Published by Andrew on 10 August 2019
After the relative hustle and bustle of some towns on his Lille to Paris bike route, Richard Peace found a more peaceful place to rest his head.
This was my third night’s stay on my Lille to Paris bike route and after the urban excitement of Lille and Arras, it was a total change to find a beautiful and friendly chambres d’hotes amid many poignant reminders of the 1914-18 war. See also our Somme Bike Route overview if you're interested in war history.
Five things we liked about Le Clos du Clocher, Gueudecourt
1. A haven of tranquility: The first thing that you notice here is the huge and very beautiful garden with bedrooms attached to the owners’ house overlooking it and more newly built accommodation hidden away in one corner.
The landscaping, new gardens and room conversions are all the work of the current owners Sylvie and Philippe Hauwel. You can sit outside your room or take a wander around to drink in the peace and quiet.
2. Relaxing sauna and more – great for groups: The Espace de Bien-Être at the heart of the garden promises not only treatments with essential oils and hot stones but a magnificent jacuzzi. The jacuzzi can be booked by the hour and if you’re in need of something to relax aching muscles looks just the job.
Groups of cyclists will find stacks of rooms available too: there are five B&B rooms (three double, one triple and one quadruple) and the family also offer two gites (just next to the garden of remembrance), one for nine people and the other one for five people.
3. E-bike and e-scooter hire to explore local history: If you fancy exploring the local area but haven’t bought any means of transport there is e-bike and e-scooter hire on offer. For the latter you are restricted to roads and need a driving licence from your country of origin. Being electric they are totally quiet and super comfortable as I found out after going for a quick spin on one.
Gueudecourt village is tiny but fascinating. There’s a picturesque village green and next to the war memorial a garden of remembrance which tells its own sobering WWI tale. Nearby along quiet roads are Grass Lane Commonwealth war graves and the attractive local towns of Bapaume and Péronne are also within riding distance. Anyone with a Canadian connection or interested in the role they played in WWI may want to visit the nearby Newfoundland Memorial.
4. Breakfast and evening meal: There was plenty of continental breakfast on offer with copious cups of coffee, fruit juice, breads, meat and cheese, a selection of lovely fruit jams and yoghurt. Home-cooked evening meals are available too if reserved in advance and Sophie told me a typical offering would be the local "ficelle picarde" (stuffed pancake with ham, mushrooms, white sauce, cream and cheese), chicken fillet with a pepper sauce and a home made ice-cream (chicory flavour) or a rhubarb tart.
5. Meet the family: Non-French speakers will be pleased to learn the lady of the house Sylvie speaks good English and she and husband Philippe are founts of helpfulness and local knowledge. It was clear from the many photos of those who served in WWI pinned to the wall of the communal guests’ area (where there is small kitchen with microwave and fridge) that many visitors have come here to delve into the past of their relatives and the Hauwels have taken great care and pride in helping them do it.
Le Clos du Clocher is a delightful place to stay – whether you are after a real ‘local’ base for cycling and exploring the battlefields of the Somme, or if you are just passing through as part of a longer trip.
Le Clos du Clocher B&B and self-catering gites
3 rue de l’église, 80360 Gueudecourt
Somme, Hautes de France
About our reviewer
Richard Peace is the author of the official English-language guidebook to the Veloscenie Paris-Mont-Saint Michel bike route and the Sustrans guide to the London-Paris Avenue Verte. He also contributes to A to B magazine, Bike Europe and Eurobike Show Daily. You can see all Richard's books here.