When I’m in France I always feel at home, of course I also have that feeling with the Netherlands, where I was born and lived for almost thirty years. But as far as France is concerned I always have that feeling of fully happiness. And I know, France is known for it of course. The Dordogne and the Provence are probably still one of the most popular destinations for families with children, to spend the summer holiday.
During my childhood, we often went to the South of France as well, where we usually camped at a green campsite along a river. We loved it, and possibly still do, but unfortunately the hubby isn’t a big fan of camping. But for me, the love for the country has apparently arisen there and became stronger when my parents decided to buy a second house in the northern part of France. A totally different area, but very good to drive from Rotterdam. What made it possible not to visit France once or twice a year, but monthly. Because after all, it’s only a three-and-a-half-hour drive.
For me it has always felt like my second home, the many times we were there. All year round, weather or no weather. As a child you take the space and you go on an adventure where it’s possible. We thought it was great to be able to experience that life in the French countryside as children from the city.
This French domain of my parents is on a piece of land and was once an old farm, like you know them from the old books and photos. A yard, surrounding barns with mud walls and wooden doors, red roof tiles, wildflowers and colored window frames. Very traditional. But a lot of space to build and develop and where you can see a bit more change year by year. A multi-year project as you can say. And maybe it will never be finished, which isn’t necessary at all. In the end, it’s a lovely livible farmhouse at the countryside to work on and where you have to relax as well.
Now more than twenty years later I still love to visit this nice place, no longer as a child with my parents and brother and sister. But as a mother with her own family. Something I’m very thankful for. After all those years, the next generation also gets the chance to discover that piece of French living. A place full of beautiful memories, but also where new ones can still be made. Grandpa and grandma are enjoying it immensely when Lara runs through the grass with her bare feet, picks berries and swims in the pool. And as a mother I also see how this environment contributes so much to the development of a child. Especially in combination with the urban life that we normaly lead.
The distance from the Netherlands to Pas de Calais is very favorable and luckily not much has changed since our move to England last year. Because we can easily use the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone to Calais, which is only a forty minutes drive to the house.
Therefore it’s not very surprising that, in addition to Dutch people, many English people also own a summer house in the North part of France.
Recently, after a short trip to the Netherlands, I decided to visit this beautiful place again with my daughter. After all, it is practically on the route back to Coquelles, where the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is located. This year was Lara’s fourth visit, with every year a bit more freedom to discover and experience this place better. Just like her mommy did when she was a child.