Things to do
Surrounded by history, No.fifty6 is the perfect base from which to explore the region of Picardy and the Somme.
THE SOMME BATTLE EXPERIENCE – WALK WITH ME.
Whether you’ve been to the Somme before or visiting for the first time, David and Julie offer a battlefield experience like no other. Don’t expect a dry, old history lesson here. Their passion and knowledge of WW1 history is brought to life as they take you through a fully immersive, emotional journey and sensory experience.
Whether you’re interested in tracking down family ties or simply interested in the history, your hosts will personalise your experience with real, individual stories and accounts of life as a soldier in 1916.
A SLICE OF FRENCH LIFE
From coffee to cognac, painting to photography, shopping to people watching, the nearby towns offer a taste of French life at its best.
- Take a coffee in Albert Square and marvel at the Basilica
- Fill your suitcase with gifts from the Christmas markets in Arras and Amiens
- Enjoy the beautiful countryside and quietly watch the native wildlife
- Go on a steam train at Le p'tit train de la Haute Somme
- Experience the big town atmosphere on a day out to Lille or Paris
- Enjoy fine French dining at one of many wonderful restaurants
- At the end of the day, relax with interesting people in the warm, candle lit lounge at No.fifty6
We are happy to recommend places to visit and restaurants to eat at in the evenings. If you would like any further information, please contact us.
30th April 2021
If March was contrary, weather wise, April has continued the theme, the first half of the month very cold with hard frosts which have caused problems for vineyards and fruit growers throughout France. The sun has been there by day to fool you into thinking it is warmer than it is, but too cold to work in the garden and a need to wrap up warm for walks. The last week however has seen the wind change direction, the sun seems to shine brighter and the Spring warmth has returned. So now is the time to get rid of winter from the garden and of course explore the landscape here as we love to do.
The farmers are busy, tractors rolling up and down the large fields, potatoes going in, distinguishable by their neatly peaked ridge rows, wheat growing, colza/rape/canola now tinging some fields with a brilliant yellow. Blossom everywhere on trees and the birds nesting in our eaves as they usually do.
Great blue skies for photography so David has been in his element, capturing moments and images which catch his eye, as we walk this hallowed landscape.
A place we go to frequently on our walks is Caterpillar Valley Cemetery. It is a beautiful place, surrounded by fields and with stunning views. Buried within its walls is Captain Hugh Stewart Smith, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. An only son, he was killed near High Wood in August 1916. He is not a well-known poet, but among his possessions, in his diary was found this poem. He captures among the death surrounding him, the ordinariness he longed for:
On the Plains of Picardy
Lay a soldier, dying
Gallantly, with soul still free
Spite the rough worlds' trying.
Came the Angel who keeps guard
When the fight has drifted,
"What would you for your reward
When the clouds have lifted?"
Then the soldier through the mist
Heard the voice and rested
As a man who sees his home
When the hill is breasted –
This his answer and I vow
Nothing could be fitter –
Give me peace, a dog, a friend
And a glass of bitter!