Friday, October 15, 2010
We head back to our accommodation. It is surprising how often, in northern France at least, one comes across random crucifixes on the side of the road. They are large too! We enter the grand gates of the wooded property we are staying in. And drive down the road with manicured lawns. A glimpse of the main house... As we cross the bridge... ...that crosses the small lake where we take a paddle around a little later. As we round the corner we see the spectacular Château de Bambecq, a beautiful Château in Pas de Calais, Northern France, that has B&B rooms. The Château is on the outskirts of Racquinghem, a large village some 10 kilometres south-east of the city of Saint-Omer and under an hour's drive from Boulogne, Calais and Dunkerque. Bambecq Farmhouse is a Flemish-style property situated in the extensive grounds that we rent out. There are two very old glass conservatories behind the farm house. You can see the large grape vine has made its way out of the windows. A closer look inside. The second greenhouse has tomatoes and looks as though someone is tending it. The farmhouse itself has been decked out by Linda, the English owner. I love the light against the dark. Guests have the use of the Château grounds, which consist of fifteen acres of parkland, woodlands and the small lake. The grounds are a wildlife sanctuary for wild deer, waterfowl, hares, rabbits and a great variety of birds. The previous owner had been a hunter and it took some time before the new owners said they heard and saw wildlife return. The grounds also have a horse ring which is rented out to local horse trainers. The main château is heated entirely by wood as the previous method of oil proved too expensive. They have hired an ex army and logger named Frances who converted the entire system for them, manages their forest and thins it for fire supply and local sale. He seems elusive and rather hermetic and is fondly known by the owners as St. Frances. The farmhouse itself is a large horse shoe shape of buildings. We are only in one small part. From our window we can see some of the other buildings. A wander around and I find several abandoned and webbed attics spaces. The main farm rooms are lovely. All the furniture we are told comes from markets around the area. Sigh. Very beautiful.