People often ask me about where I live in France, when I tell them the Seven Valleys, Pas de Calais, the usual reaction is that they’ve never even heard of it.
That doesn’t surprise me at all, it’s a bit of a secret! The Seven Valleys area is a lush and fertile part of Pas de Calais in the northern–most region of France, about an hour from Calais Port. Beautiful countryside, picturesque villages, a quieter way of life, daily markets, artisan producers, friendly locals and fresh air are just a few of the reasons that made me fall in love with this place. As an ex-Londoner (I’m actually a true Cockney as I was born within the sound of Bow Bells!) I find this laid back lifestyle completely mesmerising and intoxicating.
Most people just rush through my region on their way south, I feel sorry for them sometimes – they’re not even aware of the Seven Valleys from the motorway. But, just peep beyond the straight autoroutes and you’ll discover a land of little rivers, forests, delightful valleys, quiet picnic spots, animated cafés, ancient churches, historic towns, villages with winding streets, fresh air and friendly people.
I spend a lot of my time travelling (I’m a travel writer after all) and in the UK (I freelance write for magazines and newspapers) and when I come home to the Seven Valleys it’s always a joy. This is a place to relax, unwind, take your time to enjoy the countryside, markets, inns, farm kitchens and auberges and to taste artisan produced cheeses, breads, cider and wine, vegetables, charcuterie, pastries and even snails.