Travel review: Glatigny in Normandy, France
Spacious, calm, comforting, a real home-from-home – what more could you ask for in a holiday rental? That’s exactly what I discovered at a recently restored farmhouse in the tiny village of Glatigny in Normandy.
Owners Sam and Francesca Acford have created the perfect escape from our usually frantic lives in a quiet spot close to the most fantastic expanses of beach (often deserted) and minutes away from two charming towns offering a range of bars and restaurants and a wealth of other attractions a little further afield.
They have created a wonderful space from what was basically a shell.
There’s a large open-plan kitchen, dining room and lounge complete with a huge ornate wood burner (actually made in Ironbridge in Shropshire!), full of the house’s original character.
Going through this area is a utility room/cloakroom with a washing machine and off this is an exceptionally well-proportioned and stunning bathroom. It is huge with a large shower and, like the main living area, is beautifully tiled with underfloor heating.
Up on the first floor from the landing there is a breathtaking view straight up to the roof timbers neatly framing a traditional French chandelier. This oversized landing has another lounge area, a desk for working on if you really can’t leave the office behind, and an extensive library.
Off a corridor there are two beautiful bedrooms with original antique furnishings and an imposing but gorgeous bathroom with a roll-top bath. This bathroom is also beautifully tiled with feature beams and stone walls.
Up a pullout set of stairs and onto the top floor, a mezzanine level which provides another lounge including a third bedroom. It’s a perfect hideway spot and ideal for children!
If you need more beds the red Chesterfield sofa and the sofa on the landing are both purpose build ‘sofa-beds’.There are also spare mattresses available. But for me, it’s perfect for one or two families with a couple of children each.
I love the fittings and furnishings throughout and particularly the innovative way the pipes and electrical wires have been hidden away – quite retro in some places but fitting in perfectly.
The kitchen has just about everything you could want and if you want to create a sumptuous dinner including a mahogany dining table and chairs.
The are two outside courtyards – the front south facing courtyard is a delight with seating and a large pizza oven/barbecue and a smaller rear courtyard which catches the morning sun.
There are also extensive gardens just across the road complete with a mixed fruit orchard, ‘exotic glade’, fruit and vegetable garden and a wild flower meadow. Sitting within these gardens is a large traditional barn which houses extras, like bikes and garden furniture.
Glatigny is on the western side of the Cotentin peninsula, an area much favoured for summer holidays by Parisians, especially Barnville-Carteret
It is set between the two small towns of La Haye du Puit and Portbail. Both offer a wide range range of shops as well as eateries and cafés along with very good weekly markets. We ate very well in both towns and especially well in Le Hetier. Their menu du jour at lunchtime is great value for money (three courses for around £10) and so tasty. It’s where locals eat, and that says a lot.
Both Portbail and Barnville/Carteret offer great equestrian stables for horse riding and the rides along the beach aren’t to be missed. Club Hippique ‘A Cheval’, has a great range of horses and ponies for all sizes and abilities but they also do rides along the beach. That was one experience ticked off my bucket list – a ride along a beach. It was windy but so exhilerating.
From around June to early September, on most weekends, many towns and villages nearby hold festivals and fêtes with great outdoor music and food. Most towns also have what is called a Brocante, which essentially is a furniture market, but these really are worth a visit as it is very rare such quantities of antiques are under a single roof for such low prices. By far the best is ‘La Clé Des Temps’ in Coutances. There are many WWII sites of interest, one of the biggest being near Caen and there is a book in the house showing damage to the nearby town of La Haye Du Puit.
Mont St Michel is not too far away, it is a breathtaking place and worth a visit. The Bayeux Tapestry is also close by and is an interesting day out.
If you are in the area for any length of time there are also regular boat rides over to the Channel Islands of Jersey, (which you can see from Glatigny beach) Guernsey, Sark and Alderney and I would recommend a day trip over.
Many years ago I used to regularly visit Normandy and, a little further south, close to the town of Villedieu les Poêles just over an hour away. Known as the copper town due to its links with manufacturing pots, pans and other items in copper, it is also home to a bell foundry. Specially commissioned bells made here over the centuries were sent all over the world and are still made and exported today.
It also has a very good market selling just about everything you can think of. And the street food during market days is highly recommended.
A wonderful property in a charming area.
- Glatigny farmhouse costs from £143 a night. To book visit www.remarkable-retreats.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 241 8881 and 07922 461417.