The romantic walled citadelle at Montreuil-sur-Mer in north France is just the place to return to the past. And you can do just that each summer at the festival of living history (Festival d'Histoire Vivante). It takes in falconry, blacksmithing by old methods, medieval warfare, medieval games and jousting knights, all with enough derring-do to satisfy the most ardent follower -- and the family. It mainly takes place in the Citadelle but there are also guided walks from the Tourist Office, just beside the Citadelle and from the Musee Rodiere, and on July 25th at 5pm, an organ recital which is free in the abbey church of Saint-Saulve.
Montreuil-sur-Mer is worth a visit at any time of year. It's easy to reach from Calais, it's compact which makes it a perfect two-day or longer break, and it has a top hotel and good restaurants.
I'll blog again about Montreuil, but if you're thinking of passing through, consider going when the son-et-lumiere is on for Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The spectacle, well worth the detour, takes place from July 27th to 30th and again from August 3rd to 6th, 2012.