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  • Writer's pictureAngela Louie and Allan de la Plante

Anderlues and the Remarkable Paintings of Nicolas Chancelier

We left our quiet French campground but quickly tired of the motorways with their trucks and high-speed Mercedes and Audis.

We opted instead for the quiet countryside, narrow roads, beautiful villages and herds of Belgian horses.

We knew we were in a different country…when the roads changed. Perfectly smooth in France to spotty patchwork and uneven pavement. We were in Belgium. But the language didn’t change. Still French. Just like Switzerland, the part of Belgium closest to France is French speaking. The part of Belgium closest to The Netherlands is Flemish speaking (a dialect of Dutch). And then there’s a small part somewhere in the middle that’s German speaking.

In the southern French-speaking side of Belgium, the towns were older and very similar to the small French towns we had just passed through.

Nicolas and Katrine were gracious hosts. Nicolas is a physical education teacher and Katrine is also a primary school teacher.

We met them in England at the Goodwood Revival in 2015. These were the boys back then: Paul, Allan, Matt, Nicolas and Alex.

We kept in touch over seven years through Facebook and getting together for our “second date” was a delight. Their beautiful home in Anderlues was so full of character and charm. We found out that Nicolas renovated (and continues to renovate) the old farmhouse by himself! The old rural community was changing as well, from a place where everyone knew everyone else to one with new houses and new neighbours.

But the one place that Allan was anxious to see more than anything was the studio, where Nicolas’ masterpieces are created. In addition to being a teacher, Nicolas is an amazing artist. These large, original oil paintings (some of which are still available) were impressive! It was not long before Allan and Nicolas were working on a project together photographing some of Nicolas’ remarkable work. Allan has more details (you can message him directly) if you want one of these unique pieces for yourself.

We finished the evening with a lovely traditional Belgian dinner and a beautiful sunset and left the next day in soft morning mist for the place that changed Allan’s life forever…Zolder.

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John Irvin
John Irvin
Sep 18, 2022

You guys are travellers after my own heart. Secondary routes, meet the real people. Long time since the great family trip. Don’t think I ever shared this, Allan. Twelve weeks, 39 states, 7 provinces. The Bicentennial Tour - 1976.

Sep 18, 2022
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That is a long time ago John. Guess we need to go back to Bariloche! We are happiest on the road.

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