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Cafe for coach party in Neuve Chapelle area


Mark Hone
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As usual I am trying to make some early arrangements for my October 2015 school tour. On the first day I am planning to go straight from Zeebrugge to the Neuve Chapelle area to tour Aubers Ridge, Festubert etc instead of starting off in Ieper or another large town. That leaves the question of lunch. Can anyone recommend a cafe where I could take 56 persons for a snack and a drink? My immediate thought was that place at La Bombe crossroads opposite the Indian Memorial (which we'll be visiting). It always seems to be shut whenever I am in the vicinity, although last time it should have been open according to the hours stated on the door. I can't seem to find contact details for it on the 'net. Any other recommendations would be gratefully received. A bit far from Auchonvillers where we've done a similar thing in the past!

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There is very, very little in this area Mark and generally they are not interested or welcome coach groups. The cafe at La Bombe does not have space for 56 and they do not seem interested in taking groups. Again there is nothing in N-C that could hold a group of that size.

I take all my groups into Bethune or Armentieres.

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Is there a "baraque á frites" with shelter in the area ? (I presume the driver wouldn't allow eating on the coach). You could give them a real regional cultural experience ! I know the one at Inchy (Chez Caro Frites) has an adjoining converted barn with tables and facilities), there may be a similar one near Neuve Chapelle.

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Your best bet would be to get a packed lunch from the accommodation that you are staying in,or do as Paul said; there is precious little around there. There is a Cocci Market and Boulangerie in Richebourg, a small cafe in Givenchy and a reopening cafe in Cuinchy, that is all I can think of immediately. The cafe at LA Bombe has looked closed for years.

Michelle

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Thanks for this. Packed lunches are the problem: we're coming straight off the Zeebrugge ferry and the packed lunches they provide are expensive, awful and delay you at the port for ages while they get them ready. We've given them up as a bad job; the ones we get from the hotel on the other days are fine. Armentieres was my fall back option but I've never taken a group there. I always think that the one way system through the town is a nightmare; I've got lost several times over the years travelling through Armentieres by car. In fact I never seem to leave it by the same road!

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There's an intermarche in LA Bassee, near the railway station, could you get some provisions in there? Its quite a sizeable store. I also have used the frite van in Estaires, and there is a boulangerie which sells ready made baguettes in the place in Estaires

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Thanks again for all of this. I've got a few months to sort it all out. In extremis frites wagons always go down well with the troops. Mind you, one year I made arrangements with a cafe well in advance only for it unfortunately to go out of business before the tour itself.

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There's a Flunch at the Auchon in Englos - built for the mass market but, perhaps, a bit dangerous to let school party loose in a hypermarket if you want a quickish lunch!

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You are not going to be too far from the Hill 70 shopping complex at Loos - Flunch, the world famous MacWatsisname, hypermarket, etc etc. Plus of course that places your coach on the Loos battlefield - more to see than you can shake a stick at.

Tom

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Thanks again. Loos is the focus of one of the later days of the tour but I'll check out the hypermarket etc. as a possibility for the Saturday.

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There is a very nice café-restaurant in Locon. They do not normally cater for a party of that size (from memory I think they have about 12-20 seats) but if you talked nicely to them and well in advance they may be able to do something. Only trouble is, I can't recall its name. Central, anyway.

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Mark,

I always face this problem with my school trips. We leave Crieff near Perth in Scotland at 7.30pm drive overnight to Dover.Cross to Calais then go straight out to the battlefields. Lunch is a picnic that my wife bought in bulk buying.

Popular over the years have been water,lemonade, apples, crisps, chocolate and muffins. Always popular with the pupils especially the unhealthy options. None of it 'goes off' on the journey and can be bought surprisingly cheaply. About £200 covers 40 plus pupils and staff. All you need is to find a suitable picnic area ie. car park ideally with a bench or two. No use to you in this instance but I usually use Vimy after visiting the trenches/tunnel. Canadians always very helpful especially when they see how tidy we are. Take polythene bags and have the pupils help themselves under close staff supervision otherwise there will be no chocolate left for the staff.

Len

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There is a very nice café-restaurant in Locon. They do not normally cater for a party of that size (from memory I think they have about 12-20 seats) but if you talked nicely to them and well in advance they may be able to do something. Only trouble is, I can't recall its name. Central, anyway.

Le Carrousell, beside the church ? Couple of places right beside it where you could park a coach as well - but 56 people is an awful lot for a place that size. A very firm pre-booking with some money up-front would probably be a good idea.

The Hill 70 complex at Loos is here.

Tom

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Ah, well done Tom! And no, it is not that ... but you inspired me to find it! It is "La Cigogne" at Lestrem.

See https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.6228681,2.6842244,3a,75y,59.71h,86.24t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s-tO29i3XsaC__Y2ZDPlyAQ!2e0?hl=en

By the way there is also an excellent chippie in Lestrem, in the entrance to the grounds of the chateau used as HQ by 2nd Portuguese Division. It's about two minutes walk from "La Cigogne".

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There is a very nice café-restaurant in Locon.

Ah, well done Tom! And no, it is not that ... but you inspired me to find it! It is "La Cigogne" at Lestrem.

Well they'll get there in the end Chris - and on the way between the two they could make a slight detour and visit the splendid (and very unusual) Portuguese memorial at La Couture. I was directed to it some time ago by the chap below - the one standing about with his hands in his pockets :thumbsup:

post-108-0-41072300-1419028424_thumb.jpg

Tom

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Plenty of recommendations to consider. I am looking forward to our visit to the area, one of my favourite parts of the Western Front, and a possible meeting with Forum Pal Michel Knockaert at the site of the Last Absolution of the Munsters.

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