|Restored Farmhouse 6 mins from the Sea||Self Catering||Flexible||3||8||2||There is an additional double sofabed|
Half an hour's easy drive from the channel port of Cherbourg, in the lush green countryside of the Saire valley, Anneville en Saire is a quiet, pleasant village with a small river running through it.
Nestling in its own private courtyard, No.12 Hameau de la Ville is an early 19th-century farmhouse that can accommodate up to 8 people.
In the centre of the village - just a couple of minutes' stroll from the house - there is a friendly bar/restaurant and a fine butcher's shop (which doubles as a grocers and sells bread). A short walk in the other direction will bring you to another friendly bar and grocery store. Slightly further afield you will find supermarkets and larger shops. Barfleur has a choice of very good bakers. There are many street markets nearby - there is one within 15 minutes drive from the house nearly every day of the week.
Nearby are the seaside towns of Barfleur and St Vaast, and it will only take you 5 minutes to reach safe, pleasant, uncrowded beaches. Slightly further afield there are UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums and galleries, the D-Day Landing Beaches, the tapestry at Bayeux, the marvellous architectural wonders of Caen, the fun seaside spirit of Granville. All these places are easily accessible for a day trip.
Food is one of the great pleasures of the area. It is famous for its oysters and other seafood; for its sea fish; for its cheese, cream and dairy products; for its plentiful vegetables; and for its beef and lamb. Delicious cider and Calvados (apple brandy) are made locally. Each local bakery (there are at least a dozen within 10 minutes' drive) has its own speciality bread and cakes. In Barfleur, St Vaast la Hougue and other nearby towns you will find a range of restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes and pockets.
The kitchen is fully equipped with a cooker, dishwasher, washing machine, fridge-freezer and ample cooking and eating utensils for a party of 8. The owners are keen cooks so the kitchen equipment is of high quality. The dining table easily accommodates 8 guests.
This large room also has a small sofa and a couple of armchairs around the wood burning stove - ideal for the pre-dinner glass.
The sitting room is off the kitchen/diner. In addition to armchairs it has a convertible sofa bed (a French 'clic-clac'). As this room is off to one side guests sleeping in the sofa bed can remain undisturbed by early risers making coffee or heading for the shower.
The house has 2 double bedrooms and one twin. The sitting room can be used as a separate bedroom, as it has a sofa which folds out to form a double bed.
Upstairs there is a bathroom and separate wc. Downstairs there is a shower room with wc.
Heating is by independent electric radiators in every room. There is also a powerful wood burning stove in the kitchen/living room and an open fireplace in the sitting room. Firewood is available on site.
There is wireless access to the internet in the house as well as a small hi-fi system. A variety of cds are to be found although these vary as guests bring and take others. There is also a variety of English language books - including guides to the area.
There is a fully enclosed field behind the house which is perfect for lazing on sunny days - or for a game of football or cricket for the more energetic. There is plenty of garden furniture and a barbecue.
In front of the house is the old farmyard. There is ample space for parking several cars. The yard has a gate closing it off from the road. Although usually left open guests are welcome to close the gate if they prefer.
The ground floor scullery and shower room are a step up from the dining room/kitchen. There is also a slight difference in height between the sitting room and the dining room. Although 2 people can sleep downstairs and can access a shower without climbing to the first floor they do need to be able to negotiate one step at least.
The house makes a great family holiday home with plenty of space for running around, playing ball games and so on.
I first visited Normandy as a teenager and fell in love with it the minute I tasted my first coffee and croissant in a bar in Cherbourg! I lived all over the UK but have always liked being near the sea. I spent a lot of time on small boats, which meant frequent returns to Cherbourg. As a result I got to know the area quite well.
|Year property purchased||1998|
|Why this location?||We looked at lots of houses but this one really hit the spot. Ideally we wanted somewhere near the sea; on the edge of a small village; in walking distance of a bakery and a bar. We thought this was a bit of a tall order but it was one of the first places we saw.|
|Unique benefits of property||We first fell in love with the courtyard, which makes the place feel very private and safe, without being hemmed in. (You can close the gate, which makes the place even more private if you want.) The surrounding space - courtyard in front and field behind - are just a comfortable size.
Inside, the property retains the feel and atmosphere of an old French farmhouse. The previous owner, who saw it after our renovations, described it as 'completely different but exactly the same'. We knew we had got it right. The place is comfortable and welcoming and you don't need to feel as though you have to be on your best behaviour! It's meant to be enjoyed and it's meant to feel like your home while you are there.
There is a market within a half hour drive on every day of the week. One of the nearest (and one of the best) is in St Vaast la Hougue on Saturdays. Even nearer are those at Barfleur, Quettehou and St Pierre Eglise. At Bricquebec the market starts early with beasts and continues with vegetables, dairy products, household goods, clothes and a host of other stalls.
The ancient village of Barfleur was one of the principal ports of Normandy in earlier times. Now it is home to a small fishing fleet and some pleasure boats. It is officially recognised as one of the 50 prettiest villages in France. Small enough to explore completely on foot it has some lovely old houses and a fine church. There are plenty of places to eat and take a glass of something.
This handsome fishing and pleasure port has much to attract the visitor. The Vauban fortifications form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortified island of Tatihou can be visited on the amphibious boat - or on foot if the tide is right. It has a boat museum and other maritime sites including a garden of seaside plants.
A UNESCO World Memory Register entry, the Bayeux tapestry is famous for its record of the Norman invasion of England. Almost a thousand years old, it depicts William's gathering of an invasion fleet, the voyage across the channel and subsequent battle setting the course of English history for centuries to come.
The city also has a magnificent cathedral and an excellent invasion museum - this time of the invasion of France by the allied armies in 1944.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the world's greatest monuments. This can be visited on a day trip from our house and is a must if you have the time.
Too many to name. From the vast D-Day landing beaches at the south of the Cotentin Peninsula to the small coves and headlands you have an excellent choice. The nearest beaches are small, uncrowded, and an easy bike ride from the house.