TGTG Rating – 5 */5*
Over night stay – Maison 76
Verdict – C’est magnifique!
So this blog post is all about a previous trip in June last year at where I have to say is the scene of the crime and inspiration for me starting this blog. Oh Montreuil-Sur-Mer how I love thee! It’s also known as just Montreuil. It’s origins actually lie in Roman times and the beautiful cobbled-street town is surrounded by ramparts. It is also the setting for Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables, with Hugo himself adoring and therefore holidaying in the town. Not only is Montreuil quaint, beautiful and typically french it is also a foodies paradise with a range of glorious hotels also.
Let me sum it up for you. If you love France, love food, love wine, love a boutique hotel, love feeling like you’re in a french WW2 novel, meandering the cobbled, atmospheric streets…then this is the mini break for you my friends.
At only 50 minutes from Calais you can’t go wrong for a quick trip away. For us it was a quick taste of France; a quick teaser that took away our cravings of the continent before our next big trip and, although unsure of what we’d find on arrival, it really didn’t disappoint. We simply loved it. In order to sell the trip to my family I did my usual ‘It will be a cheap overnight stay, where nobody has to splash the cash or take out a new mortgage for the hotel breakfast.’ Naturally however we rocked up at the best hotel in town.I simply couldn’t resist. I really tried to book somewhere cheap and cheerful but this place just looked so much nicer. I promise.
I really want that Cockatoo!
Travelling with my parents and hubby for my dad’s birthday, we left on a Saturday morning, via the ferry from Dover to Calais and after a scenic drive (we opted for the coastal route – takes longer but some good views and you drive through some great places), arrived in Montreuil around lunch time. We checked into our B&B Maison 76, which for me just added to the whole allure of the place. The exact tag line on the website is ‘The Apothecary’s Mansion in the heart of Montreuil-Sur-Mer.’ Sounds amazing already right? The owner, an English expat Tim Matthews, I believe was a designer before opening this place and you can really tell. The design and attention to detail is great, hence my subtitle here. I was fascinated by the ornaments and nik naks that were displayed everywhere, particularly the pink cockatoo. I have searched high and low for one since. Unfortunately I can only find one for extortionate amounts and hope one day I will stumble across one in a brocante and my house will be transformed into a interior design paradise.
I digress – essentially I loved it the minute we arrived at the front door. I don’t feel my words can really do it justice. I tend to be incapable of not just getting straight to the point, so I’ll heed that and let the photos do their work.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing and instagram worthy, Maison 76 was a delight in all other areas. At about £200 per room per night (slightly pricey for a B&B in my opinion, but I’d definitely stay again so I suppose it’s worth it), the owner was friendly but not overbearing and the breakfast was divine. I really recommend the brioche that is made fresh at the local bakery every morning. We tried to get some to take home but unfortunately by the time we’d eaten breakfast and packed up, they’d all sold out – epic fail. I feel like more of that brioche would have greatly improved my life. Are you noticing a pattern here?
Itinerary – wine, eat, sleep, repeat?
I laugh as I write that as though that’s not what we actually did but in fairness that’s pretty much all we do when we go to France. I feel like that is the essence of France for me. The minute I have that first glug of wine, or that first moules et frites, I’m there, I’m on holiday, my body relaxes. That may be because we always holidayed in France when I was a child, or I think probably it’s more because the French have just got it right and the rest of us are doing it all wrong.
Anyway Montreuil-Sur-Mer is known for its food so it would have been stupid not to. It’s a foodie town and they actually have a foodie festival every year which looks well worth a visit and is something that’s on my to do list. In the afternoon, we meandered around a few of the local shops, a signature chocolatier and a gorgeous home shop, being two of my favourites. We then took to the town square where we sought out a) a spot in the glorious sunshine b) a charcuterie board and c) a bottle or two of wine between us. We soaked in the atmosphere and wiled the day away doing what we love best. It’s a walled town and I believe the walk around the top has some great views if that’s your cup of tea or you stay longer.
After an hour siesta back at the hotel we headed back out for our evening meal. I had pre-booked at l’anecdote restaurant which had come highly recommended. It was a tough choice between this slightly more formal option and the more informal restaurant Le Patio. We’d opted for l’anecdote as it was a special occasion and looked fantastique! It had a really cool vibe as you can see from the photos. My food was delicious and I definitely recommend the rum baba. My parents however weren’t too impressed with their salad leaf starter (see pics for a laugh). Overall a great evening. A little over priced for the quality of food you normally get in France. If you’re looking for rustic and wholesome I’d try somewhere else.
I love this place. It’s historic, cultural, charming, quaint, relaxed, atmospheric, luxurious, delicious and drunk all rolled into one. It exudes France and you don’t feel like you’ve just got off the ferry. If you’re looking for a quick French fix I recommend Montreuil-Sur-Mer all the way. Tres Bian! (No Del Boy accent implied).