Category: Nord Pas de Calais

March 22nd, 2009 by ptinfrance

From the telegraph:

“The holding centre planned for the port of Calais has been the subject of frenzied claim and counter claim in recent days with the French government publicly denying that it has been given the go-ahead.

Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, was left out on a limb by his French counterpart Eric Besson when Mr Woolas revealed details of the project last week, with the French minister claiming that he had no knowledge of it.

But a letter from the UK Border Agency to the Director of Migration in Paris seen by this newspaper reveals that British and French officials discussed the centre in detail a few weeks ago and agreed “joint action”. It has been costed, given planning permission and a building contract awarded for its construction, according to the letter.

The 500,000 euro (£470,000) detention suite will be similar to the one at Heathrow Airport and contain a number of police cells designed to hold immigrants until they can be deported. It replaces a temporary structure now in place at the port which is barely more than a temporary building.

It will be half-funded by the British with the Calais Chamber of Commerce among those having offered to put up the rest of the money.

The plans are revealed in a letter from Brodie Clark, head of Border Force at the Home Office to Francis Etienne, Director of Migration at the Migration Ministry in France.

The letter says: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm, on behalf of the UK Border Agency our contribution to fund 50% of the 500,000 euros cost estimated by the Calais Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) which will enable work to start.

“I believe that planning permission has been granted and that a building contractor has been chosen through a tendering process run by the CCCI, whom we believe had previously made an offer for funding this facility.

“We look forward to having a purpose built facility that provides a safe, secure and appropriate method of holding clandestines for short periods.”

The plans are an attempt by ministers to stop migrants and the gangs who smuggle them into northern France from continuing their journey to Britain and instead returning them swiftly to their own country. At present, immigrants from Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Africa exploit European law to evade expulsion by trying repeatedly to enter Britain, being arrested and released several times, until they get through.

A senior Labour insider said: “We have to have a process to return these people to their own country rather than just releasing them into the French countryside and this building is the first part of that process.”

It is thought the French initially denied the plans because of fears it could be compared to the notorious Sangatte camp. British officials were baffled by their reaction because it would have been easy to explain that the new centre will be a small detention suite rather than a large residential camp.”

Related: Sangatte, France

Posted in news, Nord Pas de Calais, people, politics

December 4th, 2008 by ptinfrance

the parish church in audinghen france contemporary and ugly
While driving by this monument in the north of France not far from Fort Mahon and Ambleteuse, I let out a little gasp, “ew,” I added. My sweetie responded by saying, “that’s a classified historical monument you’re ewing…some kind of contemporary bit of architecture for a church.”

“THAT’S a church????”

It’s said that you’ll either be enthralled by this church or apalled by it. I seem to fit into the latter category though i want to like it. I’m used to seeing the beautiful cathedrals or village churches scattered throughout France, so once I saw this one near my brother-in-law’s home, I felt like I was no longer in France.

Despite that the Saint Pierre Church in Audinghen is not very old, there is, nevertheless, much history behind its creation. When you travel on the highway between Calais and Boulogne-sur-mer, you’ll notice there are at least five parish churches that look like they have been around for thousands of years…except this one. Why?

Actually, there was an old church in the very exact spot but it was bombed down in friendly fire by the bumbling Royal Air Force during the second world war. As a humane gesture and to make reparations, The Royal Air Force began building a new one in its place and finished it in 1960. I suppose the bell tower is meant to resemble an airplane wing…

tags: , , , ambleteuse,

Posted in Nord Pas de Calais, photos, tips, travel and places, travel tip, weird

August 29th, 2008 by ptinfrance

notre dame cathedral in amiens france

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Posted in art/culture/design, Nord Pas de Calais, photos, religion

July 24th, 2008 by ptinfrance

wwi memorial vimy france

I think there might be more visitors to Vimy from now on…

From afp:

“A French couple were given a four-month suspended sentence and made to pay one euro in damages to the Canadian state for making a porn video at a World War I memorial, officials said Wednesday.

The verdict came just six months after another couple were fined for taking nude photographs of themselves at the same memorial at Vimy in northern France, which pays tribute to the 60,000 Canadians who died in the Great War.

In the latest ruling Tuesday by a court in the town of Arras, the married couple in their thirties, who put the video on a paying website, were also fined 500 euros each after they were found guilty of exhibitionism.

The symbolic one euro in damages was ordered because the Canadian state was a civil plaintiff in the case.

“The memorial has been known for a long time as a place where exhibitionism and voyeurism is common,” prosecutor Elise Bozzolo told AFP.

The memorial, two huge pylons that can be seen for miles around, was created in memory of the April 1917 battle of Vimy Ridge, a costly victory for Canada.

The site draws around half a million visitors each year.”


Posted in articles, cultural differences, french laws, funny, news, Nord Pas de Calais, stories, travel and places, travel tip, weird

July 18th, 2008 by ptinfrance

beach ambleteuse near fort mahon

The beach in Ambleteuse near Fort Mahon in the north of France.


Posted in nature, Nord Pas de Calais, photos, travel and places, travel tip

July 4th, 2008 by ptinfrance

jean's cafe le touquet paris plage france
We spent a gorgeous day with our niece, meandering around the village of Le Touquet Paris-Plage, a small beachtown in northern France. It didn’t occur to me until after we saw this restaurant with extra EXTRA large hamburgers, that today is the 4th of July. Happy 4th of July! We would’ve commemorated my birth country’s independence here at Jean’s Cafe, which is a restaurant à la americaine (and à l’anglaise) but we had just finished eating some tasty tapas just up the street. Incidentally, I don’t think I’d want the Hamburger XXL, especially one that costs 17 euros, just a little more than $26. (I might be tempted by the ribs, however.) I don’t think I’d want anything XXL unless it was a French pastry or artisanal chocolate or Italian gelato or a pizza pie from Giordano’s.
hamburger xxl jean's cafe le touquet paris plage france
We couldn’t resist but ask Jean’s Cafe how XXL the Hamburger XXL was exactly because we all knew that if we had an XXL burger in the U.S., it’d be like a 5 pounder of ground beef, with an extra cheese-like substance, a head of iceberg lettuce, 8 sliced pickles (amusement park-size), a whole sliced onion, waterfalls of ketchup and mustard – all inside a bun the size of seat cushion. You know? Anyway, the XXL is 250 grams of hamburger meat, roughly a half-pound of meat. That’s a LOT for French people but maybe a measly morsel for Americans. Ok, it’s huge, I realize, but I keep thinking about that Simpson’s episode where Homer eats 4.5 pounds of steak… so a half a pound is…you know how the French say… Les doigts dans le nez. (literally, fingers in the nose, which is suppose to mean, “piece of cake”).


Posted in food and drinks, funny, Nord Pas de Calais, signs, travel and places, travel tip

March 18th, 2008 by ptinfrance

Just ignore my silly, rhyming title; I couldn’t resist.

There’s a cute boutique dedicated to our favorite French, Les Ch’ti (pronounced SHTEE) from the very north of France.
la ch'ti boutic perigeux france perigord
We were surprised while visiting the city of Périgueux (southwest France) when we saw this timely boutique, “La Ch’ti Boutic,” with all things Ch’ti. Since the Ch’tis are la tendance, this business-minded shtorekeeper shtepped up to the ch’plate to tempt his luck at Ch’ti Shtuff.
la ch'ti boutic perigeux france perigord
It’s filled with goodies like chuques (coffee candies filled with caramel), pardon bonbons sucrés au caramel (caramel candies), bière de Lens (beer from Lens), sac de charbon (sack of coal, which is actually candy), les bêtises de Cambrai (mints), spéculoos (gingerbread cookies) and more.
la ch'ti boutic perigeux france perigord
The boutique has only been in business for a few months, so I hope it lasts, even after all the Ch’ti madness had died down.

La Ch’ti Boutic
25, rue Limogeanne
24000 Périgueux France
Telephone: +33

Posted in Dordogne, food and drinks, Nord Pas de Calais, products, shopping, travel and places

February 28th, 2008 by ptinfrance

tarte au sucre
Since last week’s early release of the new movie (Bienvenue chez les ch’tis) about the particular group of northern French people, Les Ch’tis  seem to be the new black in France even before its official opening yesterday. We went to the movies at Cité Europe in Calais (the north) where there are 12 movie theatres. Four were dedicated to Bienvenue chez les ch’tis. All four were sold out and jam packed so we went to see Cloverfield.

Anyway. On to pastries. The tarte au ch’uc / sugar tart, is a typical Ch’ti pastry and so is pronounced “tarte au ch’uc” (shuke). These are not very easy to find unless you’re in the north. We spotted them at a bakery in Amiens where we visited last Friday. It’s basically a pastry crust with no filling but with sugar on top, as far as I can tell, but very tasty. If you ever meet a Ch’ti, he’ll reminisce for days about them…in addition to another Ch’ti specialty: beer soup.

Related: French Pastries

Posted in cultural differences, daily life, food and drinks, Nord Pas de Calais, tv and movies