Visiting Le Vieux Soldat Farmhouse, Ste. Marguerite, Comines, France: 1746 Structure in Striped Brick and Limestone
Solid, former stage coach staging post
Dating from 1746, a country farmhouse named Le Vieux Soldat (The Old Soldier) is noted for its construction in limestone and red brick. Interestingly, its design follows a pattern of red brick and limestone layers giving the building a colourful, striped look.
In French, this striped brick and limestone building procedure is known as 'les Rouges barres' and is common to the wider area, particularly in the small region of Barœil, near Lille.
At Le Vieux Soldat farmhouse, window and doorway segmental arching (2) are prominent.
Historically, Le Vieux Soldat farmhouse was a stage coach staging post.
In the late 20th century, Le Vieux Soldat farmhouse was refurbished and has for many years hosted vacation letting of its units. (I myself stayed here nearly 30 years ago.)
This area of northern France, close to the Belgian border, is quite flat — and sometimes susceptible to being waterlogged; but in suitable conditions it is ideal for healthy country walks and I myself, on one of many visits to Comines and district, spent several hours on foot exploring the vicinity.
The name of the building, Le Vieux Soldat (The Old Soldier), is perhaps not unusual because northern France and neighbouring Belgium (sometimes known in history as the Cock-Pit of Europe, for its numerous invasions by foreign armies) has so many historical memories of soldiers marching through them.
Sainte Marguerite itself is a hamlet which forms part of the French commune of Comines, in Nord department.
Le Vieux Soldat farmhouse features in: Daniel Derveaux, En Pays de Ferrain, Editions Derveaux, 1983, p. p. 144. The name 'Ferrain' in the title of the book refers to the historic Ferrain region of the Nord department, which, while having little administrative significance today, is retained in the name of the nearby town of Neuville-en-Ferrain.
Le Vieux Soldat farmhouse is located at 320-322 Le Grand Perne, Ste. Marguerite, Comines (3).
January 30, 2020
(1) See also (in French) : https://www.petitfute.com/v56862-comines-59560/c1166-hebergement/c153-gite/601426-ferme-du-vieux-soldat.html
(2) Segmental arches, which contain circular arches of less than 180 degrees, are designed to bear great weight.
(3) There is also a Belgian town by the same name in French, and known as Komen in Dutch, located over the Lys River from Comines, France.
Also worth seeing
In Ste. Marguerite itself, a Neo-Gothic church building dating from 1858/64 has historical memories of the Crusades.
Comines, France (distance: approx. 3 kilometres) has a Town Hall (by Louis Marie Cordonnier) with a striking belfry. The grounds of its Saint-Chrysole (by Maurice Storez and Dom Paul Bellot) church have a monument to Medieval chronicler and diplomat Philippe de Commynes. The town was devastated in World War One and had to be considerably rebuilt in the years thereafter.
How to get there: Brussels has the nearest large international airport to Comines. Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains a service between Brussels and Comines/Komen, on the Belgian side, which is easily accessible from Comines-France. (There is also a less frequent public transit link to Sainte Marguerite via Lille.) Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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