What to see and do
Situated in the picturesque countryside of the Seven Valleys area, you can explore the many historic sites, for example Azincourt (Agincourt), which has a fascinating, inter-active museum. The Somme, with its numerous World War 1 battlefields, is only a short distance from our home. Memorial monuments include Vimy Ridge, with its impressive Canadian Memorial, Thiepval and Notre Dame de la Lorette.
The town of St. Pol-sur-Ternoise is within easy walking distance of Les Ballastières. Although not large, it is the capital of the region of the Ternois. An agricultural centre and at the crossroads of the routes nationales RN39 and RN41, St. Pol is the gateway to the cities of Arras and Lille, as well as to the countries of Belgium and the UK. It is twinned with Hebden Bridge in the UK and Warstein in Germany. Although much of the town was destroyed during the past World Wars, you can still see some ancient remains, including the old castle, which is now a pleasant park, and there are the cemeteries of the soldiers of the past two World Wars. The body of the unknown soldier, buried at Westminster Abbey, was taken from St. Pol.
St. Pol has a number of cafes, bars and restaurants, including a micro-brewery, where you can find reasonably priced meals. There is also a small cinema, an open-air swimming pool and the SNCF railway station – and if you need to remain in contact over the internet, we have free WiFi.
Other places of interest in the area, to give just a few examples, are:
Montreuil-sur-Mer – a medieval walled town. During the month of July/August performances of the musical Les Miserables take place in the open air.
Arras – enjoy a coffee and cake in one of its large squares; visit the underground tunnels and caves, used from medieval times through the world wars to the present day.
Amiens – visit the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe; have a meal in one of the many restaurants along the river Somme; take a punt ride through the canals of Les Hortillonages.
Lille – walk through the old town and enjoy the wonderful architecture – and the shopping too! On the first weekend in September the Braderie de Lille takes place with mountains of moules (mussels) and lots of stalls selling bric-a-brac.
Le Touquet – the Paris-Plage on the Côte d’Opale with large elegant houses along tree-lined boulevards and a wonderful stretch of sandy beach.
The area of Picardy is not far away with historic towns such as St Valery-sur-Somme which has a small steam railway line that runs to Le Crotoy along the coast.
…and with the SNCF railway station in St. Pol (within walking distance from Les Ballastières) you can even visit Paris for the day – only a 2 hour journey by train.
Parks & Gardens: There are many in the area open to the public.
Markets & “brocantes” – Every weekday you can find a market in one ofthe nearby towns, and particularly during the summer villages often hold “brocantes” (bric-a-brac and antique markets) where you might pick up a bargain.
These are just a sample of the many sights to be seen in the area. We have a number of brochures and leaflets for you to look through. There are also horse riding and other sports facilities in the area.