town

FANS of Les Misérables (and melty cheese) won't want to miss out on a weekend in medieval town Montreuil-sur-Mer.

This stunning spot, just an hour's drive from Calais, has everything you could ever want - from sandy shores and historic sites to classic French cuisine.

Find the secret tunnel

LESS than an hour’s drive from Calais, medieval fortified walls enclose the hilltop town of Montreuil-Sur-Mer.

Hit Promenade des Remparts and you can walk around the path on top of the walls in 30 minutes, spying the surrounding Seven Valleys, plus glimpses of gardens, 19th-century houses and cobbled streets as you go.

Then, exit the town through a secret tunnel in the walls for the serene wetlands below and the 10km circular La Hayette walk.

Or hop on an e-bike for an hour’s ride beside streams and through pine forests to the upmarket seaside town of Le Touquet. Bike hire costs £25 a day (

Get sandy toes

DESPITE its name, Montreuil itself hasn’t been “sur-mer” (on the sea) since the English Channel retreated to Le Touquet, 20 minutes’ drive from the town, centuries ago.

Along Le Touquet’s seven miles of wide sandy beaches, you can take a sand-yachting lesson, from £42 for two hours, and spy mussel-pickers to the south.

On the central sands, check out beach huts, a swimming area with lifeguards and a shore-based summer kids’ club – a half-day for ages two to 12 years costs from £13 (

And on the northern beach, discover sand dunes and horseriding, £45 for 90 minutes (

Don’t be miserable

A VISIT to Montreuil’s star-shaped citadel takes you on a brief history tour of the town, £4 (

Then head nearby to the steeply cobbled street Cavée Saint Firmin, which inspired scenes in Les Misérables.

Later, hop in the car for the 10-minute drive to the vast La Chartreuse de Neuville monastery, which was founded in 1324.

The monks left in 1901, and you can now visit the gardens for free, while a pre-booked tour costs £9 (


Sweeten the deal

JUST outside the ramparts, bees are hard at work and you can enjoy the fruits of their labour, from £5 a jar, at Lokaj Apiculture on Rue d’Hérambault.

Just as sweet are the artisanal syrups, marshmallows and fruit jellies made at Natura Flora (

Pop into Fromagerie Caseus on Place du Général de Gaulle for oozing local maroilles cheese – delicious on a baguette.

Stock up on biodynamic French wines at Le Cave de Montreuil – or, better still, buy a bottle and sip it on the secret terrace (

Fill up on flamiche

SAVOURY crêpes, AKA galettes, are a regional fave. The best in town are at Le Clan des Elfes. Try the Ch’ti – ham, maroilles cheese, onions and mustard, from £7 (Creperie-leclan

Le Pot du Clape makes another speciality, flamiche – like a hot quiche with cheese, crème fraiche and fillings, from £10 (

Get your caffeine and muffin fix at Latte Coffee (

After posher fare? Sit on the patio at Le Clos des Capucins for pig’s trotters with bacon followed by caramel crème brûlée – mains start from £17. 

Kip in a mansion

TREAT yourself to a stay at Maison 76, an exquisitely designed mansion. Doubles cost £165 B&B (

Or, set around a flower-filled courtyard, the three chic apartments at Ardeevin sit in a prime spot between the walls and the town centre, from £70 a night (

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