More Summer Bargains! – Get a Last-Minute Holiday Deal Now!

Pas de Calais umbrella hovering

You’ll be jumping for joy when you discover our Last Minute holiday rental offers.

These are the final vacancies in our summer season and we really want to fill them – so take a look at how much you can save by booking now.

Hurry, though, before someone else gets the bargain of the summer!

Click here to go to our Last Minute offers page – updated with the latest offers on our final summer vacancies on 29/06/2017

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The Seals of the Somme and Authie Bays

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The seals that inhabit the sandbanks of the Baie De Somme and the Baie D’Authie have become a well-known and important feature of our region’s largely undeveloped and unspoilt coast.  Though less popular with local fishermen than with naturalists and tourists, on the grounds they catch and eat a lot of fish which would otherwise be providing easier pickings for the boats, they are in general a welcome sight in our waters.

Watch the local tide tables, as it’s best to go seal spotting at the times when low water is in the afternoon or evening, when the seal families can most easily be seen sunning themselves on the exposed sands or splashing about in the narrow channels left by the retreating sea.

The photo here was taken by Alex Burson, a young naturalist and wildlife photographer who recently spent a half-term holiday at The Pines with the Burson family.

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Birdwatching at Sandboys

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photo by Alex Burson

Among many good reasons why you might choose the Baie De Somme area for a holiday, is the fact that it’s one of the best places in France for ornithology.  Hundreds of different species of birds can be seen in the Bay, in the Marquenterre Bird Reserve, and even on the lake that’s only a hundred metres or so from our holiday apartments, The Pines, and The West Wing.

Recent visitors, the Burson family, spent a couple of evenings enjoying the view of birds from the hide overlooking this lake, within a short stroll of their front door, where egrets, spoonbill and various types of cormorant can be spotted along with geese, ducks and other wild birds.

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photo by Alex Burson

We were fortunate that young Alex Burson, who is both a keen naturalist and a talented photographer, sent us a few of his photos, which we are very happy and proud to publish here, (and soon in other parts of our website). We particularly liked his photo of an inquisitive seal, one of the colony on the sands of the Authie Bay between Berck and Fort Mahon, which we are publishing in another post.

The Marquenterre Bird reserve is only a 10 minute drive from any of our gites, and the Somme Bay, with its marshes, sand banks, bird life and seascapes, as well as the delightful old towns of St Valery and Le Crotoy is reachable in 20 minutes or so.

For more information on bird and seal watching in the area use the links below.

The Independent

Marquenterre Bird Reserve

Birdforum

free bird watching hide, northen France, Baie De Somme

Evening view from the birdwatchers’ hide at The Pines ~ photo Alex Burson

 

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Latest Gite Improvements

Rear of Sandboys Dune

Newly painted rear of Sandboys Dune, showing private parking.

Autumn is a good time to do jobs on the outside of the house.  The weather is often, as now, still mild and dry, and the gites usually not occupied every week, so that work can be carried out without disturbing guests.

This year we are tackling some painting jobs.  Here’s a photo of the rear of Sandboys Dune, showing the newly painted back wall.  We also painted the neighbours’ walls so that the immaculate paintwork on Dune wouldn’t make them look shabby by comparison!

We have bookings later this week and next week, so we’re leaving painting the garden wall on the other side of the house, until sometime in early November, but we have already completed the motorisation of the roller shutter on the patio door, so now you can block out the world, or get some shade from bright sunlight at the touch of a button!

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New Bigger TV Screens

This year has been the year of TV upgrades at all our holiday properties.

First, Sandboys Dune got a new 24″ flat screen TV and an aerial to pick up French digital HD transmissions – so now you can choose whether you want to watch British satellite channels or the whole range of French TV channels!

New smart TV

The new 49″ smart TV in The Pines is connected to the internet!

Next, The Pines was re-equipped with a bigger and better, whopping 49″ smart TV.  Not only will this TV receive French digital channels and UK channels by Sky satellite, but you can also browse the internet, watch YouTube, and do loads of other clever stuff that we haven’t even got round to trying yet.  The Master Bedroom in The Pines also got a new TV with a slightly larger screen than the old one.

Finally, as promised earlier this year, The West Wing got its own new 32″ flat screen TV, which we’ve already found to be clearer, brighter, and with better sound than its predecessor.

All our holiday properties are provided with DVD players, too, of course, in case you want to bring your own favourite films, concerts, or TV programmes.

 

 

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“A Fabulous Place to Stay”

Rogan MGB in garage

The Rogan’s MGB GT in The White House garage

Recent visitors Marjorie and Julian Rogan made us very happy with their Guest Book comments after their 6 night stay at The West Wing.  They brought their very nice MGB car with them to attend an international meeting of MG enthusiasts at Le Touquet.  It was an honour to find space in our warm dry garage for this well-maintained 45 year-old.  (Though no problem because it’s a 6 car garage!)

Here’s what they said:

“A fabulous place to stay.  Very comfortable, restful cosy apartment with everything we needed for a perfect break.

There are some wonderful places to eat in the nearby towns – fish dishes were especially good.  Thanks to Sue and Patrick for a lovely welcome and for taking the time to give us helpful tips and local knowledge, making our time in Picardy/Somme so special.

I’m sure we’ll be back here again soon”

It was unfortunate that the Rogans had bad weather for their first couple of days, but at least their car didn’t have to stay out in the rain.  Fortunately the sun came out and 350 old MGs had some glorious touring weather to enjoy the region.

 

 

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Another mattress upgrade!

Bedroom at The Pines luxury holiday apartment

The Master Bedroom has its own en suite bathroom

We’ve had so many compliments on the comfort of the mattress we installed in The West Wing apartment last year – and we were so impressed, ourselves, when we slept in the apartment for a few nights in the winter – that we’ve ordered another identical mattress for the master bedroom in The Pines.

It should arrive this week.

Looks like there’ll be lots of good nights’ sleep for our guests this year!

 

 

 

 

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Decor and equipment upgrades

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The West Wing apartment’s private garden. Ideal for lunch al fresco.

Spring is the time of year when our gites get their most detailed and critical inspection of the year, and an assessment of what needs to be done to maintain them to the high standards our clients demand.

This year Sandboys Dune and The West Wing have come under scrutiny.  We decided Dune needed a general freshening up, so we repainted throughout.  We also fitted a new TV with a larger screen, capable of receiving French digital HD channels as well as all the UK free-to-air satellite broadcasts.  This wasn’t quite as simple as just plugging in the new set, though, since changes to the French terrestrial broadcasting system meant we had to install a new, more sensitive aerial.  Lots of climbing up and down ladders!

The West Wing apartment has also undergone a decor facelift, particularly in the bathroom, kitchen and entrance hall.  We were always unhappy about the poor WiFi reception reported by some of our guests – many of them had difficulty logging on, and most had to sit by the lounge window to pick up a signal – so this winter we have vastly improved the situation with a more powerful WiFi repeater installed closer to the apartment.  This has made it possible to connect with most tablets and smartphones from any part of the living room and now even the bedroom.

We spent a few days and nights living in The West Wing apartment ourselves so as to be totally aware of any problems that might affect our guests’ comfort.  As a result a new, better kettle has been installed, and we plan a TV upgrade before the summer.  We can certainly endorse the good reports we received from guests about the fabulously comfortable new mattress in the West Wing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More guest comments – and a new Visitors Book at Dune

We have had some very nice comments recently on Tripadvisor.  Check out what they said about The Pines, or click here to see what they said about Sandboys Dune!

Near the end of our 12th season of letting Sandboys Dune our Visitors Book ran out of pages. Years of nice comments from our guests have had to be archived and a new book obtained. Of course, all the pages in the new book were blank. Would we get some comments – or would our guests be too shy to start it off?

IMG_20150829_112408988Hooray! Here’s our first page of comments in the new book! Everyone agrees Dune is very conveniently positioned for shops beach, aqua club and tourist outings (even to Paris). We are complimented on the level of equipment, and our helpfulness. And we’re told the new Wifi is very fast!

Thanks to you all! Keep commenting, please. It all helps us to provide you with what you want.

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