Date: 26th September 2022
Travelled: 40 kms from Béthune to Bailleul
Stayed: Bailleul Car Park, free, N50.74010, E02.73170
Budget: 124 days @ €99 per day
Cool start to the day in Béthune this morning and it doesn’t look like improving too much according to the forecast. We don’t plan on travelling too far today, so Pam decides it’s time to do some washing.
After breakfast we say goodbye to our friends from last night and drive around to the Carrefour as they have a laundromat in the carpark (its a French thing and very convenient if your travelling).
We do a little shopping whilst the machines do there thing, just over an hour later where back on the road, the GPS set for Bailleul. It’s a D road drive with the usual trucks and farm equipment, pictured below, the rain doesn’t help.
We arrive in Bailleul and go straight to a carpark listed in our data-base. It’s not an official stop with services but the posted comments say it’s good for a quiet night. There are two other motorhomes already parked over the back so we join them.
Why are we in Bailleul you ask, well obviously it’s on our way the Calais. We have driven through Bailleul and visited the War Cemetery here a couple of times on previous trips and we intend doing that again. But we’ve never actually visited the town, so here is our cook’s tour.
Bailleul was left in ruins by mid 1918, it was a last stand by the Germans in this area and most significant buildings had to be reconstructed. There are war memorials and cenotaphs scattered around as you would expect. The cenotaph pictured below has utilised the ruins of a chapel adorned with an amazing bronze, it’s just outside our parking place.
Our next stop is the Église Saint-Vaast which is just around the corner. It’s a 1935 rebuild, we thought the hanging lights looked like wagon wheels, they were very unusual. Perhaps even more unusual is the fancy carriage sitting in the northern aisle.
We walk around into the square surprisingly called Place Charles de Gaulle. The tourist office is closed on Mondays, so we cannot get access to the Belfry, pictured below. The weather is changing by the minute, luckily we have taken the umbrella or we would be wet by now.
Having returned to the Hymer for a late lunch we wait in hope of a break in the weather. We get a little bit of sunshine around 3pm and walk through town down to the cemetery. The CWGC is an extension to Bailleul’s old town cemetery. The gate and chapel of the old cemetery are pictured below.
Like all CWGC, the extension is beautifully maintained.
We soon find George Bentley Guymer’s headstone and pay our respects.
We walk the line for a while before walking back into Bailleul. It’s that time of the day so we stop for a tall kwak and a vin blanc sec in a very elegant glass. We watch the late afternoon traffic chaos as it makes its way goodness knows where.
Another day slides through to the keeper…
Michael + Pam