Last Minute Summer Bargain Breaks!

Treat yourselves to a bargain break while the weather is still so good!

We have a 4 night vacancy at our Garden Apartment, from Saturday July 20 to Wednesday July 24, that we would like to fill.  We’re so keen to fill it we’re offering a 25% reduction on the normal summer rate – £60 (70€) per night instead of £80 (94€), minimum stay 3 nights.

There’s also a gap we want to fill from July 29 to August 4.  We’ve reduced the rate for any booking of 4 nights or more during this period from the normal £80 (94€) to £64 (75€)!

Go on!  Grab a bargain while you can!  It’ll be cold and wet again soon enough – then you’ll wonder why you didn’t take the opportunity to grab some last-minute-discount summer sunshine while you could!





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An unusual tourist hits the beach

wild boar on beachVisitors to Sandboys holiday houses at Fort Mahon may be lucky enough to see some of the wild deer that live in the woods and dunes surrounding the town, but the families of wild boar who also live there usually come out only at night and are rarely seen in daylight hours.

Still, our visitors have reported the occasional sighting – one cyclist enjoyed the rare sight of a whole family of boar crossing the road and paddling in the waters of the Authie river.  Another sighting took place at dusk in fields on the edge of town.  Golfers searching for errant balls on the famous Belle-Dune golf course occasionally spot a few of these shy animals resting in the shade of trees and bushes at a safe distance from even the worst mis-hit drive, but it’s very rare indeed to see wild boar on the beach.

This early morning visitor may have just been trying out the temperature of the water!



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Latest July Vacancies: Bargain Holidays for couples!

The Garden Apartment - ideal for romantic couples

The garden and private entrance to The Garden Apartment

Although our holiday houses at Fort Mahon Plage are already fully booked for July we still have some vacancies at our roomy and very comfortable “Garden Apartment” (sleeps 2 in one double bedroom), so we’re offering a special discount of 20% on all stays, of any duration from 2 nights upwards, between 1 July and 20 July.

The “Last Minute Bargain” price for the apartment in early July (up to and including 12/7) will be £60 (70 euros) per night – reduced from £75 (89 euros).

From July 13 to July 20 the “Last Minute Bargain” price is £64 (75 euros) instead of £80 (94 euros).

The Garden Apartment is in the village of Conchil Le Temple, just 10 minutes from the beaches at Fort Mahon and Berck, and only 15 minutes from the historic town of Montreuil Sur Mer, where, on July 14, the famous annual Montreuil Brocante, a vast antique market that takes over the whole of the town centre, will be taking place.




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Times are hard and we want to make it as easy for you to make your decision to take a holiday at Sandboys as it can possibly be.  That’s why we  are offering, once again, our very attractive cut rates whenever we possibly can.

So, for a limited time only, we can offer some special discounts for remaining dates in May and June.

Sandboys Dune

For any remaining available dates in May 2013 – 20% discount from list price!

Garden Apartment

For any remaining available dates before May 25, 2013 – £50 per night instead of £68!

For any remaining dates in June 2013 – 15% discount from list price!

To book at our lowest prices just ask for our May and June discount price when enquiring.








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Sandboys Pearl

Breakfast at Sandboys Pearl

We’re making a special effort to offer affordable holidays this September.  From today, until further notice, all September holiday bookings for our Sandboys Pearl property will benefit from a reduction of 15% from our list prices.

For instance, a week in Pearl in early September, advertised on our website at £435 can actually be booked for only £369!

Later in September, holidays advertised at the Low Season Rate of £365 can be booked for only £310!

Your September Bargain holiday package includes bedlinen, towels, bathmat, electricity, hot water, heating and satellite TV with UK channels.  You will also find the cupboards of your holiday home stocked with coffee, tea, sugar, salt, pepper, cooking oil, cleaning materials, loo paper, kitchen paper rolls, tea-towels, even liquid soap for handwashing!

This offer only applies to our Sandboys Pearl property, and is limited to bookings for periods during the month of September 2012.


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New Sports Event in the Pas De Calais

The Pas de Calais region of France is determined not to be put in the shade by the forthcoming Olympic Games just across the Channel in London, and has come up with a new Non-Olympic Games event of its own.

By the look of it the Pas De Calais event will be far more spectacular and entertaining than the London one which mostly involves running round in circles.

Here is a team training for the Anti-Gravity Marathon.  (photos: Pas De Calais Tourisme)

And some competitors training for the difficult Extreme Skydiving (Freestyle) which is like Skydiving but without parachutes.


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Tourism Day Off ~ and an excellent restaurant


View from the quay at Etaples

Yesterday was my birthday, and in keeping with a family tradition that now stretches back 12 months, we took part of the day off to put ourselves in the place of our Sandboys holiday clients, and go and do something “touristy” in the region. This time we drove a few miles along the coast to have a look at Etaples and, in particular, the Museum of the Fishing Industry, « Maréis », which we had heard was well-presented and very interesting.

Etaples used to be one of France’s biggest fishing ports in terms of the tonnage of fish landed, but over the last 50 years, the estuary of the River Canche has silted up to the point where today’s larger fishing vessels are unable to use the harbour. The fishermen of Etaples, however, unwilling to lose the town’s major industry, have simply moved their boats a few miles up the coast to the port of Boulogne.

Stroking friendly Rays

The fishermens’ cooperative of Etaples numbers some 50 boats in its fleet. Most of them sail at the beginning of each week and remain at sea until Thursday or Friday when they return with their catch, a proportion of which is retained by the cooperative for sale in their own fresh fish shops and restaurants in Boulogne and Etaples. Some of the boats keep back a little of the catch to be sold direct to the public from the stalls on the fishmarket quay at Etaples.  Each stall is decorated with paintings and the colours of the boat to which it belongs. Altogether, in supplying, manning, and maintaining the fleet, marketing, processing, transporting, selling, cooking and serving the fish, the cooperative provides work for thousands of people in Etaples and Boulogne.

MAREIS sea life centre in the old rope works at Etaples

At Maréis you can see how the different types of fishing nets work and the variety of fish that are caught in the Channel waters between France and the south coast of England. There are aquaria where you can see the fish up very close, and rock pools where crabs crawl among mussels, starfish, oysters, scallops, shrimps and other seashore creatures. You can stand on the bridge of a modern fishing boat with its radar screens and depth sounders demonstrating the complicated world of the fishing boat skipper. There are guided tours and demonstrations, and films showing life on the boats are screened.  Finally there’s a tank where you can gently stroke rays, as they swim playfully around from one hand to the next.

We enjoyed our visit, and left via the shop where we found some nice books, games and souvenirs including a soft toy in the shape of a ray.

As a special birthday treat in the evening we had dinner at a restaurant in Montreuil which has been getting exceptionally good reviews recently. As a

Magret de Canard, cocoa bean and hot pepper sauce

result of one of the best meals we’ve eaten in France for many years, we can thoroughly recommend L’Atelier 26, in rue d’Hérambaut. It looks like an ordinary bar or cafe from the outside. Inside it is furnished sparsely and simply, but it is warm and there is a friendly welcome, and above all, the food is top quality at reasonable prices. After a delightful complimentary appetiser and excellent seafood starters, our main courses were Haddock with a Smoked Herring sauce, and Roast Breast of Duck with a Cocoa Bean and Hot Pepper sauce. Both were superbly cooked, beautifully balanced for flavour, and nicely presented. The “moelleux au chocolat chaud coeur coulant caramel”, Chocolate “Moelleux” dessert with a fondant centre, was superior to anything we’ve had in top London and Paris restaurants. Normally a 3 course meal of this quality would cost almost double the 65 euros we paid for two, including wine and aperitifs.

Photos of L'Atelier 26, Montreuil-sur-Mer

L'Atelier 26 in Montreuil Sur Mer

We’ll certainly go again to L’Atelier 26 soon and report more details. It seems it is open at lunchtime Monday to Saturday, and evenings on Friday and Saturday only. They will serve a simple omelette and chips, or a full three course meal. On the evidence of our one visit, value-for-money is outstanding.


This photo of L’Atelier 26 is courtesy of TripAdvisor


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Eating out – in Le Touquet and Fort Mahon

Restaurant Le Paris (red awning) in Rue de Metz

It was my mother’s 93rd birthday last Monday so we went out for dinner in Le Touquet. She had been using her i-Pad to search for a recommended restaurant and came up with Le Paris, a comfortable, well appointed place in the Rue de Metz, one of Le Touquet’s main shopping streets.

All three of us went for seafood and and were all very pleased with our choices. We ate, three courses each, from the menu at €29.90 and the bill, including a bottle of St Veran and 3 glasses of champagne came to €145. 50. The only problem was parking, because Le Touquet now has some fancy new system that I didn’t immediately understand. On arrival, it appeared that parking in rue de Metz was limited to one hour, but it turned out that I could have parked right outside the restaurant free from 8.00 in the evening until 9.00 the following morning. Unfortunately by the time I found that out, I had parked in a side street some distance away.

restaurant Le Paris, Le Touquet

The interior of "Le Paris"

I have to award a special mention to the dessert chosen by me and my mother.  It was a three-tier Poire Belle Hélène that was totally scrumptious and spectacular as well as generous with the rich chocolate sauce.

Today, Sue and I went for a walk of about 5.5km, from Fort Mahon through the dunes to Quend and back via the bar at the golf club. (You don’t have to be a member to go there). On the way back through the Belle-Dune holiday village we noticed a useful grocery/general store that was open (unusual on a Sunday) and also had a look at the menu posted outside the village restaurant. There is a 3 course menu of the day at €22 euros which looked interesting.

The Belle Dune restaurant is also making an offer which might appeal to Sandboys holiday tenants who don’t want to cook every night of their stay.  The restaurant will do a deal on 3 course meals chosen from its extensive à la carte. Go three times during your stay, or the whole 7 days, if you like, (lunch or dinner time, your choice) and you have a choice of any starter, main course and dessert for 21 euros a head for adults. (I forgot to notice what the children ‘s meal price was.)

The holiday village facilities, including bike hire and occasional evening live music shows, are open to non-residents. Very handy if you’re holidaying at Sandboys Dune and want a change from the restaurants and brasseries in the town, as it’s only a short walk.  Its also walkable from Sandboys Pearl, though it is a little farther.  However, if you take the car, parking is easy and free.

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Dover-Calais ~ two new ferry services

Norman Spirit, the first ship on the new DFDS Dover Calais route

This year it should be easier than ever to find a convenient way to cross the channel for your Sandboys holiday.  The Dover-Calais route is likely to be served by two new ferry companies, replacing the now defunct SeaFrance line.

The first new service to be announced is the DFDS Dover Calais service which will start on February 17.  DFDS already operate the successful and popular Dover Dunkirk service (formerly Norfolk Line) and are now teaming up with the French LD Lines on the shorter Calais route.

The new service will be operated by two French-flagged vessels, including LD Line’s Norman Spirit (pictured).

A second ferry will be added to the Dover Strait as soon as a suitable vessel becomes available, DFDS said in a statement.

“As we have also previously announced, we will hire 300 staff at sea and ashore in addition to those we already employ,” said DFDS. “The process of hiring people, many of these being former SeaFrance staff, has already started.”

DFDS are confident that the new joint-venture will not affect its existing service in any way.

Eurotunnel, the operators of the Channel Tunnel, have also announced plans to introduce a seaborne cross-channel service, with the acquisition of three, now out of service, SeaFrance vessels.

The former SeaFrance ships are large and comfortable, but their decor and furnishings had been allowed to become rather scruffy and neglected by SeaFrance , which had long been known for its poor standard of customer service and abysmal standards of essential navigation and safety equipment maintenance.

Eurotunnel hope to establish themselves as the majority partner in the venture that would revitalize the Calais-Dover route by employing a number of former SeaFrance employees.  For their customer’s sake, let’s hope they don’t bring the old SeaFrance culture with them.

More competition on the route should ensure keener prices, so we hope our Sandboys holiday customers will benefit from savings and a better service.

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