The village of Cassel in France’s Nord division area with its cobbled streets, quiet ambiance and conventional Flemish buildings seems like a romantic relic of a bygone period.
Although it was initially created by the Romans on prime of a outstanding hill (Mont Cassel) overlooking the luxurious rolling pastures of French Flanders, the rulers of Flanders picked up the items after the demise of the Roman Empire and the Flemish affect continues to be evident.
Although many a holiday-maker has pushed or worse – bypassed altogether – Cassel on their solution to Lille or Paris, we provide two improbable causes to cease and stare.
Musée de Flandre
Musée de Flandre (Flanders Museum) is situated in a shocking 17th century Flemish constructing on the primary avenue of Cassel, with foundations courting again to the medieval interval.
You will see a few of the best Flemish artworks and work on the planet right here. At the moment they’re internet hosting a particular exhibition of Fêtes et Kermesses au temps des Brueghel till July 14th (€6 grownup entry).
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (additionally spelt “Brueghel”) is famend for his Dutch and Flemish Renaissance work. Lots of them characteristic imaginative, joyful and generally barmy renditions of events and celebrations. Sadly his personal works are usually not right here however you possibly can see them in The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Nonetheless, the excellent news is that works primarily based on his work are right here in abundance.
Eleven room showcase these and in addition to artworks created by his two sons, Jan I and Pieter II. A lot of the work depict the poorest of society, they usually present an necessary social commentary on life within the Renaissance interval.
Greater than 100 work and engravings depict gala’s, weddings and different neighborhood occasions that passed off in 16th and 17th centuries, some with extremely humorous and unusual depictions. Virtually each portray incorporates a stupidly-dressed “idiot”, who’s a visible illustration of extra and naughtiness. Males projectile vomit after glugging an excessive amount of mead, embrace passionately behind timber and brawlers throw punches with homosexual abandon.
To prime the leisure off are the amusing holographic jesters that pop-up whereas tales of peasant events through the Baroque interval unfold.
Amid all this are quite a few depictions of brides: sobbing brides, bored brides and drunken brides all make an look. There’s additionally an attention-grabbing collection of sartorial hat decisions together with a beehive, a crown manufactured from greens and a hat that appears like a butter churner. One inebriated bride even wears a colander on her head as her terrified husband appears to be like on with pure terror.
My private favorite was ”Village competition” by Jan I Bruegel, which kinds a part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Assortment. The portray incorporates an unbelievable stage of element and expression, portraying dozens of “Lilliputian” characters dancing in celebration.
Whether or not or not you’re a Bruegel fan, the exhibition is brilliantly curated and nice enjoyable. The exhibition is household pleasant and we noticed a number of teams of kids who genuinely appeared to be having fun with themselves.
The gardens at Mont des Récollets
The Jardins du Mont des Récollets (a 5-minute drive from Musée de Flandre) are a part of an outdated, transformed farm and can open to the general public on 10 April 2019 (€6 grownup entry). As with every typical Flemish farm, you enter the gardens although the orchard, and first impressions are of a small, lovingly tended backyard.
Nonetheless, as you weave via varied hedges, nooks and corridors a powerful backyard with extra and 20 themed “rooms” seems. These embody the “embroidery room” with hedges designed to appear to be a knitting sample and the “Berlingots room” with hedges groomed to appear to be sweets.
The farmhouse is nearly as idyllic because the gardens, and overlooks the beautiful Flemish countryside. It has since been transformed right into a restaurant stuffed with outdated pots and pans and hand-made picket tables and chairs.
It is a excellent spot for a standard Flemish lunch or a cup of tea earlier than you progress on.
You possibly can take your automobile on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone to Calais for as little as £24 every approach (primarily based on a day journey). The journey time could be as little as 55 minutes. When you arrive at Calais, the journey to Cassel takes roughly one and a half hours.