Holiday Bargains and Late Availability Deals

doisneau_kissWe’ve just added some deals to fill gaps in our booking schedule, so if you’re looking for a bargain, take a look at what’s available on our latest offers page 

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Self Catering Family Holidays – now all with free WiFi

Seaside holiday accommodation in FranceFor your best-ever family holiday, choose a Sandboys seaside house or an exclusive family apartment, in one of France’s most accessible and unspoiled regions – the Opal Coast, only an hour from Calais.

For couples (or very small families – parents + 1 baby under 2 years), we’ve created a romantic hideaway in the privacy of one wing of our palatial country house just a few miles inland, with superb beaches just minutes away in one direction, historic towns and lush green countryside in the other.

We’ve already been providing family holiday accommodation in this part of France for over 11 years, but we’re not content to stand still. Sandboys is a business committed to moving with the times and keeping up with the changing tastes and requirements of our clients, so all our holiday homes are equipped with flat screen TVs, DVD players and, of course, free WiFi.

Sandboys Dune – Family seaside house – sleeps up to 5

The Pines – Large family size accommodation in the entire East Wing of a spectacular house – sleeps up to 7

The West Wing – Spacious one bedroom apartment for couples (or 2 + 1 baby under 2 years)

Switch to Sandboys Desktop Website – for large tablets, laptop and desktop screens

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Romantic Couple? Grab a Last Minute Summer Vacancy!

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 3 nights upwards, between 9 August and 19 August.

The “Last Minute Bargain” price for the apartment in August will be £61 (72 euros) per night – reduced from £75 (89 euros).


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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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French TV visits the Sandboys region!


This is a French TV programme about the Baie de la Somme region near where we live, and where our Sandboys seaside holiday houses are situated. The programme is in French, but we’re sure you’ll like the pictures and you’ll certainly be able to reproduce the delicious recipes, even if you can’t catch everything they say.

The hotel restaurant “Les Tourelles,” where they filmed the cookery demonstration, is about 15 minutes drive from the Sandboys houses in Fort Mahon, so you can eat the same dishes you see cooked here!

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Gite guestbook comments ~ and some chocolates

Gite cleaned, prepared, and ready for guests

It was a busy Saturday yesterday, as all three of our gites changed over on the same day.

This happens from time to time every year, of course, but not so often as you might imagine. Although our changeover day for the houses in the summer season is Saturday, we frequently have families staying two weeks in one or other of the gites. This tends to reduce the number of 3-way changeover days.

Gite cleaned, prepared, and ready for guests

This gite is ready for guests arriving!

Another factor is that the Garden Studio gite is let by the night at all times of year. Guests can arrive and leave on any day of the week and stay for anything from 2 or 3 nights up to 2 or 3 weeks, so the majority of arrivals and departures there are not on Saturdays.

But every now and then we have the whole lot to do on one day. This time, though, our guests did make it a lot easier for us. The Van De Rijts who were in the Garden Studio left at about 0830 to travel to Holland, so we were able to get into the apartment and have it thoroughly cleaned and prepared by soon after 1000.

Mr and Mrs Van De Rijt had left us a very kind comment in the Garden Studio gite guestbook, saying they had enjoyed a wonderful time and would be returning for another holiday. On top of that they left us a lovely gift of some rather special chocolates from the local patissier/chocolatier.

Then it was off to Fort Mahon, where although the De Boeck family weren’t quite ready to leave Sandboys Pearl, the Taylors had already left Dune and we got of to a prompt start with our cleaning, maintenance and gite preparation.

The Taylor family had clearly enjoyed their stay and left some kind comments in the guestbook, as well as a very nice letter – from which we would like to quote:

Dear Patrick & Sue

Sorry we didn’t get to meet you but we had to leave just ater 9 to get our shuttle – and a long drive to Cornwall!

Had a great time though and everything in the house worked really well – extremely well equipped compared to many holiday properties we have stayed in.

Lovely area – we usually go to Brittany but the cheap tunnel crossing makes this a really good alternative.

Many thanks,
The Taylor Family

Our thanks to the Taylors for such a glowing reference!

Finally we got to Sandboys Pearl at about 1230 and were sufficiently ahead of schedule to stop for a sandwich (we made them before we started work in the morning) and a drink. The De Boecks, too, had left a very kind comment in the gite guest book – although as it was in Dutch I could only guess at some of the words. However, what was clear was that they loved the house and they had had a good time in Fort Mahon. Their final sentence translates, “Thank you for this nice house which made our holiday”.

So this week the gite housework wasn’t as hard as it could have been, and the rewards, the comments, the letter and the chocolates, were even kinder than expected.

There was still the laundry, ironing and office work to do, of course.

Owning and running gites in France – that’s the life!

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Euro Holiday Value

restaurant Terasse

I love the BBC and am extremely grateful to be able to tune into BBC 1, 2, 3 and 4 through a free-sat receiver here in France.

I rarely look further than the beeb’s listings when planning a night-in in front of the box and to keep up with the news I join Bill and Sian on most mornings. I do however feel that sometimes they get the wrong end of the stick especially when reporting on comparisons between the UK and France because I reckon I know better!

Today (it must be a slow news day) they are discussing the expense of holidaying in the Euro-zone and I suppose that they may have a point when looking at the prices of eating out in say Venice or many of the Mediterranean resorts. Here in the Pas de Calais however, it is very different. Our local shops and restaurants are not in it for the fast buck to be made during a short 8 week season they cater to an all year round trade which seems to make for good value for money.

I must admit that when sterling fell against the Euro around 3 years ago I started to “do a shop” when passing Tesco or Sainsbury’s on my way back from the occasional visit to the UK and I must admit that for around 18 months I considered I was a few quid in. After that I began to notice that what used to cost around £80 was creeping up to 90 then it nudged 100 and finally on my last trip I shelled out £120, it was then that I actually started to make proper comparisons. Of course there are things that I just can’t get in France, baked beans and Marmite to mention just two but for those items that I can substitute or if I can get the same thing here I am back to confining my shopping to our French supermarkets.

Wine, cheese, pate croissants and bread are cheaper, better and tastier in France. A simple baguette is subsidised by the state so will cost you only around 50 pence and French wine is still a bargain, if you search the supermarket shelves you will find a very decent tipple for next to nothing. I have discovered in our local branch of lntermarche, a palatable Muscat Sec for just 1 Euro 80 centimes.

General tourism wins hands down too, entrance fees to most tourist attractions compare very favourably with those in the UK and if you’re visiting a city for culture and sight seeing, remember, in France you don’t have to negotiate heavily congested roads. You just glide through the picturesque countryside of France until you reach your destination then joy of all joys  parking is easy and usually free or cheap.

For a short time petrol seemed cheaper in the UK but now prices are a bit lower here and if diesel is your vehicle’s tipple you will find it well worth waiting to fill up in France.  Which brings me to crossing the water, whichever carrier you chose I am absolutely sure that it will be more enjoyable than the usual “airport experience”, it’s cheaper too and even helps with your carbon footprint.

I think what sums it all up for me is that the top hotel in Fort Mahon, Hotel La Terasse, which has an excellent restaurant, offers a 3 course menu for less than 16 Euros and in most cafes you can sip an excellent coffee for a little over one Euro. Yes France is a great place for a family holiday or a break for couples it’s easy to get to and will not break the bank – so what are you waiting for an invitation from Sarkozy?

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A Hot Monday in France : with a Parrot!

Wow! It was hot today

– and there was work to do, so there was no way a lazy day was in prospect. We got started early when M. Lannoy, the occasional gardener arrived at The White House. While he got busy in the early morning warmth we prepared the Garden Studio apartment for the next guests after the departure, yesterday, of regular visitors, the Griffiths.

By the way, the Griffiths tried the restaurant at Berck that we reviewed in our last blog post. They loved it and even went back there a second time during their 6 night stay. I seem to remember they also like the Auberge du Bahot, a little country-style place in the neighbouring village, but it’s not open on Mondays whereas “Les Pieds Dans L’Eau” at Berck is.

Our garden provides some shady places on a hot day

The West wing and Garden Studio apartment seen from a shady place in the garden

After the housework and some office work it was time to go out in the garden. By this time it was really hot, somewhere around 28 degrees in the shade. Of course, when you’re working in the garden there is no shade – at least, not when you’re mowing the lawn there’s not. Still I would rather have that job than the one Sue was doing – kneeling on the hot ground pulling weeds out of the flower beds. At least while you’re mowing you can look over the hedge and watch people passing by. Today a man, a holidaymaker I guessed by his clothes, went by on a bike with a parrot on the handlebars. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera on me, and anyway I was taken so much by surprise that he had gone before I could have taken a snap even if I’d had one.

There’s plenty of time to let the mind wander as you push a mower, so a plethora of questions formed in my mind. Was it his pet parrot, or had it just flown down and perched on the handlebars for a ride? Would it take off from time to time for a quick bird’s eye view of the terrain, or did it prefer to let the cyclist do all the work? Would it talk to the rider, give directions, perhaps, or even swear at him if he took a wrong turning? What would happen if the parrot was spotted by a hawk? Thinking about all these possibilities took my mind off the tedium of mowing, and even the discomfort of the heat.

It eventually got too hot to mow any more, so we both stopped for lunch. Soon, though, it was time for a major shopping trip to the supermarket (it’s less busy there between 12h00 and 14h00). And at least it was nice and cool in the shop.

After the shopping there was laundry to collect from one of the Fort Mahon houses and more office work to do – bookings to confirm and payment reminders to send, while Sue did gite laundry and ironing (another hot job). Finally it cooled off enough outside to go out and do some more mowing. At 17h30 the mower ran out of petrol. There was more in the jerry can but I took the hint and called it a day.

M. Lannoy continued his hedge trimming until 18h00. He had worked solidly in the blazing heat since 08h30, taking only an hour’s rest in the shade of our avenue of pines, at around 12h30, for his lunch.

Bravo! M. Lannoy. Thanks for working hard in the sun on a hot day – and for seeming to enjoy it.

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