Montreuil-sur-Mer, commonly called simply Montreuil, is a 2,676-inhabitant town of the Pas-de-Calais department. This fortified town was established on a plateau overlooking the valley of Canche. The town offers great panoramas over Ponthieu hills and the Côte d’Opale, the coast of northern France. Montreuil-sur-Mer is the capital of a community of communes which gathers 21 towns and more than 11,000 inhabitants. The town boasts good equipments as regards education and sport and also a stunning heritage which has been preserved over the years.
Montreuil has a strategic geographical location which enabled it to become an important place in the north of France. The town has an outstanding citadel and fortifications long of 3km surround it. Montreuil-sur-Mer has a great architectural heritage with many churches, chapels and mansions, but also picturesque streets and an important religious and military heritage.
Even is the town is nowadays located more than 10km away from the coast, during the Roman period, the sea used to reach the site of Montreuil. The first ramparts date back to the 9th century and were built by the count of Ponthieu, Helgaud. In the 10th century, Montreuil was the first sea port of the Capetians. Thanks to the port and thriving commerce, the town could spread and became more and more important within the area. From the 11th to the 13th centuries, the town was famous for its cloth industry, like Arras.
A royal Castle was built by Philippe Auguste during his reign, in the 12th century. During the Middle Ages, the town suffered a lot from varied attacks and was possessed by the English and Spanish. Montreuil was ruined after the Hundred Years’ War Nowadays, the town is a charming flourished town renowned as beautiful place full having a fascinating history.
When it comes to property market, the Pas-de-Calais department does not belong to the cheapest ones in France. With an average price of €3,723 /square metre, it is a quite expensive area in terms of real estate. In 2008, it cost about €3,600 /sq m for a studio to buy in the area around Montreuil-sur-Mer. For a 2-room apartment, we had to count about €3,530 /sq m and €3,850 /sq m for a 3-room one. However, prices in Montreuil are lower than in the very popular seaside resort Le Touquet-Paris Plage where a studio flat cost between €3,720/sq m and €4,690 /sq m and a 3-room apartment cost between €4,070 /sq m and €5,910/sq m. Neighbouring towns such as Berck or Cucq offer yet very attractive prices given the area (€2,040-€2,940 /sqm for a studio flat in Berck for instance).
As regards houses, here are some indicative prices from 2008: 3-room house - €135,800, 4-room house - €139,300, 5-room house - €176,900, 6-room house – €190,000. The majority of properties in Montreuil are detached houses (57.8%), 34.4% of the dwellings having 5 rooms or more.
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Religious heritage: Montreuil has always been an important religious centre. During the Middle Ages, the eight churches of the town already attracted pilgrims. Saint-Saulve church was built during the 12th century on the site of an old monastery dedicated to Saint Walloy. This ancient Benedictine abbey had the features of a pilgrim church, it suffered a lot and its chancel was destroyed but it is still a jewel of the Romanesque and gothic architecture in northern France. The chapelle de l’hôtel-Dieu (13th century), chapelle Saint-Austreberthe and Saint-Josse-au-Val church are also part of the religious heritage of the town.
Monuments, historical heritage: as said before, the ramparts were built during the 9th century. They were consolidated during the 13th century but an important part of them was destroyed after the Imperialists invaded the town in 1537. Several persons were successively in charge of strengthening the fortifications: Errard de Bar Le Duc, Antoine de Ville and the famous Vauban. The Front de la Madeline (west) used to be composed of five 13th-century circular towers and a bastion (Bastion de Bouillon). Nowadays, only 2 medieval towers remain. ‘Boulogne Gate’ (northern façade) is not to be missed either, as well as the citadel which was built during the 16th century by King Charles IX on a promontory overlooking the valley of 40 metres. The town also houses numerous mansions that were built from the 18th century: hotel Acary de la Rivière, hotel de Longvilliers, hotel Saint-Valloy, etc.
Nature, scenery and leisure activities: the area around Montreuil offers varied landscapes which invite people hiking and visiting the region. The Canche River enables people practising canoe-kayak. From Montreuil’s ramparts, you can visit the Course valley, an actual heaven for fishermen but also an area which has a rich heritage: castles, manors, mills and churches, etc. There are many different ways to discover the Montreuillois but the best ones if you want to enjoy the stunning nature are probably by foot or bike using one of the numerous paths.
Events: Montreuil is a very lively town where you can attend varied exhibitions, concerts and theatre plays all year round. The most famous event takes place in summer and is an homage to the French writer Victor Hugo, who visited the town and chose it to be a setting of his novel ‘Les Misérables’. More than 600 locals perform in this ‘son et lumières’ show which takes place in the citadel and includes music, dance, cavalry, pyrotechnics, etc. Amongst others: ‘show-visits’ in July recalls Montreuil’s history, les Malins Plaisirs (August) is a festival which opera, theatre and music, regional days of fortified towns (April), Painters’ Day (August), etc.
Location – transport links: situated about 10km from the coast, Montreuil-sur-Mer is a great place to discover the region. The seaside resort Le Touquet Paris-Plage, which is very famous amongst holidaymakers, is only 19km from Montreuil. You can also easily reach other seaside resorts of the Côte d’Opale such as Merlimont-Plage, Berck or Fort-Mahon Plage. Paris is 210km from Montreuil, Rouen – 149km, Lille – 136km, Arras - 84km, Calais – 73km and Boulogne-sur-Mer – 42km. From the UK, the easiest way to access the town is from Calais, thanks to the eurotunnel, the eurostar or a ferry.
Detached houses: Montreuil has an abundance of detached houses. These properties come with a large piece of land, they have a garage and grass with flowers (beds) on the front side and a garden can be found behind the properties. Typical detached houses of the area are painted in light colours (white, beige, etc) and red bricks may be used at the bottom of the walls as well as around the windows. The roof of such properties have red or brown tiles. Depending on the size of the house, there may be dormer windows, roof windows or normal ones.
Longères: it is not rare seeing longere houses in Montreuil and its surrounding. These properties are built in a row and are most of the time single-storey properties. They have a rectangular shape and offer good dimensions with many rooms. They come with a large piece of land and are pretty sought-after. Farmhouses also have big dimensions and can be found in the region. These character properties are a great investment as they have a great value and are very sought-after.
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