All posts by Carl and Lisa


now and over the next few months there are some fantastic Brocantes in and around Hesdin, just the place to visit, to pick up the odd curio, and when you have had enough of the Brocantes, how about.
The Fromagerie in Montreuil-sur-mer, which is also open on sunday morning. Also, the Chocolaterie also in Montreuil-sur-mer.

Market days

Montreuil Saturday
Hesdin Thursday
Etaples Tuesday and Friday
Le Touquet Thursday and Saturday
Berck Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (Place de la Marie) Wednesday and Saturday (Place de l’eglise










Spring has arrived France, and from April until September the 2nd Annual  Normandy Impressionist Festival offers an array of exhibitions and other events, in upper and lower Normandy.


In the city of Rouen in early June is the Armada Festival, with more than 50 tall ships sail into the harbour.



and much much more check back soon




Hey , we all know how January can make even the most energetic of us feel down at mouth.  Cold dreary weather, lack of sleep, etc, etc, To help you out of the doldrums, why not book a holiday!

Research shows that going on holiday is key to creating happiness,  A holiday gives you the time to do things that make you “happy”.  Here at Pres  De La Foret, we are all about being Happy.

Food, comfort food we all love it, but Omega 3 block chemicals that can cause a low mood.  Plenty of fresh fish can be bought at Etaples.

A local town with fantastic fish markets.  Salmon, mackerel,  tuna, crab, sardines, the choice is endless.  So fill up and take back to Pres De La Foret,  and cook up a storm.







Today I am at home waiting for Christmas day to arrive. The tree is up and decorated all the food is gathered, cards are written., and presents are wrapped.

How much has changed in one year, friends and family who are no longer with us, children growing up and new additions. Very mild and inclement weather, but it’s all part of life tapestry .

We are looking forward to our new season at Pres De La Foret, welcoming new clients and old friends.

As always the work continues, and we have made some changes in the garden, planting trees and bushes and clearing others.

To home
heart to heart
from one place to
the warmth and joy of
brings us closer to each other


A delicous thick and warming winter soup


250 grams lentils (split)
1 leek (sliced)
1 sweet potato
2 large carrots
1 stick celery
1 glove garlic (finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
1.2 litres water
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
3 teaspoons bouillon powder, low salt.


Place all ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Skim the top if necessary.   Cover and simmer for 20 – 25 mins,  or until vegetables are tender.

Allow soup to cool slightly,  remove the bay leaf. and puree the soup. Reheat ,  and season with black pepper.

Serve with fresh French baguette ,   optional grill some bacon, and add pieces to soup.


There are many Christmas markets in and around northern France,  which are well worth a visit, below are to name but a few.

Calais market, held in the 2nd week December, usually around the 12th December 2014.

Boulogne market 15th December 2014

Cite of Europe, is just a few miles from Calais, a Christmas extravaganza , everything under one roof.

Address Christmas market, usually held on a Sunday around the 14th December 2014, where you can enjoy a mulled wine and hot donuts.

Lille Christmas market, is held from the end of November until the end of December in the Place Rihour, over 65  christmas stalls, exhibitions, and theatrical performances.




Serves: 8

675g fresh sweet cherries, stones removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons caster sugar
8 egg whites
250ml skimmed milk
250ml double cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and crushed
3 tablespoons kirsch
1 tablespoon icing sugar for dusting
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Prep:40min › Cook:45min › Ready in:1hr25min

Preheat the oven to 170 C / gas 3. Grease a 25cm flan tin, or a similar sized baking dish.
Spread out the cherries in the bottom of the prepared tin, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and cream. Stir in the kirsch and vanilla bean. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until smooth. Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture, and pour it over the cherries.
Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until puffed and browned. Let cool until the top sinks in slightly. Dust with icing sugar before serving.



Hesdin in Pas de Calais

Hesdin – River Canche runs between the 16th Century houses

The lovely town of Hesdin lies in the heart of the Seven Valleys at the confluence of the rivers Canche and Ternoise.

Hesdin was until the 16th Century under the jurisdiction of the Counts of Artois and subsequently the Dukes of Burgundy (Bourgogne). There are ancient tales that Hesdinonce possessed a pleasure garden to rival that of Versailles in Louis XVI’s time – a garden that was visited by the most influential Kings and Queens of Europe who marvelled at its wonders.  The gardens were created by Robert Le Pieux who had been at the Court of Palermo where he was introduced to some magnificent autaumatons. He chose to locate the garden between the rivers Canche and Ternoise, an area of outstanding beauty as it is now and his gardens were famous for more than 250 years and no wonder.  Inside the vast walled area was a wooded garden with streams, an aviary, where birds and paintings which were automatons would spill water from their bills on unsuspecting admirers. Exotic animals in cages, stuffed beasts, a glass chapel, machines that sprayed guests or tipped flour or coloured powder over them.  Wooden character automatons which clubbed those who drew near, a bridge which could give way and dunk careless visitors in the water – Robert Le Pieux and his team of creators certainly had a sense of humour.

Sadly, the gardens are lost – thanks to direct orders from Charles V of Spain who wanted to punish the people of Hesdin for their fidelity to the King of France.  The Spanish regent ordered the complete destruction of the old town of Hesdin in 1533 and then rebuilt a new town just 6 kms away.  Just over a century later the French laid siege to the town of new Hesdin and under the reign of Louis XIII it was recaptured.

Hesdin in Pas de CalaisThe signs of occupation are still in evidence amongst the cobbled streets of the town. The impressive Town Hall built in the style of the Renaissance bears the Spanish coat of Arms and Flemish style architecture predominates, it also boasts a carillon, which marks the hours. The town is also known for its wonderful 16th Century Church of Nôtre Dame with its fantastic stained glass windows

These days though the town is a magnet for the British, Dutch and Belgian expats and holiday makers who have discovered its charms and whose locals have made them welcome.

There’s a great market on a Thursday morning, plenty of very good restaurants, festivities throughout the year and lots to see and do in and around the town.

Things to do in Hesdin

Carnaval de Hesdin March

Good shops and restaurants, cafes and bars

The town boasts a fine central square and an ancient Flemish style town hall with a carillon, which marks the hours

Cookery lessons Weds/Sat at le Fils du Temps

Thursday morning market

Musical concerts in the summer in the main square

Visit the remains of the castle in old Hesdin (Vieile Hesdin)

Useful website for what’s on is the 7 Valleys Tourist site

Tourist office is in the main square (they speak English!)


The 15th Century Fressin Castle flourished under the Dukes of  Burgendy, the castle was ruined in in early part of Louis X!V”s reign after years of  fighting between France and Spain.

During the 15th Century, John of Crécuy, friend of the Duke of Burgundy built the castle, and held court to artists, poets and many learned men, and kept a good library, when few could read.

The castle was largely destroyed  in the Frondes revolt, and today you can visit the ruins with a slideshow and audio tour.  Well worth a visit.