chateau de moulin le comtePhotos courtesy of Château de Moulin le Comte


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History first mentions Aire-sur-la-Lys in 857 when Baldwin II, Count of Flanders, built a fortress on the site in defense against the Norman invasions. A common genesis of many ancient towns, a settlement soon grew around the fort, followed by a church, in this case the Collegiate Church of St. Pierre. Over the next six hundred years, the town was laid siege to ten times.

Moulin le Comte dates back to 1202. It remained part of the crown lands until the French Revolution when it was subsequently sold a number of times. The present stone and brick building dates from 1850. For nearly a hundred years, the Schotsmans family from Belgium owned the property where they established a flour mill, which contributed greatly to the town’s economy until demolished in 1960.

Francis and Cedric Van der Elst bought the property in 2011 and opened it the following year as a bed and breakfast.

Pamela’s Perspective

The village of Aire-sur-la-Lys can boast of twenty-three historical monuments, including a belfry that’s designated a UNESCO World Heritage site—one of fifty-six spread across northern France and Belgium. While church bell towers signified the power of the church, these belfries symbolized the power and and prosperity of the town and independence from the feudal system.


Château de Moulin le Comte

A 19th-century château


44 Rue Principale
62120 Aire-sur-la-Lys
Tel: ++33 (0) 3 21 88 48 38
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

5 rooms

Single rooms: 76–104 euros
Double rooms: 150–208 euros
Suites: from 223 euros
Rates include breakfast

Open: all year

Getting there

Aire-Sur-La-Lys is about 58 km southeast of Calais. From the A-26, take Exit 4. Continue east on D-192 and then onto D-196.

What to do

Nearby: fishing; hiking; bicycling


You would be hard put to find accommodations more welcoming and wonderful than this charming private home. Father and son, Francis and Cedric, will be genuinely glad to see you, and everybody’s welcome, including your pets and your kids! No matter where you’re from, don’t be shy about staying here; Francis speaks some seven languages.

Don’t expect a full-service hotel here, but rather a home that’s open as a bed and breakfast. With only five guest rooms, you can expect a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. So as not to disturb other guests, plan on arriving before 11pm. After that, the doors are locked.

Four of the guest rooms are located on the top floor, and one, the “Red Room,” is on the ground floor if you have difficulty negotiating stairs. Rooms are spacious, spotlessly clean, with decorating touches—such as a chair or armoire—that are in keeping with the mansion’s original character. Views from the windows look out over the garden. Thoroughly modern and well-equipped bathrooms have showers.

Breakfast features an excellent selection of meats, cheese, eggs, cereals, and home-made jams. Don’t miss an evening dinner with Francis and Cedric. You need to make reservations well in advance and you’ll be rewarded by an beautifully presented five-course meal.

Something special

curlicue Fabulous hospitality