Guest post by our friend Tracey Chandler from across the Channel.
If you are a fan of French food, you will love discovering Calais and all the exquisite French produce it has to offer. Make yourself really at home on your trip by doing a holiday home swap through a site like www.lovehomeswap.com rather than staying in an impersonal hotel. Not only does this mean you can live like the locals, you will also save a vast proportion of your holiday budget – which you are free to spend on delicious French produce. Here is an epicurean’s guide to where to find the best pan, vin and fromage that Calais offers.
Whilst you can find fantastic cakes and artisanal bread in most boulangeries or patisseries there are two recommendations you really should seek out. These are Jean-Luc Maerel on 18 Rue Champailler (62100 Calais) and the rather drab-sounding Fred near the Town Hall on Boulevard Jacquard (62100 Calais). Try the Pain aux Noix, an outstanding bread baked with walnuts on the inside and embedded in the crust.
Fine French wines are so much more affordable for one simple reason: tax. If you’re coming from the UK that short hop across the Channel brings hundreds of great wines into your price bracket. The UK has the highest level of alcohol tax in the entire European Union with each bottle of wine attracting around £1.71 worth of tax. In France it’s just 2p of duty a bottle!
If time is of the essence you could choose to shop in Auchan hypermarket in the Auchan commercial centre, or you could go to Cite Europe to shop at Carrefour Hypermarket. If quality is of the essence, however, here is where to head for:
This is a stylish drinks outlet with a superb tasting facility and a mini-vineyard outside. (Zone Curie, Rue Gutenbert, 6100 Calais).
This place has lots of fabulous unknown wines that have been sourced direct from French vineyards. (CD 215 Frethun, 62185 Calais).
A must visit for those with a discerning palate for French wines. (ZA Marcel Doret, 62100 Calais).
You could almost literally follow your nose to the cheese-heaven that is owned by one of France’s finest sommeliers – Arnaud Crespo. La Maison du Fromage et des Vins is situated on Rue André Gerschell (62100 Calais) and lies just off Place D’Armes. It offers a huge selection of cheeses and you can have a taste – or dégustation of anything that catches your eye. Look out for Maroilles, one of Northern France’s classics, for a richly flavored and highly pungent cheese.
Taking a holiday home swap in France is not only a cheap way to enjoy the delights of Calais it also enables you to live like the French do and open up to you its gourmet delights. Never will a holiday taste better!
Tracey Chandler is a freelance, travel writer and regular contributor to a variety of online female-interest publications. At present she is busy discovering all that Latin America has to offer.