Large holiday rental house 9km St James

Montanel (9km from Saint-James), Manche, Normandy Reference: NM003256 Advertiser since: 16 April 2013
Property Board Arrival Bedrooms Sleeps Bathrooms
Maison Bernice Self Catering Sunday 8 19 7

About this property

Large Renovated House on Normandy/Brittany Border. This cottage/gite is in a village setting.

Maison Bernice is a south-facing large house on the edge of Montanel village in Manche (south Normandy) just 500 metres from the Brittany border. It once housed 2 families and the village Post Office. A re-built corner was destroyed in the war by a bomb which killed several resistance workers. The official plaque on the house wall which commemorates them is now the only evidence. The magnificent forest of Villecartier is just 10 kms away with 2 lakes, some beautiful woodland walks and an excellent rope course for younger guests.

There is a communal tennis court at 20 metres which can  be hired for a small fee.



Kitchen and dining

The lower part of the house is divided into 2 long rooms. One with large integrated kitchen area at one end, equipped with all you need, including gas cooker, large fridge-freezer, dishwasher, toaster, coffee-maker, kettle, pans and cooking utensils. The dining table seats up to 20 people or so to eat all together,
More often than not our guests seem to use the option of eating on the terrace which has a good barbecue but is also fortunate to have the kitchen and cooking area just two steps from the front door.


On the first floor, which has easy wide stairs, there are 2 double bedrooms, and 2 rooms both with twin beds. All 4 rooms have their own separate shower-room with washbasins and wcs. There is also a cot available. 
On the second floor, which has safe but steep stairs, there is one bedroom with a double and a single bed and a similar size one with 3 single beds. These 2 rooms both have shower rooms with washbasins and wcs.
Rooms 7 and 8 are together, 8 being an annexe of 7. One has 3 single beds and the annex 2 single beds. Here there is one bathroom with bath and hand shower, washbasin and wc. All beds in the house both double and single are of standard size.


On the first floor all 4 rooms have their own separate shower-room with washbasins and wcs. On the second floor 2 rooms both have shower rooms with washbasins and wcs.There is one bathroom with bath and hand shower, washbasin and wc for room 7/8.


Every room in the house is equipped with electric radiators. There is also a washing machine.


Montanel has several fetes during the year but nothing else. The next village St Ouen La Rouerie 3kms (in Brittany) has a bar; baker, good restaurant, hairdresser, 8 to 8 and Post Office (in the bar!!).
More entertainment at Avranches, St James and Mont St. Michel all not far.

Garden and outside

A large terrace in front of the house is much appreciated for relaxing, barbecues etc. The large lawn with its enormous cherry tree behind the house is completely enclosed 
Almost opposite the garden (5 m) is the tennis court. This hard court belongs to the commune. It is not often used and can normally be available when you want it for a very small fee. There is also a basketball basket if you wish to try your skills!

Parking and garages

There is plenty of parking all around the exterior of the house and garden.

Visitor suitability

Ideal base to explore a famous and very beautiful border region. Calm and with very friendly local people.
This is the very south of the Department of Manche, the house being just 500 m from the Brittany border. Here the rainfall is much lower than further North and much lower also an further west into Brittany. The temperature almost always one or 2° higher. It is rare to have a day which is not, at least, partly sunny.


  • Pets welcomed *

  • Linen

  • Splash pool

* Vet details: SCP Martin Piquereau David Audren Callery 7 Rue des Pongeoirs, 35560 Antrain Tel. 0299983112


Antiques/Brocante Market

Name of nearest antiques/brocante market: Avranches
Distance: 25 km


Distance: 15 km


Fishing nearby

Species of fish: Trout, carp etc
Name of nearest fishing location: Antrain
Distance: 5 km

Fishing on-site


Name and address of nearest golf course: Chateau des Ormes
Distance: 25 km


Horse riding

Name and address of nearest stables: Le Val St.Pere (across the bay of Mont St. Michel,superb)
Distance: 26 km



Name/number of nearest marked trail: GR La Hougrais 4kms

About the Owner, Mr Thomas Merchant

Josiane (French) and Tom (English) live just 5km from the property, so are easily available. They are both retired. They have two border collie dogs and a small flock of sheep.Josiane, widowed, formerly owned a French supermarket with her husband. Tom was the continental salesman for a large English livestock equipment company. He has lived in France since 1990.

Year property purchased 2004
Why this location? Because it is situated in an area of outstanding beauty with numerous different possibilities for all tastes. Nearby famous sites and museums of World War II. The Forest of Villecartier with its rope course in the trees, Small boats on the lake, surveyed, with miniature copies of Brittany ferries, Mississippi riverboat etc.Forest walks among the huge beech trees, outstanding. In general our French guests come, most of all, to visit the nearby Mont St Michel, the most visited shrine in France ,3 million visitors a year. Often to reach it by crossing the beautiful Bay classified by UNESCO always.with a guide. A 5 km walk, magnificent. Small towns,such as Dinard, Dinan, and Dol are well worth visiting In the other direction, Fougeres has the largest Medieval Castle in Europe and an amazing newly erected swimming pool. Rennes has big shops everything you would expect from a capital city .Don't fail to visit to the magnificent Brittany Parliament, Rennes has a good nearby golf course
Unique benefits of property Maison Bernice.was once the village post office and housed comfortably two families who shared the large central staircase
. Thanks to some excellent craftsman there is no sign that the housewas hit by a bomb in the war killing five people, except a plaque on the wall to their memory . The house has eight bedrooms ,all of them with Bath/shower room attached and good Electric heating when needed. there is ample room for large parties of at least 20 people to all eat comfortably together at table. One word of warning. Activities such as a playpark and others which interest the children are to a large extent not available in the low season . There is a large garden (enclosed) and a tennis court, apart from which the village of Montanel, (Normandy)has little to interest the tourist, however the next village just 3 km up the road , St Ouen la Rouèrie, (Brittany), where we live, has a bar , restaurant, hairdresser, doctor etc. The nearest supermarket, fuel etc, is just 6km

The Owner Recommends

Le Mont St. Michel.

The most famous site in France with over 3 million visitors per year. Unforgettable. Panoramic view of the bay which can be crossed at low tide on foot or horseback. 5kms, guide available and essential, (quicksands). Fastest rising tide in europe, said to be faster than a galloping horse.

Chateau de Fougeres

The beautiful town of Fougeres has the biggest mediaeval castle in Europe. At just 25 km from the gite, it is well worth a visit and a bit further on Vitré has possibly the most beautiful château in the area. At Vitré there is a street truly mediaeval where the tops of the houses extend across the street to be almost touching!

Chateau de La Rouèrie, St. Ouen La Rouerie.

At just 2kms ,this beautiful chateau (one of many in the region). Formerly the home of the la Rouerie family, the last of whom was a famous general in the American War of Independence with Lafayette. He became friends with George Washington, who sent him some tulip trees. The first to arrive in France and still standing,now huge and beautiful. As well as a visit to the château there is now a sheep museum, fascinating as it has examples of some very interesting foreign breeds as well as the better-known English and French ones and of course the children love the baby lambs.


Cherrieux, not far on the Brittany side of Mont St.Michel, is the French windsurfing centre. Here on the beach you can hire windsurfers and everyone except small children has a lot of fun!


Dinan is well worth a visit and is possibly the most beautiful town in Brittany. From the main town, well fortified, with numerous magnificent buildings, you can descend steeply to the river Rance where a small pleasure port shelters several yachts moored along the river's edge. An agreeable place to enjoy a beer before remounting the steep hill.

Forest of Villecartier

Huge forest 28000 hectares, with 2 lakes. Magnificent walks full of history, Roman bridge, former execution point, memorials to Brittany Saints, wild mushrooms, huge majestic beeches,RECRENATURE, an excellent and well-run rope course in the trees and crossing parts of the lake. Imitation ferries and river boats on the bigger lake.

2 Reviews
  • Cleanliness: 5
  • Comfort: 4.5
  • Condition: 4
  • Facilities: 5.5
  • Local Amenities: 2
  • Setting: 6
  • Value for Money: 6
4.2 / 10 Michael Yorkshire 16 August, 2016

On the plus side the property has ample bedrooms and bathrooms and a really large dining table which easily seated our party of eleven. It also had an unexpected addition of a hot tub.However the property was in need of a lot of TLC both inside and outside. We are unlikely to return.

Owner response

This let has been a bad one for us. I was just out of hospital from a major operation and was unable to meet my guests on arrival. I did confirm by telephone that all was well. Because of this I did not take a security deposit but when I saw the tenant, he agreed to notify me if there were any breakages. I found later a central heating unit had been ripped from the wall. Carefully propped back by a piece of furniture to avoid recognition. The hot tub had a quantity of sand in it , so the children had not been made to shower before entry.

I regard these marks as unjust as the house was prepared by our regular cleaning lady, who is excellent.

6.2 / 10 J Beacroft 12 April, 2016

This house suited us well for what we needed. Good central point for visiting places of interest.
The village itself was quite dead with a lot of empty properties.
Nearest Pub/Restaurant was 5k away and was closed while we were there. St. James 9k away has restaurants, shops etc.
Great to have a log fire and is very dog friendly.

I think for families where the children were 10 plus would not find enough to occupy themselves.

Owner response

We enjoyed meeting John and his family. Unfortunately the weather for early April was particularly bad and too cold to play in the garden and adjoining tennis court. There are some good facilities in the area for children, but unfortunately not open until June onwards. The forest of Villecartier (8k)has lakes, boats,and rope courses The château of La Rouerie with its sheep museum, poney carts, and very interesting bilingual guided tour is just 1k away. Easily accessible are a children's play park and an indoor pool. It's true that the village,as with many French villages today, has nothing to offer the tourist, but in summer it is surrounded by interesting places and activities.
I was disappointed in the marks for condition and cleanliness ,to which we give a great deal of attention and would have hoped that the log fire would have helped to give us a better mark for comfort !