A friend and I decided to get away for a few days and head over to her place in Normandy to enjoy the autumnal views and cosy evenings over there as well as a spot of maintenance. So we sped over to Portsmouth straight after work to catch the ferry. Doing the ferry crossing overnight makes sense in terms of time saving, until you're woken up by strange music at 5am hammering right into your ears from right above your head! We then made the early morning drive to Boudet from Caen stopping for a French version of a cappuccino (a viennese coffee if you ask me) and a pain au raisin along the way to up energy levels.
One we arrived, I got the grand tour of all the buildings there, which centres around a beautiful grassy courtyard from its original farm days. The large house - originally the farm, sleeps 10 whilst the converted barn sleeps 8 (9 with the sofa bed) and then there's the cider press which sleeps a couple (at half board self catering.) They have all been done up in classic French country style of the area - surrounding Manche near St Michel with a few shaker fittings - minimlist but with sweet homely touches. Surrounded by apple trees with a couple of vines and pear trees, one really does get the feeling of being in rural France. Especially with the vast garden complete with pond and al fresco dining areas.
Supermarkets are not too far away so we stopped off at the nearest one in the closest town to choose a few things to eat for that day before coming back, eating and collapsing. I never sleep in the day, but by this point, I was so physically exhausted that I managed to sleep for around 3 hours until it got dark when we lit a fire and snuggled in front of it watching TV and flicking through magazines.
Being Autumn, rather cold, a little rainy, and me not feeling too hot, I didn't really want to venture outside too much, but had it been nice, it would have been a perfect opportunity to take the bikes out (kept in the shed - a traditional Norman bake house which all houses have access to) and see some of the Norman countryside in its glory. I hear that spring is a beautiful time here but for me nothing beats the wonderful colours of the autumn leaves turning on the trees. There's even a croquet lawn for the sunnier months.
One could have a really cosy time here a deux, as those who have already stayed in the cider press will attest to. It maintains many of the old features, giving the place a real character with a mezzanine bedroom nestled upstairs and open plan kitchenette in the main space as you open the large stable like doors. Or this could act as an overspill for parties for either or both houses, thus sleeping a maximum of 20-21 in total for a huge gathering - family, friends on holiday or for special occasions.
The properties are available to rent through http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/france/FR3608.htm