You enter L'aiguille from the courtyard. Once inside, there’s a comfortable sitting and dining room with beamed ceiling and tiled floor. The kitchen, which leads off the sitting room, is fully equipped with a gas cooker, fridge, freezer, dishwasher and microwave. If you like to cook, you will be pleased to know that it is well-supplied with all the essentials. There is a double bedroom and bathroom with walk-in shower on the ground floor. Upstairs, a large double bedroom includes a cot. The other two bedrooms have two single beds. All have plenty of hanging and storage space. There is second bathroom with bath and shower on the first floor.
There is a washing machine in a laundry room shared with our other rental cottage, La Bobine.
L'aiguille is centrally heated, has UK tv and dvd player, and a wifi connection.
There is a large garden, ideal for childrens' games, with outdoor furniture and BBQ.
Both of our cottages have been renovated and thoughtfully furnished to create a relaxed, child-friendly home from home. We are barely an hour’s drive from Calais but are firmly in the traditional French countryside. Country ways and traditions are still strong; this is ‘real France – real close.' Aix-en-Issart is a small village of 280 souls situated on the Bras de Brosne trout river. There are a number of walks and cycle routes and, in the summer, the village hosts the Bras de Brosne festival. This diverse region of France makes for a good holiday: sightseeing and history, stunning beaches and children’s activities, mainstream shopping as well as lots of little markets and brocantes to potter round, golf, water sports and activities.
Sue and Peter Sharp have lived and worked in France for 10 year (2013). We moved here after a busy life in London, in search of a different way of life and a different way of earning a living. We still miss some things about the UK - family, of course. Sue misses John Lewis department store. We used to miss Chinese food, but there's now a large restaurant and takeaway in Boulogne, so we can get a fix!
Susan Sharp purchased this cottage in 2002
House hunting took three solid months and it's a testament to our marriage that we survived it! We needed a house that could provide a home for us, two gites and a studio for Sue, who designs and makes quilts, and teaches. The right place took some finding but we got there - and now, we are settled into and enjoy village life in Aix.
We love the Seven Vallees area of France. Beautiful countryside, lots of quirky villages, plenty to see and do - in a very traditional, rural location.
The prompt for this section suggests that we talk about things that similar properties might not have. Our 60-year-old Massey Ferguson is a special feature, entrancing children...and some dads. Although in semi-retirement, it's pressed into service for rides around the garden and is often the first destination for children who have been here before.
We also have a large quilt studio in the garden, where Sue works on her projects and runs classes.
“The garden was a real bonus for the children…Sue and Peter were always helpful when asked but never interfered – just right…”
“A very good gîte – we had both cottages in combination and had a great family Christmas.”
“Thanks again for another wonderful holiday. After five visits with our ever-expanding families, the tractors and the swings still mean hours of entertainment…”
From our younger visitors...
“Dear Peter, thank you very much for letting me drive your tractor in your garden…”
“Thank you for letting me stay. I enjoyed your studio and the back garden…”
“The cake you made us was amazing.”
Special interest holidays:
Patchwork and quilting courses
You may have realised that the two cottage names form the phrase ‘Needle and Thread’. Sue is a well-known quilt maker and teacher, and runs workshops and classes at her quilt studio. The studio is well-equipped for anyone who enjoys needlecraft and is available for formal tuition or some relaxed sewing.
The closest (20 minutes' drive) family-friendly beach is at Merlimont but a 50 kilometre stretch of coast from Hardelot to the Somme bay (the Opal Coast) has a number of stunning long sandy beaches with dunes, boardwalks, cafes and restaurants, and watersports.
Eurotunnel terminal - 50 minutes, Calais car ferry terminal - 55 minutes, Dunkerque car ferry terminal - 75 minutes.
Use of a car is strongly recommended as Ax-en-Issart is a small rural village without train or bus connections. However, car hire is available at local towns such as Le Touquet and Hesdin.
There a local train services, including a good connection to Paris. There are airports at Beauvais and Paris, and a limited service into Le Touquet from Kent.
Montreuil sur Mer - 10km
Le Touquet - 22 km
Boulogne sur Mer - 50 km
Paris - 225 km (Disneyland Paris - 270 km)
We have a number of small local towns within easy reach (less than ten minutes' drive) for basic services such as supermarkets, banks, post offices, pharmacies etc.
Here are just some of our holiday recommendations:
Site-seeing: The walled town of Montreuil. Victor Hugo wrote part of Les Miserables here and a son-et-lumiere version is enacted annually: Hesdin (the injured and dead from the battle of Agincourt were transported to Hesdin's town hall and an good market); Boulogne (port, old city centre, shopping and ramparts): Desvres, centre of the local earthenware and pottery industry and another good market.
Fresh air: miles of golden sand running from the elegance of Le Touquet and Hardelot to the family-friendly Merlimont and Stella Plage: surfing and sand yachting; canoeing and kayaking: river and sea fishing
Children: Bagatelle theme park for older children; Dennlys Parc for younger children; Aqualud water park at Le Touquet; Nausicaa (Europe’s finest aquarium) at Boulogne.
History: Field of the Cloth of Gold; Azincourt; Crecy; First world war - military cemetery at Etaples, Somme, Vimy; Second world war - block house at Eperlecques, rocket sites of La Coupelle and Mimoyecques and the ‘Atlantic wall’ fortifications and museums.
Plus, of course, loads of little village for pottering round, country markets, great restaurants and bars from local dives to Michelin-starred establishments, and lovely countryside.