Elegant Retreat Near Normandy’s Coast
Though stained with the blood, burial grounds and memorials to lost young soldiers; the vast Normandy landscape tells multiple stories. We feel the weight and sad wonder of history, struggle and loss; yet this magnificent land unfolds in soft, rolling farms and golden hay fields that embrace an existence made possible by that very history.
We visited the area for a little over two days but wanted more, and I now have discovered a lovely retreat for those, like us, who want to deeply explore this compelling land of history and pastoral grace. Tucked away in the countryside between the D-Day beaches and historic Bayeux, an historic 17th century Château now plays host to those meandering visitors who want to stay a while, rest, roam and savor the stunning countryside.
This regal Norman Château – “La Chenevière” – has lived through multiple transitions from its origin as a hemp farm and, later, foal breeding farm through occupations by the Germans during World War II and the Americans following D-Day. Fully restored in 1988, the Château has found new life as a 5-star luxury hotel and restaurant offering 29 spacious rooms the blend the highest standards of traditional luxury with contemporary comforts.
Today the mansion is poised among 12 hectares (30 acres) of lush gardens with exotic roses and trees, herbs, fruits and vegetables that yield fresh ingredients for the hotel restaurant and interweave with tennis, swimming and cycling amenities for guests.
We stayed in Dieppe, Caens and a couple of seaside towns, but the appeal of a country ‘manor’ from which to roam appeals to the ‘explore and retreat’ mentality all of us find enticing on occasion. Under 3 hours from Paris, the Château locale is less than a mile on the outskirts of Port-en-Bessin and within an hour of Mont-Saint-Michel.
Sprinkled along the Normandy coast to the East, called “la Côte Fleurie” for the beautiful landscape, small ports and busy towns offer everything from horse racing and polo tournaments to Belle Époque villas and Film Festivals. And for the daring at heart, of course the leisure offerings include casinos. The wilder Bessin coast includes the D-day landing beaches and the American war cemetery, in contrast to traditional fishing ports and stunning views.
The cuisine of the region is no less spectacular – a mix of apple cider and calvados, Camembert and other local cheeses and a treasury of oysters and fresh fish. And, at the end of the day, a refreshing swim and a walk through the Château gardens before dinner – parfait!
We’d love to hear from you!
Copyright © 2005, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.