Hotel Chateau Tilques Location
Chateau Tilques is perfectly located if you’re either visiting north France or want to start your drive south after a good night. Just 5 kilometers (3 miles) outside St-Omer in Pas-de-Calais, it’s 43 kilometers (26 miles) from Calais, 77 kilometers (47.8 miles) from Arras, and 257 kilometers (159 miles) from Paris. It makes a perfect weekend base.
The hotel is located in a converted, 19th-century red-brick, Flemish-style three-storey chateau. It’s set in rolling parkland with a small lake in the middle and despite its proximity to St-Omer and the motorway system, seems far away from it all.
The Guest Rooms
There are rooms both in the main chateau and in the new building. In the chateau, wide upstairs corridors lead into 29 different traditional, spacious rooms, all with large windows letting the light flood in, and looking out onto the green parkland. Comfortable chairs, large cupboards, striped wall paper and conventional lights furnish the rooms, some with half tester beds to add to the chateau atmosphere.
In the new building, the Conservatory, the feel in the 24 more expensive rooms is lighter, more country-house style with pretty chintz wallpaper and textiles and a lot of cupboard space. In both types of rooms, the bathrooms are large, most with shower and bath as well.
Le Vert Mesnil restaurant is separate from the rest of the hotel. Set in a former 17th-century stable block, it has an outside terrace complete with parading peacocks. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients, the chef produces classic dishes with delightful modern twists. Starters range from rabbit with prune terrine, surrounded by carrot juice and coriander ice cream to smoked salmon and haddock, the salt cut by white cabbage, carrot and Granny Smith apples. Five main dishes might include rosemary-smoked lamb with vegetables cooked tajine-style, sole or a delicate trout confit with risotto, celery and apple. There’s a very good wine list that also has bottles for less ambitious budgets and a friendly, welcoming staff.
Individual dishes are expensive, 11 to 20 euros for starters and 21 to 32 euros for main dishes. So take the three-course menu for 37 euros or four courses for 53 euros with dishes chosen from the main menu. At lunch, a special 18 euro menu is the order of the day.
The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Rue du Chateau
Tel.: 00 33 (0)3 21 88 99 99
The hotel has some very good offers depending on the time of year and the season. So go online to check them out. For instance, dinner, bed and breakfast at 99 euros per person.
What this means
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Activities in and around the hotel
This is very much a weekend break hotel, so you can play tennis, or swim in the decent sized, covered pool while a jogging track winds around the lake. There’s golf nearby and plenty to do in the surrounding countryside.
Sightseeing near the Hotel
Nearby St-Omer is a delightful small town with a Flemish feel to the architecture of the streets and central square. At one end, the massive 800-hundred-year old cathedral has pride of place. It’s a great gothic extravaganza with an astronomical clock of 1558 and a Rubens painting of the Descent from the Cross.
The Hotel Sandelin houses a remarkably interesting museum with a set of 18th-century rooms and one of the best art collections in northern France. Pretty small streets of good shops, cafes and restaurants complete the picture.
Marshlands surround the town, with rivers running straight to the sea. It was this network that gave St-Omer its importance in the Middle Ages. Today there are two main attractions: the market garden area of the Audromarois and the Romelaëre Nature Reserve. Take to the water on a boat trip, by canoe, rowing boat or motor launch.
near Clairmarais church, 4km from St-Omer on the D209
Tel.: 00 33 (0)3 21 12 30 10
Au Bon Accueil
9 rue du Rivage Boitel
Tel.: 00 33 (0)3 21 38 35 14
This waterside estaminet restaurant hires out boats.
The former launchpad for Hitler’s V2 rockets has been converted into a highly effective museum. It not only takes you through the history of the war and the development of the Germans’ secret weapons, but carries on into the 50s and 60s and the Cold War and Space Race. The way the museum is organized, with films, interactive displays and objects is very impressive.