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France 2001

Our friends Dave and Catherine were kind enough to offer us the use of their home in Montreuil-sur-mer this summer.

Click on a small photo for a larger version.

The house sort of backs into the ramparts.

The house is just left of the "M" in Montreuil.

Montreuil is in what was once known as Artois, now Nord/Pas-de-Calais.

It's a beautiful area with scenic valleys and acres of fertile farmland. The town was founded in the 7th Century and fortified in about 900.

After being sacked by the Spanish in 1537 the ramparts were rebuilt by Francois I, Henri IV, and Louis XIII (yes, all three of them).

Montreuil's citadel was remodeled by Vauban in the 17th Century.

Napoleon stayed here while his troops were camped in nearby Boulogne in 1804 and the British general Haig made his headquarters in Montreuil during WWI.

Jean Valjean, the main character in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables was mayor of Montreuil.

The photo above was taken from atop the ramparts overlooking the village of La Madelaine.

This photo was taken looking towards the center of town from the house. The Tour de France came through Montreuil in 1949 (Coppi won) and the riders were less than charmed by the quaint cobblestone streets. They called Montreuil "l'enfer du Nord".

The living room. Dave and Catherine recently had a new floor installed and some plaster and paint work done.

Nights are chilly in Northern France, even in June. We lit the stove more than once.

The kitchen is small, but nice and sunny.

Here's a view of the ramparts from a second floor skylight.

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