"St Valery - Under The Boardwalk (there's some mud)" Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme by JohnnySpangles
Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme Travel Guide: 76 reviews and 147 photos
St Valery was named after a Seventh Century hermit monk, although given the amount of mud that surrounds the place he was more likely a hermit crab.
It is on the south side of the bay of the mouth of the River Somme, which is basically one percent piddly river and ninety-nine percent thick gloopy mud. Also if you were expecting trenches, barbed wired and choruses of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ then all that took place about eighty kilometres inland. Nobody would bother fighting over the mud in St Valery, there’s more than enough for everyone.
William the Conqueror embarked for his invasion of England from St Valery in 1066. There’s a story that says that when he eventually landed at England he slipped and fell off the boat. No doubt he was still trying to get the St Valery mud off his boots. However being the first grand-master of public relations he arose with his hands full of English mud and declared ‘See I have England in my hands already’…always been a cocky lot, the French.
St Valery is pleasant enough and there’s a quayside boardwalk that goes on for miles offering spectacular views of the mud. There’s also a quaint old steam train service that goes from St Valery via Noyelles, around the bay and on to Le Crotoy on the opposite side of the bay. This is quite a jolly little ride that takes about an hour. Enjoy the journey for what it is, but don’t get too excited about getting there as Le Crotoy isn’t even remotely blessed with anything interesting.
While you are on the train they let you stand near the engine, touch hot things and generally be as unsafe as you like. They wouldn’t let you do this in our now Health & Safety obsessed Britain, a process started by William The Conqueror after he slipped off a boat that led to the Greasy Decks and Muddy Boots Act of 1067.
Be warned though that due to crippling exchange rates, where our beleaguered pound finds itself flat on the canvas and about to be counted out for the fifth time, the train ride isn’t cheap at around forty euros for a return ticket for a family of four.
However I found that you could save money by buying two return tickets and two single tickets. This does mean that you have to leave the children in Le Crotoy, but it makes for a much quieter time during the rest of your holiday.
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