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Short Break to St Omer
Wine Tasting Dinner and Buy and Collect Your Burgundy Wine

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St Omer in northern France is an unlikely deviation from our usual patch but there is method in our madness, and it is all to do with Burgundy wine. David and Lynne Hammond from Bringing Burgundy to You host wine tasting dinners at Le Cygne hotel, a great opportunity too to buy the wines on their buy and collect scheme.

chablis wine tasting dinner

Chablis is a great favourite and this tutored tasting will make you appreciate it, and want it, all the more. Compare "left bank" and "right bank" Premier Cru, where to find the best Petit Chablis and experience Chablis Grands Crus from some of BBTY's favourite Chablis growers. Following the tasting there will be a five-course dinner in Le Cygne’s stylish restaurant, paired with Burgundy wines. The restaurant uses fresh, regional ingredients to prepare creative and traditional dishes and the dinner will include a choice, plus local cheeses and superb deserts. The price of this is 125 euros a head including the tutored tasting. Burgundytoday readers are offered a 10% discount on the dinner price.

buy and collect scheme

With increasing wine duty and shipping costs, a buy and collect scheme has a lot to offer and is becoming very popular. You order the wine online and then hop across the Channel or over the border from other countries in Europe to collect your wine in France. There is no limit to the amount you can take home for personal use. So for a wedding or anniversary party, quality wines can be served at a substantial saving.

St. Omer is the collection point on designated days for the buy and collect scheme operated by Bringing Burgundy to You. These are wines from small independent producers in Burgundy, not readily available in the shops. You order online and then meet with David and Lynne Hammond in St. Omer, 45 minutes inland from Calais, on a pre-arranged day. If the dates are not convenient, or you prefer flexibility, you can pick up your wine at a time to suit you from Ardres between Calais and St. Omer from a local wine merchant in the town who stores the Burgundy wine for Bringing Burgundy to You for collection. There is no charge for orders over 300 euros.

about st omer

Le Cygne restaurant St Omer Marais, St Omer Tourist Office photo C Bresse River As St Omer

St Omer proves to be an interesting town for a short break - here are the highlights on offer. The town lies on the river Aa (above right) in a wetland area famed for its market gardening. Notre Dame cathedral towers above these marshlands and it is the centre-piece of the town where attractive yellow brick buildings predominate. There's the Saturday morning market for cheeses and charcuterie, cafes and shops and, of course, there's the pleasure of just being in France again.  

The marshlands consist of a chequerboard of 'legres', narrow strips of reclaimed land where the marsh-dwellers navigate the watergangs, standing on their bacôves or escutes  wielding their punting poles (above centre). Great care has been taken to preserve the wildlife of the wetlands and birdwatchers will enjoy the visitors' centre and the boardwalk where over 200 species of birds can be observed and marsh plants discovered.

military history

Anyone interested in military history will find the Blockhouse, the Eperlecques Bunker fascinating (below right). It was here that Hitler built a 22m high concrete construction from which to launch V1 and V2 missiles across the English Channel. Extensively bombed during the war, this mighty beast withstood the bombardment. La Coupole (below left) now houses an ultra modern history centre with state of the art audio visual technology showing the Nazi madness and the dark years of the Occupation, to the hidden side of the space conquest, offering an immersion in the past and a new outlook on the present. Aviators will be interested in Longuenesse Airfield, where the RAF unveiled a memorial to honour British aviation pioneers. Regarded as one of the headquarters of the British Army during World War 1, Saint-Omer was a major airfield, housing support units from the Belgian front.

La Coupole, credit P. Mores Boat Lift St.Omer, photo C.Blesse Blockhouse de l'Eperlecques

Industrial Innovation

The boat lift at Florinettes (above centre) is a feat of engineering. At the end of the 19thC, river transport was in full expansion with a steady stream of barges running along the Neuffossé canal joining the Lys to the Aa. It was decided to build a boat lift at Fontinettes to replace the five locks which slowed down the traffic. For 80 years, this hydraulic lift allowed 300 tonne barges to negociate the change in level of 13 meters in only 20 minutes. It was replaced in 1968 by the big Flanders Lock and later it became a museum.

For the next Buy and Collect Day:

david@bringingburgundytoyou.com

Bringing Burgundy to You Wine Store

Where to Stay

Hotels:

Ibis, St Omer Centre***
Hotel Château Tilques
Hotel St. Louis**