The French Channel

Because it would be offensive to call it the English Channel from French soil. And what historic soil it is.  I’ll come back to this later. 

Today was a reminder on why it is so nice to spend time connecting with friends. After a slightly frantic start running to catch the train at Gare Du Nord station in Paris and a very peaceful trip to Calais we were met by our friends Heather and Francois from Fort Mill. They relocated to a beautiful farming and fishing town called Audreselles which sits atop the white cliffs (across the English Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover) looking over the sea. Just past these cliffs sits the major encampment held by the Germans in WWII to control all access to England and the spot where the Allied Forces tricked the Germans with fake boats and planes to thinking this would be our strike point. Little did they know such a point was 100km down the coast in Normandy. More recently, this is also the location where the English Chunnel crosses to England. Even more fascinating are the remaining craters in the landscape from the heavy bombing routines and the remaining buildings and gun houses from WWII. Lastly the vast acreage of rolling farmlands that grows some of the world’s best flax, white sugar beets, corn and wheat. In my opinion, the ideal landscape to retire.  Their house is surrounded by quaint villages, vacation/fishing villas and older French farmhouses. The villages and towns are filled with butchers, cheesemongers, boulangers (bread/pastry makers) and vegetable markets. The butcher is also the cattle raiser and chicken farmer. 

Our friends are ex-pats from Fort Mill over here to work at Scheffler, a premier automotive parts manufacturer for most automobile brands. After three years in this beautiful land, they will soon move to Germany with the company. Such a fascinating experience. 

Cindy and me have been fortunate enough to spend time with several friends and family members these past years and have really come to appreciate and understand the value of these connections. We also notice time moves so very fast on days with meaningful human connections. Francois and Heather are the latest example of the healthy feeling received from the mere act of spending time with good people. 

 Such a fun, restful day full of great experiences and a new respect for the French countryside. Will even took a moment from his game to enjoy the train corridor.  I’ll never understand why we don’t put more investment towards rail. 

   

 A walk down to the beach at low tide. Water temps are in the 50s, air temps hit near 70 and yet there are still people swimming. That is nutball.   

    

Have sand and water, will dig.   

  
  Neighbors in Audreselles. Small doors and windows. The black line is on all the houses to hide the flood marks from heavy rains.   

  Lunch from the grill- the entire meal sourced from within 2 miles. 

  
Cindy and Heather in an old 12th century church – their neighborhood church. Plus the inside of the old church. 

    
A look back at Audreselles from the farm field. 

  
The fishing village of Audreselles. Quite a bit with the northern tourists in the summer. 

    
The white structure, now a home is a modified German canon bunker. Beneath the hills of Audreselles are old German tunnels and bunkers (both intact and bombed). Several times a year unexplored bombs are discovered and need to be detonated,disarmed or removed from the area. The next shot is the mirror image of the White Cliffs of Dover on the French side of the Channel looking back towards Calais. 

   
 
Hang gliders in the neighboring town. 

  
The old walled castle in Boulogne, complete with a moat, drawbridge and turrets plus
a view of the cathedral dome between the narrow streets of Boulogne and a walk along the top of the castle wall. Someone queue the pigeon counting. 

      
The architecture of Audreselles. Very cool and unique town. 

  
   
Tomorrow a combined two day post of Brussels and our return to Paris on the bullet train. 
    
    
    
 

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