|La Maison Marguerite||Self Catering||Saturday||3||6||1||Cot/baby|
La Maison Marguerite is first and foremost a treasured home. It is also a well equipped holiday haven, a great place to relax and a perfect base for exploring, with loads of attractions and activities nearby.
The house overlooks meadows of the Cotentin Nature Park, yet is only a few seconds stroll to the attractive centre of Picauville with boulangeries, restaurant, bars and shops. Tranquil countryside 200m, river Douve 500m. Beaches, D-day sites, chateaux, walking, cycling (several bikes on-site), fishing, golf, riding, canoeing, surfing, markets, art, music and good restaurants within 20 minutes, or relax on the terrace with a glass of wine. One has a real sense of French life when staying here - watch International matches in the friendly Bar du Stade, try piping hot spit roasts from the butchers on Sundays, stroll to buy your croissants in the mornings.
Light and airy rooms, with tiled or wooden floors and rugs; traditional shutters and large windows; beautiful twisting staircase; electric heating. Sitting/dining room - with log fire, dvd player, music system with iPod dock. Fitted kitchen with dishwasher, washer-dryer, gas cooker and microwave/grill. Sunterrace (not overlooked) leading to large, safe garden with garden furniture, barbecue, trampoline and garden toys. Three bedrooms - 1 double (on second floor), 1 twin and 1 bunk room. Bathroom with bath and shower, separate wc. Baby and toddler equipment. Boardgames, card table, dvds, table football, toys.
Available all year; suits asthma sufferers. No smokers or pets.
Wi-fi available for sending and receiving e-mail, Facebook usage and web-browsing.
Changeover day Saturday in high season, flexible at other times; short breaks available.
Fully-fitted and well equipped kitchen with fridge, dishwasher, washer-dryer, gas cooker, microwave/grill, kettle and toaster; picnic rucksack and thermos. Living/dining area with light wood table and 6 chairs, plus 2 additional folding chairs for extra guests. Highchair and booster seat.
Light and sunny living room with original tiled floor. Sofa and tub chair, unit with dvd player and music system including iPod dock. Log fire with fire guard.
Three light bedrooms with polished wooden floors, rugs and heaters - double (master bedroom), twin and bunks; travelcot, baby monitor and stairgates. Note: the master bedroom is on second floor, it offers a second living area with sofa, dvd player and lots of space. There is table football plus other toys in the bunk bedroom.
One bathroom with shower cubicle and bath, shaving light with razor point; separate wc. Changing mat and potty.
The house is heated with thermostatically controlled convector heaters in each room and a heated towel rail in the bathroom; there is a log fire in the living room.
Several bikes, radio, hi-fi with cd/iPod dock, dvds, videos, boardgames, jigsaw puzzles, childrens books and toys.
Private decked sunterrace with 80ft long garden beyond. Safe for children with secure fencing. Garden furniture, barbecue, 10ft trampoline with safety net, climbing frame, sandpit, swing ball and other outdoor toys.
La Maison Marguerite has been enjoyed and praised by people of all ages: families with tots to teens, couples (retired and young) either on their own or with another couple. Those with mobility problems need to be aware that the double bedroom is on the second floor. The house has been furnished to create a comfortable environment for asthma sufferers.
Ten bikes available for our guests to borrow, including children's bikes and toddler seat; detailed cycle route maps and itineraries showing places of interest within cycling distance. A comprehensive, and continually updated, information pack in the living room will help you make the most of your holiday.
I am: married to Duncan, mother to Alice, Edward, Harry and Mary, partner and founder of Chilcotts Auctioneers, Honiton, Devon. Leading a frantically busy life, our French home is our treasured sanctuary. We feel that it is a shame to leave the house empty, so we share it and hope that others have good times there too; through our guests we hope the house contributes to the economic health of the friendly village of Picauville, Ste Mere-Eglise.
|Year property purchased||2003|
|Why this location?||We wanted a house that would offer a good range of shops, bars and restaurants within walking distance, but still be close to beautiful countryside for walking and cycling. Having four, then very young, children we did not want to spend hours driving there, or have to spend hours driving to attractions. We prefer unspoilt un-commercialised places, offering nature, history, friendly villages, little traffic and empty sandy beaches. Picauville, near Ste Mere-Eglise in Normandy, answered all our requirements.|
|Unique benefits of property||Our home, La Maison Marguerite, offers the best of both worlds - the convenience of being in a small town, while being immediately in touch with pretty countryside: a very short morning stroll to buy your croissants, all grocery needs within 5 minute's walk, you can enjoy a bottle of wine at the local restaurant or a drink at one of the bars, yet riverside walks through the Cotentin et Bessin Regional Nature Park are 500ms away, and pretty traffic free lanes and tracks of the Bocage are 200ms in the other direction. There are several bikes to borrow in the shed, with maps and suggested routes. The house has been furnished to suit asthma sufferers, therefore we have never allowed pets; equipment and toys for children, toddlers and babies. Lots of interesting places to visit within 30 mins traffic free drive; we supply our guests with a suggested itinerary and maps to help them make the most of their holiday. Very easily accessible from England, but immediately very charmingly French!|
Valognes and St Sauveur, both designated as 'Towns of Art and History', are within fifteen minutes drive, offer music - at formal recitals and lively bars, historic town walks seeing places of architectural splendour and interest, museums, antiques shops and art exhibitions. Further afield visit excellent art galleries at Cherbourg (30 minutes), Caen (1 hour) and the House of Christian Dior in Granville (50 minutes).
Picauville is situated 15 minutes from the East Coast and 22 minutes from the West; both offer empty sandy beaches. The West Coast faces the Atlantic and is more windy, but also more spectacular. Our family favourites are: rock-pooling at St Germain sur Ay Plage, Pirou Plage with its sea pool, tumbling down sand dunes at Lindberg Plage, south of Portbail, Portbail Plage and Carteret. The tourist office at Portbail (a very picturesque town) is great, you can book sand buggying, wind surfing, dinghy sailing lessons; pony/donkey rides along the beach are also available. The East Coast is now more famous for being the landing beaches, but it also offers miles of sand and is more sheltered; Quinneville offers riding on the beach and dinghy lessons.
Picauville is within the Cotentin and Bessin Regional Nature Park around the River Douve, an area of outstanding natural beauty and important natural habitat for attracting birds and wildflowers. The Douve is 500m from our front door. The land is level, criss-crossed with peaceful country lanes and dotted with charming rural hamlets, running between the fields are a series of accessible farm tracks. It is perfect for walking and cycling, straight from the front door; the house offers detailed maps and several bikes for our guests to borrow on the strict understanding that you repair punctures and leave clean, ready for the next guests (we do not charge for the bikes). There are also several attractions within walking/cyling distance: local D-Day tour, German cemetery at Orglande, Chateau Crossville etc. One of our favourite excursions was to hire a canoe from St Sauveur le Vicomte (9km up stream), and canoe back home, via a picnic lunch on the river bank. The canoe hire place collecting the canoes and taking one of us back to our car at St Sauveur! For those who like fishing - you can get a licence from the Bar at the end of the street, closest fishing point is 500m away, our favourite is about 1.5km away at Le Port Beurey.
Picauville is close to the landing beaches, the Germans had their Head Quarters at Bernaville Chateau, half a mile from our front door and parachutists were dropped all around the town. Visit the museums along the landing beaches, Utah Beach is 15 minutes drive; come further in land to explore the German Batterie at Azeville, great for firing children's imagination and to get an understanding, from both sides, of how immense the task was; only a few kilometres further in land (back towards Picauville) visit Sainte Mere Eglise, the first town in France to be liberated, follow the town walk available in the tourist office; also available is 'The Museum of the Sky', a sat-nav guide of all local sites. Back at Picauville, there is a walking/cycling guide produced by the local history society (copy in our information pack) which takes you round the key locations close to the house - an interesting, and now beautiful circuit. Look out for the memorial wall at Port Filiolet between Picauville Church and Chef du Pont (about two miles from home). Spend some quiet time at the German War Cemetery at Orglande, four kilometres away.
Within the village: five minutes walk, ‘Le Madelo’, is a pristine Creperie and Grill in the small square near Carrefour—excellent food, lovely service, wi-fi, highchairs and attractive walled garden, Mme Lambard speaks fluent English; Le Spot Bar, almost next door to 'Le Madelo' has a simple bistro and garden; Excellent Pizza Vans: “Mamie” 6:00pm-9:00pm on Sunday, “Eric Pizza” on Wednesday evenings approximately 8:10 - 9:30pm; Kebab Van on Thursdays, Gallettes Van (pancakes, both sweet and savoury) on Saturday evenings. Bars – the Bar du Stade is the place to go to watch football and rugby matches, you will be made most welcome even when it is England v. France; Central Bar (closest to the house) does sandwiches and also sells day fishing permits. Auberge d’Ouve just outside the town, in a beautiful setting by the river at Longerac (about 3kms) – it has been highly recommended by several guests. Hotel Normandie at Chef du Pont (about 3.5kms) - unprepossessing exterior, but wonderful when you walk inside, simple, tasty, home cooked food, reasonably priced set meal, with a lovely welcome. Madame speaks fluent English. Les Commerces restaurant/auberge at La Haye du Puits (about 15mins drive) go on Wednesday lunchtime, La Haye du Puits market day, when it is really buzzing with locals. The list goes on ...!
Normandy shares a great deal of History with England: it has been ruled by Romans, Norsemen (Vikings) invaded the area, the root of its name, and since then Anglo-French kings, princes and dukes, including William the Conqueror, have fought over and ruled the lands. As a result there are wonderful castles, ruins and fortifications to explore. Family favourites are at Pirou, and Chateau Gratot, 25 minutes and 45 minutes drive respectively. Roman ruins in Valognes (15 minutes) and at Lithaire (10 minutes). Several elegant 18th and 19th Century Chateaux close by; we liked Chateau de Martinvast at Cherbourg - the very elderly gentleman on the gate was the proud owner, he was delighted to tell us about the time that Queen Victoria stayed in the house as guest of his grandfather. Chateau Crosville, is within walking/cycling distance of the house - lovely gardens, with a Franco-Britannique Garden Fair in April.
The whole area is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, the village is set within the Cotentin and Bessin Regional Nature Park and the lanes are full of wild flowers, butterflies, damson and dragonflies. Join up with riverside walks straight from the house, 500ms; we have seen kingfishers, nesting storks, swans, snipe, larks, heron, egrets, bittern, lapwings, and heard cuckoos. Twenty minutes away visit the 'Maison du Parc' just outside Carentan, take a boat upstream to Longerac, beyond Picauville,. Or drive towards the coast from Carentan to the coastal reserve at Beauguillot; very pleasant reserve with hides, apparently a seal colony can also be seen (we have not). On the west coast the sand dunes north of the Cap de Carteret, and those to the south of Portbail, provide spectacular scenery and views to Jersey, also great for kite flying. Don't forget your binoculars!
You could take the time to play one of the many boardgames in the house - Scrabble, Monopoly, Articulate, Best of British, Cluedo, Rummicub, Chess, Bridge (card table under the stairs), etc. However, if you want to get out we recommend the following: Cite de la Mer Aquarium and Submarine experience and the Planetarium at Ludiver, both at/near Cherbourg; Cherbourg also offers several fabulous swimming pools and large indoor shopping centres. Explore the museums all along the landing beaches; there is a special pass available. If it is only light showers Champrepus Zoo (about an hour away) has lots of shelters and you can largely avoid rain.
La Maison Maguerite is on a quiet, one way street close to the centre of Pont L'Abee, allowing easy access to the amenities with minimal traffic passing by the maison itself.
The house is comfortable, clean and well equipped, with good shower, dishwasher, washing machine and kitchen facilities. The bedrooms are pleasantly decorated, with all beds and furniture in good condition. The patio to the rear has a table with 6 chairs and parasol, providing an ideal location for any meal and a comfortable place to relax while smaller children play in the garden.
The town/village of Pont L'Abee has all the essential amenities, with a good bakery/patisserie, a supermarket, a couple of bars and a good convenience store.
Booking/communication with the owner was straightforward, with no problems or complications.
I would have no hesitation in recommending to a friend or relative.
Great house in a quiet village located in a superb location for touring Normandy.
Glad that you liked the house and were able to get to the wonderful places that this part of Normandy has to offer, best wishes to you and your family, Liz
La Maison Marguerite was in a lovely little village in the heart of Normandy. The house was very easy to get to from Cherbourg and we were provided with excellent directions. It was as easy to get to as going to Cornwall, and better value for money. The owners had thought of absolutely everything to make our stay relaxing. The house was spacious, extremely well-equipped and comfortable. The owners provided information about the area in advance, including a suggested itinerary, which we found very useful and informative as it was our first visit to Normandy. There were also maps in the house with cycling and walking routes marked on them, which we made use of. The thought and care put in by the owners enabled us to make the most of our week, whilst still having time and space to relax - it was even better than I had hoped for. The only thing to be careful about, is that the hot water is extremely hot first thing in the morning as it is heated overnight. This meant that there was plenty of water for the whole day, but you need to be careful in the shower not to accidentally turn the temperature up by leaning against the tap - I am not quite sure how I did this! (I didn't scald myself, but you clearly should be careful with young children).
All in all, a very positive and enjoyable experience. With holidays, we don't often return to places we have been to before, choosing to explore new places. However, I am certainly tempted to return to La Maison Marguerite in the future.
We are really pleased that you had a lovely holiday and that our house was a good introduction to a much over-looked, but beautiful, unspoilt and interesting part of France, that is only on our doorstep! Thank you for the observation about the shower - I will put a warning notice in the bathroom; when our children were small they used the bath. Hope to welcome you and your family back, best wishes, Liz
We stayed at the property for one week and found it comfortable. The house has plenty of space with a twin room, a bunk bed room and a large 3rd floor double room with its own small sofa and TV/ DVD player. The children particularly enjoyed disappearing up to the top room to watch Paddington whilst the parents relaxed on the patio with a glass of wine. The location is great, only about 45 minutes drive from Cherbourg itself having some interesting places particularly the Cite de Mer looking around the submarine, the Titanic exhibition and the 'undersea' exploration. Lots of D day museums, loads of nice clean beaches and markets. There is a good Carrefour shop locally for all you could need and lovely local bread shops etc. All in all a very good holiday in a comfortable house with plenty of places to visit.
Thank you Lisa and family for your lovely comments. We are glad that you had a good holiday and that you liked our home and the little town and area.