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 (Energievelo.fr).

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 (Ojem.fr/touquet-resort-kids).

And on the northern beach, discover sand dunes and horseriding, £45 for 90 minutes (Centreequestre-letouquet.com).

Don’t be miserable

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

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 (Lachartreusedeneuville.org).

FYI

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 (Naturaflora.fr).

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 (Lacavedemontreuil.com).

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 deselfes.fr).

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

Get your caffeine and muffin fix at Latte Coffee (Lattecoffee.fr).

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 (Maison76.com).

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 (Ardeevin.fr).

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