Gare des Annees Folles, Sailly sur la Lys - France Review By PoPoL, Rating: 4 out of 5. Verdict: uncomplicated and original

Fine Dining in
Northern France

Restaurant La Station Bac Saint-Maur
"Gare des Années Folles"
62840 Sailly sur la Lys

Sailly sur la Lys is located on the Lys, as its name suggests. The lovely rural character of the green environment hides a black page in history. During  the Great War (1914-1918) Sailly sur la Lys was witness to heavy battles between the Germans and the Allies. The many, many war monuments and cemeteries in the area are a grim reminder of tha era. In the nearby Fromelles a monument is erected in honour of the brave Australian Fifth Division, that wrote  the darkest page in Australian history on the 19th and 20th of July 1916, when no less than 5533 soldiers were killed or injured in just 24 hours time. Most of the victims weren't discovered until May 2008 when archaeologists dugg up a mass grave of Australian soldiers.

Australian 5th division memorial

Nowadays things are a lot calmer in the region. During our search for original restaurants we came across one, we definitely wanted to visit: an old railway station which is converted in a restaurant, where you can also stay in some converted old train cars. (Rate in 2010: from €39 to €89 - £33.00 - £75.00)

Just the nickname, "Gare des Annees Folles" makes one yearn to have a peek. And so we drove to Sailly sur la Lys on a sunny November day, to experience at first hand how crazy they are. (We like it so much that we have been returning.)

The restaurant "La Station Bac Saint-Maur" is situated along a working railway line, so one can experience the thundering carriages, wagons and vans at only a few yards away from your table. Just like the real thing... :-)

The interior is decorated with old photographs and railway memorabilia, the furniture is very simple and the menu card consists of a number of small blackboards on the walls, showing the courts noted in chalk.

The theme "railways" is repeated in the menus, all of which refer to the SNCF: so you can choose from a "Billet 1ère Classe" (first class ticket), a "Billet Express (train ticket) or opt for a" Bac St Maur Express ".

This train-menu-of-house sets you back at €25 (£21.00) and is the most expensive menu offered. For that amount you get an appetizer, a main course and a dessert to choose. At the other end of the scale you have the children's menu at €6.50 (£5.50) for a "Billet d'enfant", consisting of ham, omelet or steak and chips, ice cream and a soft drink included.

Since we wanted to vixit a number of war monuments later that day, and dusk is early in November, we opted for a cold dish, a "Planche Maison", in the form of a generous breadboard, containing an assortment of meats and cheeses, and a fruit salad. For dessert we got a "Pudding à la bière", a kind of broodcake. We drank a local beer, that just didn't go to our head.... Yes, in "Le Nord" people like to drink a pint of strong beer:.

Verdict: "La Gare des Années Folles" provides a nice respite during a trip through the memories of the misery of a war almost a century ago. Cheap, nice and friendly and prompt service by the owner, complete with the hat of "Chef de la Gare" on her head.

interieur gare des années folles

For more details on "La Gare des Années Folles": visit the WEBSITE

Restaurant  La Station Bac Saint-Maur
aka "La Gare des Années Folles"
77 rue de la gare
62840 Sailly-sur- La Lys

De Panne (BE)
November 10, 2010

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