See here for my introduction to Normandy Holidays
Only an hour from the landing beaches at Sainte Opportune, Sylvie and Frédéric will give you the warmest welcome ever; both of them speak perfect English. They offer gites (self-catering), chambre d’hotes (B&B) and table d’hôte (dinner with your hosts). Each of their cottages is picturesque and full of character with the traditional half-timbered cob buildings, that they actually restored themselves. It’s an absolutely charming location, like a tranquil Hobbit set from Lord of the Rings. We fell in love with this little fairyland and its owners Sylvie and Frédéric. From the quirky furnishings via the clean comfort rooms to the rural gardens this is a must, I did not want to leave! The food was delicious with the pizza and bread all homemade.tél/fax : 02 33 66 04 28 They have restored a bread oven in a building in the grounds so you can knead bread and cook it as well (need to book).
The icing on the cake was a tour around Suisse Normandy the next day in a purple London taxi expertly driven by Sylvie. I enjoyed learning about the local events and architecture of this beautiful region in a spacious and comfortable cab. Sylvie was very knowledgeable about the historical events and feed us on a wonderful picnic with local produce and homemade recipes.
Thoroughly recommend to all, great for families with gardens to explore and secure playground. www.gite-caractere-normandie.com
Breakfast at La Bergerie
Sylvie and her purple London taxi.
This chambre d’hotes owner Jean is so enthusiastic about D-Day it’s contagious. Set in the countryside not far from Omaha beach expect rural accommodation. The themed breakfast room is in the style of a 1940’s bar surrounded by his locally found memorabilia, adding to the ambience are mannequins in US and German uniform. The bedrooms are recently refurbished with en suites and they are clean and comfortable.
Clamber into Jean jeep and you’re transported 70 year. You can choose from either a guided tour of the battlefields with this local expert, or a night time’s re-inactment of the parachutist’s journey. Imagine you are lost in a hostile and unknown country surrounded by farmlands and high hedgerow. Nothing can bring these events to life more than the faux gun fire and smoke bombs. This is an assault of your senses with realistic sounds and smells the anticipation of being caught (in this safe environment) is thrilling.
If you book for the tours, it’s worth asking for a translator as Jean only speaks French and it’s a shame to miss out on the local anecdotes. Children and adults would love it here. You cannot help but be caught up in the atmosphere for the historic events that took place in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. www.batterie-du-holdy.com
Residence Le Chant des Oiseaux
Pierre & Vacances has a range of apartments across Normandy that is ideal for families. On the coast and within 30 minutes’ drive of the Pegasus Museum is the Residence Le Chant des Oiseaux in Courseulles-sur-Mer, overlooking the Juno landing area. Prices in June (D-Day itself is sold out) start from £457 for a 7 nights in a 1 bedroom apartment sleeping 4. These are clean spacious apartments with the ability to hire linen, heated indoor swimming pool and children playground. For more information visit www.pierreetvacances.co.uk
Written by Penny McCarthy