Absolutely Nothing To Write Home About – Le Clos De La Prairie

The ability to both eat and enjoy a five course dinner accompanied by two children under the age of 3, is somewhat of a rarity but I can happily tell you that I’ve found somewhere you can do just that.
We’re on our family holiday to France. Something we do every year and something we look forward to more and more now that the boys are becoming real people – if you know what I mean. We like to drive. All the way from Oxfordshire to the South of France. Well I say we, what I really mean is I like to drive as I hate to fly. Will do anything in my power to avoid it. So off we go, car laden with more clothes and belongings than I ever realised we owned, through the tunnel (not my favourite part) et voila, France. With 2 little ones in tow, you have no choice but to break up the journey and after the traditional numerous stop offs in London to off load things like the dog and pick up things like forgotten Mac chargers, we were never going to make it much past Calais. Where to stay always provides us with a bone of contention. I just want the children to sleep so that I can sleep and my husband wants to drink a bottle of rose, enjoy a fabulous meal and then go to sleep. These things rarely go in tandem – until NOW!
Le Clos De La Prairie is the most wonderful hotel and restaurant about an hour from Calais in the small village of Gouy Saint André. It has been open as a restaurant for the past 6 or so years and more recently added an 8 bedroom “hotel” wing which could not be a more perfect addition in a more idyllic setting. The architecture in this part of France shows itself through low long barn like buildings of which Le Clos has 4, one used as the owners’ home, another which forms the restaurant and kitchens, a more modern version which houses the accommodation and finally a beautiful old stable building decorated with pink hydrangeas. It’s a little bit like Daylesford but without the pretension.
The rooms have been done both tastefully and cleverly. Farrow and Ball grey covers the walls, mushroom linen tied with white muslin hang the length of the floor to ceiling windows and crisp white bed linen is softened with french eiderdowns and cushions. It’s exactly what you would hope to find with everything you need. The bathroom was big and modern and beautifully finished with an open, stone tiled shower and lots of towels – very important I’m sure you’ll agree.

We stayed in the family room – a long room with the bathroom in the middle and double bed with french windows at one end, plus cot for the little one, and a single child’s bed at the other end. Far enough away to feel spacious but not too far to feel separated.  It was the first time my not quite 3 year old has slept in a bed and probably one of the best night’s sleep he’s ever had.
So, on to the main event which was dinner. We chose to sit outside – the smart choice when dining with children – and had the garden and terrace to ourselves for the entire evening, the other diners opting to eat in the restaurant. Perhaps the sight of two small boys put them off the alfresco option, who knows. I’m not going to write about each course crumb by crumb, I’m not a critic and it will just end up being long winded and dull. I’ll let a few photographs speak for themselves.

Needless to say it was one of the most enjoyable dinners we’ve had since becoming parents and we went to sleep very happy indeed. Where else can you enjoy crab and langoustines whilst being entertained by your one year old with a bread basket on his head, your 3 year old picking daisies and all in the company of the hotel family dog wearing nothing but a baby grow.

Le Clos de la Prairie – 17, rue de Saint Rémy – 62870 Gouy Saint André
Tel. : 03 21 90 39 58 – leclosdelaprairie@orange.fr

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