hotel-restaurant Le Grand Air, Le Mont de Fiennes - France Review By PoPoL, Rating: 5 out of 5. Verdict: on top of the world

Fine Dining in
Northern France

Restaurant "Le Grand Air"
62132 Fiennes

If you blink at the wrong moment, you will miss the town Fiennes as you drive past: it is a tiny little village, some twenty miles south of Calais. Coming from Guînes (not the Irish beer) driving in  the direction of Fiennes, you come across a high hill: "Le Mont De Fiennes". The "mountain" refers to an offshoot of the chalk layer that made "The White Cliffs of Dover" wolrd  famous. On the continent this chalk layer also includes the two "Caps": Cap Blac Nez and Cap Gris Nez. The chalk in the substrate resulted from the crush of billions of shells, many millions of years ago. This is the real Jurassic Park. (From the Jurassic period)

On top of "Mont de Fiennes" is situated the Hotel-restaurant "Le Grand Air", which offers accomodation (a double room was only 60 euros -£50.00- in early 2010) and very good food.

The restaurant has got two Cheminées Logis de France, which points to a refined cuisine.

The first time we visited the restaurant was on a weekday at noon. We had a taste of the "Menu des travailleurs et voyageurs", which only costs  €14 per person (£12.00)! For that kind of money you get an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert! You can choose from the following delicacies:

Salade de crudité
Saumon fumé
Terrine de saumon a l'oseille
Entrée du jour

Andouillette sauce moutarde à l'nacienne
bavette de boeuf,sauce chasseur
plat du jour
pavé de cabillaud ,sauce hollandaise

Fromage  ou pâtisseries

The other menus are respectively € 30, € 39 and € 49. (£25.00 / £33.00 / £40.00) Find more details on the website of "Le Grand Air".

A very friendly owner welcomed us like we were old friends, he coaxed us to the end of the barroom, where he proudly lent a pair of binoculars, offering us a extraordinary view: from the restaurant, you have a wonderful overview of the ferry port of Calais (12 miles away!) 

After the appetizer we enjoyed the delicacies that were nicely presented. "Le Grand Air" does his two "cheminées" to honor. After this first visit, we later returned on a Saturday night, again to general satisfaction. "Le Grand Air" is a real must, and the location in the midst of many natural beauty is a bonus.

After coffee we went for a walk in the nearby Forêt de Guines, 2000 acres, where a statue commemorates the first balloon flight across the Channel. As early as 1786 (!) the first "aeronauts", Jean-Pierre Blanchard and his financier John Jeff Riesen, in their "Montgolfières", put their balloon to terra firma, after starting in England. Unbelievable, but true. Just like eating at "Le Grand Air": how it's possible to have such a three-course meal for only 14 euro is still a mystery to me, but absolutely recommendable!

More details on "Le Grand Air": visit the WEBSITE.

Hotel-Restaurant "Le Grand Air"
132 Rue Henri Hamy
62132 Le Mont de Fiennes

De Panne (BE)
November 10, 2010

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