|La Maison Noble||Self Catering||Saturday||4||8||3|
La Maison Noble is a well-appointed large family gîte in the heart of Calvados. Thoughtfully furnished with your comfort in mind, the house feels spacious and very inviting, to make your stay restful and enjoyable.
Set in beautiful Normandy countryside, La Maison Noble is a haven of tranquillity, inviting you to enjoy the peaceful location, views over the surrounding fields of grazing horses, and feel like you’re in your home from home. With excellent accommodation and facilities, the gîte also has a large lawned half-acre garden and mature trees to enjoy. La Maison Noble is situated in Beaufour-Druval near Dozulé and the famous town of Lisieux.
Beaufour-Druval is a small village set in open farmland. Its individual homes seem to have grown organically alongside country lanes and the ‘main’ street where the bistro can be found. The other community meeting place is the 13th century church of Notre-Dame-de-Druval. Most fields are laid to pasture. For horse lovers there’s a mix of thoroughbreds through to Shetland ponies as well as other animals such as donkeys and sheep. Look out for the friendly tethered Shetland pony who grazes the grass verges in summer. La Maison Noble is almost the last house along a meandering lane that leads into a green lane for walkers, riders and cyclists.
Dozulé is the nearest small town with facilities to meet your everyday needs. It boasts a Super U supermarket and petrol station, a bank and cashpoint, 2 bakers, butchers, delicatessen, greengrocers, several bars/bistros/eating places, newsagents, estate agents for those looking for a second home, and all the shops you would expect in a small French town.
For dog owners needing the pet passport stamped before their return trip, there is Vet Algia where the staff are very friendly and helpful. The vets enjoy practising their English so you might not get much chance to practise your French. For high maintenance dogs, there is an excellent and reasonably priced dog grooming parlour.
La Maison Noble is close to one of France’s most beautiful villages, Beuvron-en-Auge and within easy reach of all the main Normandy heritage sites, the coast, bustling markets, cider farms, Calvados producers and enticing restaurants.
Bedding and towels are provided free of charge as are heating, logs and wi-fi.
The fitted kitchen has an electric oven, hob, dishwasher and microwave with pots, pans, utensils, cutlery and crockery all provided. In the utility room you will find a washing machine, fridge-freezer and clothes airer. The dining room is in the spacious open living area and seats 8.
There is a patio area with seating for 8 at the rear of the property for outdoor eating.
Whatever the weather, the oak-beamed lounge is a lovely place to relax and feel at home with two new sofas and an armchair. There is a wood-burning stove (logs provided free of charge).
Master bedroom: King size bed, bedside tables, fitted wardrobe, en suite shower room and balcony with views over neighbouring garden and fields.
Bedroom 2: Bunk beds, wardrobe and bedside table.
Bedroom 3: Twin beds, bedside tables and wardrobe.
Bedroom 4: Double bed, bedside tables, wardrobe and balcony with views over neighbouring fields.
Family bathroom: Bath with shower attachment over and double washbasin, separate toilet.
Shower room: Shower, washbasin and toilet.
En suite shower room: Shower, washbasin and toilet.
Electric wall heaters in every room plus woodburning stove in open plan lounge which can throw heat round the whole house on cold days.
40-inch Sony tv with FreeSat for all UK Freeview tv and radio stations, and dvd player. There is a selection of dvds, books and games.
Wi-fi is available on request.
The lawned half-acre garden is mainly flat and slopes down at the back to a line of mature trees. The flower border is full of colour in the spring and summer and attracts bees and butterflies.
Enjoy fresh croissants and coffee in the mornings listening to the birdsong, or have an apéro before supper watching the sun set. There are sun loungers, table and chairs and a bbq.
There is room for 4 cars on the gravelled area to the front of the property and extra parking for more cars to the side.
Families, couples, family reunions, special celebrations. Grandparents, parents and children. Groups of friends.
In fact anyone who wants to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the beautiful Normandy countryside whilst still being 10 minutes away from the nearest town and 20 minutes from the nearest beach and only 35 minutes from Ouistreham.
If you want to save yourself the time and bother of cleaning the property before you leave, let us know before your stay and we will get a quote for you from our housekeeper dependent on the number in the party and whether there are any dogs.
Travel cot, high chair and stairgate available.
Jane, her sister Wendy and Wendy’s husband Ian, named La Maison Noble after our parents Bob and Eunice Noble who loved France and Normandy in particular. Ian's mother was French so we rely on him for specialist conversations although Jane and Wendy's French is improving with practice! Jane has been in People Development most of her career while Wendy is a solicitor and Ian an accountant. Jane lives in Shropshire and Wendy and Ian in north Manchester.
|Year property purchased||2014|
|Why this location?||When we first set foot in La Maison in September 2014, it was love at first sight. Our offer was accepted as we sat on the bench in Villers-sur-Mer on the Greenwich Meridian Line. It was as if it was meant to be. Since then we have been staying at La Maison Noble, improving the property, getting to know the locals, exploring the delights of the region and just loving our home from home. Wendy and Ian have been coming to France for over 30 years and the Calvados region for 20 years. When Jane came on holiday with them in 2014, she fell for its delights too. It reminds her of the South Shropshire/North Herefordshire area where she lived for 14 years with its rolling hills, charming villages and stunning landscape. It has pleasures in every season from apple blossom through to rich harvests and fungi foraging and wonderful winter displays. However, Beaufour-Druval is near the sea and that fabulous bracing air. Perfect.|
|Unique benefits of property||La Maison Noble, as the French say, is "calme, mais pas isolée."
If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind but still be within reach of the modern day life and conveniences, this is the perfect place. With its half-acre garden and situated just 29 kms from Ouistreham, you can be in this peaceful haven within 35 minutes.
As a family of parents, grandparents and children wrote in our Visitors Book, "We stayed at La Maison Noble at the end of May and were looking for a relaxing break after a busy half term. We were not disappointed! The house is set in the most beautiful countryside and offers all the comforts of home! It also lies within 30 minutes of spectacular locations: WW2 beaches and museums, the Bayeux Tapestry, Honfleur (gorgeous) and the spiritual sanctuary of Lisieux. So much for everyone. The best bit though was returning to the peace of the house at the end of the day!"
If this sounds like what you are looking for then look no further.
Nearby Beuvron-en-Auge is known as one of France's most beautiful villages.
Enjoy strolling through the lanes of colombage (half-timbered) houses and visit the shops packed with local produce. You will find quality gifts for yourself and friends such as pottery, individually designed jewellery and clothes and linen. For children (and the young at heart) there is an old-fashioned toy shop where you can indulge in nostalgia as well as enjoy seeing the craftsmanship of quality new toys. See local artisans at work.
The tourist office runs exhibitions and throughout the summer there are tours you can book on to visit local enterprises that might not normally be open to the public, such behind the scenes at a cider farm and a 'Haras' (stud farm).
The 16th Century Vieux Manoir and the 18th Century former inn the Auberge de la Boule d’Or are worth seeing. If you visit in the Autumn you can see the wonderful Fête du Cidre and watch the apple pressing take place in the square.
There are a number of popular eating places such as La Colomb’Auge which is a super family-run crêperie, open during the day, and Café Forge which is a very reasonably priced restaurant on the main street of this pretty village. As its name suggests, the restaurant is in the old village forge and there is much evidence of this in the restaurant. The steak is cooked on the fire in the chimney and there is an authentic home-made feel to the food. There is a menu translated into English.
There is plenty to see and do for browsers and spenders alike.
Honfleur (30m) welcomes you with historic tall houses overlooking classic boats in the Vieux Bassin. Be beguiled by the exquisite chocolate shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants.
Honfleur is usually busy … for a reason. It’s gorgeous. Even out of season there is lots to see and do. For children there is an old-fashioned carousel to enjoy.
If you want a cheap meal (i.e. €15 for a 3-course set menu) which is child and pet friendly then Honfleur is ideal. Overlooking “Le Vieux Bassin” where many yachts dock, there are a line of restaurants all vying for your business. The meals are basic and tasty, even if not gourmet, and there are plenty of English menus to tell you what you are eating! As with all of France, there’s less veggie choice but plenty of fish.
For market lovers, Honfleur’s Saturday market is one of the best for local produce and there is also a weekly organic market, the marché bio on Wednesday and Saturday morning. Be aware that the Saturday morning market is quite extensive and uses many parking spaces in the town until 3.00 in the afternoon. Unless you specifically want to visit the market then it is probably best to avoid Honfleur on a Saturday because it is always a popular tourist destination.
Deauville (sometimes known as ‘Paris by the sea) has long attracted a glamorous clientele, with its designer shops, grand hotels and elegant Belle Époque buildings along the glorious wide sandy beach. It oozes style and hosts prestigious polo matches and horse races.
Walk along the wonderful promenade and spot the names of famous film celebrities written along its length.
Many of them have visited over the years for the American Film Festival in early September. In fact, the Hotel Normandie is where Michael Doglas met Catherine Zeta Jones.
Trouville, like its ‘sister’ town Deauville, is also fashionable with a wide boardwalk along the seafront, where you can watch locals play the ever popular ‘pétanque’ (a form of boules). It is a vibrant fishing port with restaurants along the front selling freshly landed seafood.
There is a cluster of fishmongers on the port side for Trouville’s markets on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Over recent years they have expanded and created eating areas opposite their stalls with tables to eat the fresh seafood with a glass of wine. They offer a wide range of fresh fish which you can also buy to take home. Most recently we bought the most delicious king prawns and mussels. For those who like fish soup, they sell a litre plastic bottle of freshly made and delicious fish soup together with the accompanying cheese and croutons which easily feeds four people.
Away from the port and stunning wide sandy beach are quiet winding lanes with art galleries and crêperies.
All'Océan along the front is a casual clothes shop well worth visiting. Clothes for adults, children and babies, inspired by the coast and nautical themes, are designed for sale only in its 5 outlets at Trouville and Brittany so you are unlikely to meet anyone else in the same outfit if you buy a T-shirt, sweatshirt or fleece from here.
Cabourg is one of our favourite seaside towns. At 7 miles long it boasts the longest promenade in Europe with its sand dunes at its eastern end where dogs can be exercised on the beach in front of the dunes all year round. On the seafront is a long-established and poplular Crazy Golf course. There are seats and refreshments for anyone who wants to watch but not play.
The public gardens in front of the Casino and Hotel are fabulous, as are the hanging baskets, containers and flower beds along the promenade and throughout the town. It is no wonder this stretch of coastline is known as the Côte Fleurie.
Lying at right angles to the seafront, the main street provides a wide range of individual shops selling chocolate, artisan food, gifts, clothes, and local produce. It is lined with many small restaurants including several crêperies so there is little chance that you would go hungry there. There are also several places to buy some excellent, if somewhat expensive, ice cream along the way.
One of our favourite shops to browse is À La Recherche du Temps Perdu which is to the right of the Grand Hotel as you walk towards the promenade. There are separate outlets selling home goods, adult clothes, children's clothes and toys. There is a lovely range of stylish clothes for children called Weekend à la Mer clothes for children. They are not cheap but they are beautiful! Grandparents beware!
Cabourg holds markets every morning in July and August. Other months they are on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. When the markets are on, car parking spaces are reduced but we have always found on road parking even at peak times. You may just need to head towards the estuary side of Cabourg.
All the Normandy beaches are perfect for families. Each resort has its own flavour. Villers-sur-Mer is the closest seaside town to La Maison Noble. Its promenade is crossed by the Greenwich Meridian Line. It is well worth visiting on a market day when a large variety of stalls take over the town on car parks and lanes. There are also some lovely individual shops.
If you are looking for an excellent meal, Le Mermoz is a popular restaurant on the sea front and rightly so with its wonderful views over the sea. You can’t book a table. It’s first come, first served, so get there by 7 to be on the safe side. It is reasonably priced and child friendly. As well as eating indoors, there is a large outdoor covered area in which to eat that is well protected from the elements and family friendly.
Pegasus Bridge is just a 30-minute drive away and from here you can visit the D-Day Landing Beaches and war graves. The strategic bridge over the canal at Bénouville was recaptured by the British 5th Parachute Brigade on 5th June 1944. Their emblem was Pegasus and so the bridge over the canal was renamed in their honour. This part of Normandy has a wealth of sights, memorials and museums to discover about the decisive WWII battles fought and won here.
To see the entire length of the Bayeux Tapestry is a sight you will never forget. Up close the intricate, painstaking needlework depicts the 1066 Battle of Hastings and makes William the Conqueror and King Harold come alive.
Nearby Lisieux is full of colombage buildings. The town has Roman origins and in medieval times became an important Catholic seat for bishops. Since the 19th Century, many pilgrims have visited the town in homage to inspirational Saint Thérèse who from a young age wrote about her spiritual experiences.
One of our guests said that the Carmel was her favourite place. She said it had a wonderful peaceful atmosphere where she could have stayed for ages.
This spectacular stud farm is unlike anything you’ve seen! Housed in a palace built for the Sun King Louis XVI it’s no wonder it is known as the Equestrian Versailles. There are regular events and a Discovery Trail, horse races and craftsmen at work. Every Thursday at 3.30, you can see the entertaining hour-long Equestrian Spectacle. Highly recommended!
Mont St Michel is not to be missed! This breathtaking medieval isle is topped by a glittering statue of Archangel Michael as though hovering over the gravity-defying 11th century Benedictine abbey. Wander the narrow streets, have a world-famous omelette at Madame Poulard’s and enjoy the views over the sea to Brittany and Normandy.
Villedieu-les-Poêles is home to traditional copper making with fine cooking utensils and decorative wares in the pretty shops. You can take a day course in copper-smithing and visit the bell foundry where some of the world’s biggest church bells have been made.
Giverny was the home of Monet at the end of the 19th Century. See the specially created lily pond that inspired so many of this impressionist's paintings. Visit the Monet museum and explore the beautiful village on the banks of the River Seine.
The French love their markets and there are lots to choose from. You need to get there in the morning as often the stallholders are packing up by early lunchtime. They seem to stay as long as there are buyers or until they sell up.
For market lovers there are very local ones every morning of the week.
One of our favourites is at Pont L’Évêque on a Monday morning. There is a wide range of stalls, many selling local produce, and several regular stalls including cheese, honey, chickens (both alive and cooked) and then a choice of cafés for lunch or at least a reviving local cider.
Pont L’Évêque also holds an annual cheese market and several antique fairs.
Beaufour-Druval is on the Cider Route which is well signposted. The nearest cider farm is that of Gérard Desvoyes about 2 miles away on the road to Beuvron-en-Auge but there are plenty of other farms where you can sample of ciders and calvados before you choose your favourite. Try the pear ciders (Poiré) too for a change. Cider vinegar is well known for its health benefits. You can get stocked up with good quality vinegar to take home.
Normandy is famous for horses and all related activities.
It has a rich heritage of horse breeding, two national studs, hundreds of equestrian centres and equestrian events taking place throughout the year. Whether you are a novice or an experienced rider, Normandy offers a fantastic choice of great places to ride and to stay where horse lovers are made truly welcome.
Normandy boasts 8 racecourses, where the world's best race horses regularly compete. From Deauville la Touques, the most prestigious, to Dozulé, the most rural, via Cabourg, the most nocturnal, and Caen, the most urban... each and every one has its own special charm!
Racing in France is rather different to racing in the UK. For one thing it is considerably cheaper, just a few euros. My sister and I got a deal at Deauville for a day's racing where we got entrance with a 2-course meal, drink (beer included) and a 2 euro bet for 13 euros. It is also a great family day out with pony rides included. Chairs can be moved round the paddock so you can be in or out of the shade. There were deckchairs by the racecourse and tiered seating so everyone had a great view.
Trotting races are very entertaining too.