Destination Guide


mont st michel normandy

From its picturesque farms and pastures, to the simultaneously modern and ancient urban centers, there is a strong respect for the past in Normandy. This collective bond to history is not nostalgic or retroactive, but rather an appreciation for the endurance of previous generations and lives.


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Exterior View - Château La Chenevière, Normandy, France

Château La Chenevière

This chateau rests at the end of a long, grand country driveway and still feels like the elegant 18th-century manor it once was. There are 29 rooms and suites, 15 of which are located in the main building. In the main building the décor is neutral with greys, beiges, whites, creams and browns as the dominant colors. The annex buildings incorporate more color into the rooms with pale blues, yellows and pinks. The suites in the annex offer a bit more privacy and sit in an L-shaped annex, formerly the commanderie (commander’s quarters) and forge (blacksmith). All rooms are different in their details, but share the same winning combination of 18th-century country elegance and contemporary amenities. And air conditioning was added to all rooms over the last few years so those who are heat sensitive needn't worry. Views are of the grounds or other buildings on property, all of which are charming

The fine dining restaurant Le Botaniste is open for breakfast and dinner. The food is excellent (it’s considered one of the best in the area), and the dining room is elegant yet unfussy. The hotel also has a more casual farm-to-table restaurant open for lunch and dinner, Le Petit Jardin, which is great for in-house guests or those touring the sites in the area during the day. Diners can sit outside in the garden or in the atrium next to the pool.

The outdoor grounds and gardens are beautifully manicured and maintained. Younger visitors and nature-lovers will enjoy the hotel’s complimentary tree guides, which label each tree on property. Guests can also grab one of the complimentary bikes for a ride around the property and into neighboring Port-en-Bessin. The hotel also has an outdoor pool and a small gym as well as a massage room, and e-bike rentals are available on property for touring around.

Situated just outside the small fishing village of Port-en-Bessin (about 5 minutes driving or 15 minutes walking) and a 20-minute drive from Bayeaux, the chateau is an ideal jumping off point for those who want a countryside experience near Normandy's towns. It’s also ideally located for D-Day touring along the coast.

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Hotel La Ferme St.-Siméon

It is easy to understand why this place was once a second home to artists obsessed with the picturesque Norman landscape; some of the paintings created here dot the walls of museums, and former guests are now lauded as pioneers of the Impressionist movement. The manicured, lush growth of trees and flowers cultivated in a climate regulated by a salty breeze appealed to painters yearning to escape city life, searching for colorful, dynamic scenes to render on canvas. Once an inn owned by the Toutain family, who would rent rooms for a small fee or even a painting, Hotel Ferme St.-Siméon overlooks where the English Channel meets the Crique de Rouen, an estuary that becomes the Seine.

The often-changing light and beautiful greenery surrounding the blue grey building make for a bucolic setting. Wood paneling abounds and adds to the warm and light-filled atmosphere. Fresh-cut flowers on almost every surface and large windows certainly help. Behind the helm of the hotel restaurant is Chef Mickael Lelievre, who trained with some of the world’s best chefs including Alain Ducasse and Michel Canet of the Grand Saint Michel in Alencon. In overseeing the intimate, authentic dining room and La Ferme’s sole eatery, Lelievre’s goal is to keep diners on their toes. The kitchen staff keeps up with the latest culinary changes and trends, overhauls the menu on a regular basis, but manages to honor the traditions of Norman cuisine and to bolster flavors with local ingredients

Even the smallest rooms have a small seating area that can double as a breakfast nook if the sprawling buffet downstairs seems too far. Inside the main farmhouse’s first floor is the reception area, bar, smoking room and restaurant. Exterior staircases, a typical feature of 17th-century homes in this region, lead up to rooms on the second level. The Pressior, a separate thatch roof building set slightly behind the main one, has some rooms on the top floor. However, the focus of that building is its state-of-the-art spa with a huge indoor pool, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and treatment rooms.

Room décor is a nod to the property's rich past, featuring antique furniture and vintage photographs, but bathrooms and amenities are modernized. Touches such as Hermès bath products and hurricane lamps combine with the traditional theme and create a result that is comfortable, elegant and authentically Norman.

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