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Living in FranceSpotlight on: Pas-de-Calais, Hauts de FrancePas-de-Calais is a department of contrasts. Dramatic cliffs and beautiful sandybeaches of the Opal Coast reach out to lush green valleys and bucolic countryside,it’s an area that’s peppered with picturesque villages and historic towns says JanineMarshMost people think of Calais as a landingpoint for a holiday elsewhere in France. Withtwo ferry ports Eurotunnel and Eurostarstations in the department, visitors arrive intheir millions and whizz straight onto themotorways, headed south.But if you hanker after the good life inFrance where street markets, boulangeries,fromageries, cafés where you can watch theworld go by, chateaux and gateaux are a wayof life and you want to be close to the UKfor family or even for work, this is an areathat should be considered.
Real France on your doorstepPas-de-Calais, Hauts de France, is a bit of asecret part of France. Perhaps because it’s soeasy to get to, there’s a tendency to dismissit as not real France - but nothing could befurther from the truth. This is authenticFrance at its best.A short drive from the busy port town ofCalais you’ll find enchanting fishing villages,verdant farming hamlets, ancient forests,historic towns and magnificent coastaltowns.The weather is similar to that of Devon orCornwall. Agriculture is one of the mainindustries. There are vast fields ofvegetables, wheat and maize, sugar beet andchicory. The marshlands of Saint Omer arefamous for their vegetable growingproperties. This is hop (beer) country, morethan vineyards, but wine and champagne aregrown in the region, in Picardy, andneighbouring Champagne is easy to get to.Pas-de-Calais is said to be one of thefriendliest places in France and the localshave an enduring passion for their heritageand long history. The land is marked by astrong connection with England which onceruled Calais, and by battles going backthousands of years. Julius Caesar launchedhis conquest of Britain from Boulogne, one ofthe most famous battles of the HundredYears War took place at Agincourt and HenryVIII met his rival, French King Francis I, onthe so-called Field of the Cloth of Gold nearGuines. And the scars of WWI and WWII willremain forever.These days the department is home to acultural centre dedicated to Entente Cordiale,at Hardelot, the only one of its kind inFrance.
RecipesDelicious French dishes and
Pays de SaultThere are few more bre
Spotlight on Apt
Apt in the department of Vaucluse,
Treats and sweetsHead to rue des Ma
Take home a souvenir of AptThe clay