This part of France, the region of Pas-de-Calais, has seven valleys [has also been known as the Artois Valleys], a chain of rural valley towns and some very attractive villages connected by a series of rivers and streams, many hectares of agricultural land, ancient bog areas, and, masses of woodlands.
It is winter so at the moment it’s rather more of a sleepy charming agricultural area than an area full of visitors. Who are rather more inclined when landing in France straight off the ferry, to head to the sights of the more ‘touristy’areas of further afield. Little do they know what they have missed!
A few years ago, we did the same, that is headed off to the more popular destinations that are, the larger cities of France. So the opportunity to housesit in rural areas [last year was the first time] is a real privilege, and we have given ourselves the challenge to stay within an hours drive of where we are staying and explore in depth those areas.
We are finding that this area is full of history, be it Medieval, the Battle of Azincourt [where apparently the V-sign originated, and the first French Resistance was started] or the infamous battles of the Great War & WW2. Will write more in depth about the areas these battles took place in upcoming posts.
Another fascination is how they farm here. Most farmers do not own the land, in fact, approx 80% of farmers lease the land. We were driving along when I spotted cows under cover. Off I trot to take a photo, the owner comes out and gestures to the gate which I took as did I want to get closer to take more photos. Well, you know the answer to that question! As my French is basically non-existent, I couldn’t ask questions about her farm. Maybe another day.
What I do know is that the used hay and manure is then put back into the land which is no doubt why the soil here looks so rich. Feeding the soil, well done France!!
Another significant impact on the environment is the use of wind generators or turbines.
The use of religious statues is another visual impact on the countryside though these are maybe less intrusive than wind turbines and with more history and emotion attached to them.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading a little more information about the Pas de Calais region, the next post will be on individual villages we have explored.
Well it’s time to say Goodnight – bonne nuit