June 24, 2011

La Belle Ville de Bergues

FBF and I took a surprisingly long drive over to Bergues (it’s about an hour from Lille) in order to explore the town that has become famous due to Dany Boon’s hit movie about Le Nord, Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis.
(trailer with English subtitles).

I wanted to see the places where they filmed the movie, drink me some Ch’ti beer, and eat at the baraque à frites (French fry stand – specifically Friterie Momo from the film). But what we discovered was much more than just a film set.

We got there around lunchtime and hit up the Office du Tourisme. They have a Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis tour in the afternoons at 15h and 15h30 that costs only 4euros!

Free map and my ticket to the Ch'tis tour.

After being thoroughly excited about the fact that there is an actual tour that takes you to all the places they filmed the movie, we decided to have lunch while waiting for the ticket office to open. As with almost all public services in France, the Office du Tourisme was closed for lunch, and wouldn’t be opening again until 14h (because everybody needs a 2 hour lunch break, amIright?).

This is when we experienced my first and only disappointment with Bergues. Not only is Chez Momo not permanently in Bergues, there wasn’t a single baraque à frites in sight.

"C'était une caravane, maintenant c'est une baraque à frites. Ils ne dorment plus dedans, ils font des frites."

(It was a caravan, and now it's a baraque à frites. They no longer sleep in it; they make French fries.)

-Yann, Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis

Dismayed, but determined, we ate at the French fry stand that was in a building instead of a caravan, and I proceeded to have the best French fries of my life.

They were the perfect amount of a crispy exterior yet fondant interior. I ate all of mine, and some of FBF’s.

To compliment those lovely frites we chose none other than Ch’ti beer.

My lunch of beer and fries. I might have had two ch'ti blonde beers instead of just one...

Having an hour to kill after eating, we decided to wonder aimlessly around the city.

We discovered the remains of an ancient monastery from the 1100s that was mostly destroyed during the French Revolution.

Really old monastery, complete with gardens.

We also learned that Bergues is a walled in city, and still has all its ramparts.

The ramparts made it seem like a fairy tale city.

Before getting to walk around all the ramparts, however, it was time to go on the Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis 1.5 hour walking tour. It was definitely worth the 4 euros. The woman who took us on the tour was very knowledgeable, shared fun facts about the shooting, and had a binder full of pictures of the movie making process.

Here are a few photos of the various places we saw:

The real Bergues Post Office. Dany Boon was unable to get permission from the French government to use the real building, so they used La Poste's logo on another building, creating their own post office.

The post office from the movie (there was a truck blocking it so I couldn't get a straight on view).

The bridge where Dany Boon and Kad Merad relieved themselves during the film!

The top of la beffroi (belltower) where Dany Boon's character is the carillonneur (person who plays the bells).

The bottom of la beffroi, as well as the office du tourisme.

Dany Boon wanted to create a movie about his region and challenge some preconceived notions about life up here in le ch’nord. This is why the film does not show case Bergue’s monastery, ramparts, or old churches, and instead focuses on things common throughout the region, such as the beffroi, or the nonexistent baraque à frites.


  1. Color me jealous. Great photos.

  2. Joshua: Thanks! If you come to France sometime soon maybe I'll take you there ;)

  3. Wow - what a great trip. You and the V know how to take advantage of your locale.

  4. Mike: Thanks dad! It was definitely a lot of fun.

  5. I love it - and can't wait to visit Bergues (and see you!)!!

  6. Is it bad that I haven't seen this movie?

  7. Jenna: It's a really funny movie. I definitely recommend it. The English title is Welcome To The Sticks. I don't know if it was ever released in the US, but it was in the UK. My parents really liked it, so clearly it isn't only for French people!


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