The village of Houlle, located in the North West of the Audomarois marshes near Moulle and Eperlecques, is definitely a tourist destination for those looking for a vacation spot by the water. This village of 1150 inhabitants is indeed recognized for its campsites, but also and above all for the Persyn distillery producing the famous Houlle genever. Also note the presence of a XNUMXth century church, an XNUMXth century well (the Saint-Bertin well) as well as the Houlle which crosses the village. This tributary of the Aa taking its source between Houlle and Moulle meanders these two municipalities to then join the waters of the river channeled south of Watten.

In terms of toponymy, Houlle would come from hunulo, old Germanic terms meaning “brown waters”. The village of Houlle has several localities, such as Brûle, la Chapelle, Basse-Boulogne, Vincq and Warland.

Let's go without further ado to discover this friendly village occupying 155 hectares of the Audomarois marsh!

The Reninghe river, a tributary of the Houlle and border between the Nord and the Pas de Calais – Photo: Philippe Hudelle

The church of Houlle

The church of Houlle, dedicated to Saint-Jean Baptiste, has its origins in the 2020th century, although the current building is no longer recent. In July XNUMX, the elected officials of the village of Houlle decided during a municipal council to give it a makeover.

Church of Houlle – Photo: Philippe Hudelle

La Houlle

The village of Houlle is watered by a river of the same name. The aptly named river has its source between Moulle and Houlle, winds its way over 4,8 kilometers in the northwestern part of the Audomarois marshes to flow into the Aa canal to the south-west of Watten. In this sense, it is a natural tributary of the Aa.

Along the Houlle, the walker in the boat appreciates in particular some pretty traditional residences, pastures and fodder fields, as well as superb boats moored on the quays. In particular, there are old barges and an old pusher boat restored by its owner.

This river, meeting the Reninghe and the Muissens, two main rivers of the western marshes, has a particularity: its reversed current. Indeed, the establishment of a large pumping station upstream has the unusual consequence of the rise of the waters of the Aa towards the source of Houlle.

The Houlle river, a tributary of the Aa – Photo: Philippe Hudelle

The Saint-Bertin well

Raised on private land at a place called Basse-Boulogne, the Saint-Bertin well is a religious monument dating from the 1984th century. Built in Artois stone and Flemish bricks, this monument, listed in XNUMX, looks like a buried Gothic church spire!

It was once one of the many possessions of the abbey of Saint-Bertin de Saint-Omer.

The Saint-Bertin well – Photo: Philippe Hudelle

Genièvre de Houlle and the Persyn distillery

A local saying says that in Houlle flows the Houlle and the Houlle. Indeed, this village of the Audomarois marshes hosts a distillery on the banks of its main river producing a renowned genever: Maison Persyn.

Juniper is a grain alcohol flavored with juniper berries, which is traditionally presented as the ancestor of gin. This traditional northern spirit has been concocted since 1812 in this small marsh village.

The Houlle distillery originally belonged to the Decocq family, then in 1885 to the Lafoscade family. It will be taken over in the 1940s by the Persyn family. The latter has worked tirelessly to restore the genever to its former glory. Long associated with the popular bistoule (drip coffee), Houlle genever is now available in several versions, including prestigious crus (aged in oak barrels, liqueur, etc.). Today, the distillery is labeled "Living Heritage Company", as are the boat makers in Saint-Omer. It also multiplies the medals, including that relating to the best gin in the world... Just that!

Discover here the website of the distilleries.

Around the village

The commune of Houlle is bordered by several communes of the Audomarois marshes: Éperlecques, Serques and Moulle in the Pas-de-Calais, as well as Watten in the North.

Campsites in Houlle

Where to sleep in Houlle? The small village of Houlle has no less than 4 campsites located on the edge of the marsh:

  • Les Charmilles (11 Rue d'Hellebroucq)
  • Camping Le Rivage (7 Imp. des Étangs)
  • The Willows (Rte de Watten)
  • The Reeds (73 Rue de Vincq)

Houllois restaurants

In terms of good restaurants, this village in the Audomarois marshes is also well served! We find 4 restaurants in Houlle serving traditional French and regional cuisine:

  • The Table Houlloise (41 National Road)
  • Restaurant at Loisel Farm (11 Rue d'Hellebroucq)
  • At the Artois Rally (31 Rte de Watten)
  • At the Bistrot Gourmand (8 Rte de Watten)

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