Rue Touillette is our family holiday home. It is a former farmhouse in the hamlet of Bealcourt, a small village in the valley of the River Authie and on the borders of the departments of the Somme and Pas de Calais. It is about one hour’s drive from Boulogne and 1.5 hour’s drive from Calais. We have spent many happy times there but now that our family is older and the house is less used, it is available to rent.
The house is comfortable and airy with gardens to the front and rear. It sleeps seven people in four bedrooms (two double, one twin, one single) plus a baby in a cot. As we have used it as a family holiday home for years, there is everything you need for a comfortable stay. There is a house book at the property with information about the house and the area together with leaflets about local attractions (in the drawer of the small green table in the sitting room).
The kitchen is bright and airy with windows facing both front and back. It has a stove with hob and oven fuelled by gas cylinder, microwave, kettle, a table that seats up to eight, good quantities of crockery, cutlery, pans and cooking utensils and a high chair. An iron and ironing board and washing machine are available elsewhere in the house.
The large sitting room with wood-burning stove has French doors to the back garden and windows to the front. It has two sofas and an armchair, TV and DVD player. There is also a table and chairs. You can play our large CD collection (more CDs stacked upstairs) on a basic sound system (with ipod dock), watch DVDs, read one of the many books left in the house or play cards and other games.
Downstairs are two bedrooms, a shower room and separate wc. One bedroom is a double with wardrobe, chest of drawers and a cot, looking out onto the back garden. The other is a single bedroom. The stairs to the first floor go from the sitting room (open tread; stair gate provided). Upstairs is a large mezzanine area providing extra living space (not safe to leave very small children unsupervised due to gaps in the horizontal railings). There is a good sized double bedroom with drawers, hanging space and ensuite shower room. There is also a twin bedded room with drawers and hanging space.
Outside are large, enclosed, gardens with grassed areas, shrubs, parking space for two cars, outbuildings (good for bike storage) and a small orchard . At the back of the house, there is an outdoor table with six chairs and sun loungers. A barbecue is available. At the front, there is a bench and small table where you can catch the morning sun. Some outdoor children's games and toys are available. The house is on a quiet road where the main traffic is farm vehicles. The gates at the front of the house can be closed to keep small children and dogs inside the garden.
All the main rooms (not the mezzanine) have blinds or shutters. Central heating is available twice a day from October to April but a wood burning stove (wood provided) is often sufficient. Wifi is available through purchase of a voucher from a tabac (full details in the house book). To keep prices low, we do not provide bed linen and towels (apart from tea towels) but can do so for a fee; please ask when making a booking. Duvets and pillows are provided. We ask you to leave the house clean and tidy on your departure. Cleaning is available at extra cost on request.
The surrounding area is tranquil and wooded with a folding landscape where heavily farmed ridges are interspersed with lush, green valleys. There are numerous walking and cycling routes, including a disused railway line which begins at Auxi and runs to Abbeville with many stopping places along the way. The nearest town, Auxi-le-Chateau, is 4 miles away and has several supermarkets, high quality bakeries and butcher/deli, a small weekly market plus pharmacy, bank, cafés etc. The larger towns of Doullens and Hesdin are 20 minutes and 45 minutes by car. Amiens is about 45 minutes and Arras about one hour. Lille is about 1.5 hours drive. There are many local markets; the Thursday market at Hesdin and the Saturday market at Amiens are especially good.
There are many places to visit including the pretty Authie Valley, the Abbey at St Riquier, beautiful formal gardens and the cities of Arras (beautifully reconstructed and close to Vimy Ridge) and Amiens with its cathedral, river-side restaurants and the hortillonages (ancient market gardens on islands in the river which you can tour by boat; highly recommended). The coast is an hour away and the Somme estuary is a place of wide open skies, softly coloured landscapes, nature reserves, bird watching, wildlife and charming towns (St Valerie sur Somme in particular). There are also many beaches and resorts that can be reached within about 1.5 hours. Kayaking, horse riding and swimming are all possible within the surrounding area.
The region is full of history (modern, medieval and older).The Agincourt museum, World War I sites, and La Coupole (World War II bunker museum) are all within easy reach as are castles, caves and churches.