Last week I welcomed a small group of guests on my annual Brocante Tour to shop antiques and browse brocantes with me and generally discover Normandy.
As well as having plenty of opportunities to find treasure, we also toured this beautiful part of north west France, we had a cooking lesson, visited gardens and shopped to our hearts content.
Along the way we stayed at a couple of truly charming B&B manor houses and I thought you’d like to know about the last one, which is ideally situated for visiting Monet’s garden at Giverny.
La Reserve is run by my friend Valerie Jouyet and her husband François. Valerie has a special gift for interiors, and each room, and each table setting makes her guests feels welcome. The dining room sits twelve with plenty of space to spare.
Upstairs the rooms are also beautifully and comfortably decorated. Spacious and elegant, true French country style that makes guests want to linger.
The house is generous in size, and I love the proportions of the rooms. High ceilings, low windows with views out across the un-ending gardens to the nearby forest, the lawn only punctuated by apple trees and friendly donkeys who keep the grass in check and who are happy to pose for a photo in exchange for a treat.
Every detail is just right. The wooden floors covered in antique rugs, the enfilade of rooms from the entrance hall right down to the kitchen, each room adding an interesting layer of colour and texture.
Valerie has furnished the house with that comfortable mix of old and new, that the French master so well, she is not afraid to use colour, and the result for her guests is the feeling of being pampered in a luxurious cocoon.
The gardens are very big, and dotted with deckchairs and garden furniture encouraging guests to make the most of the end of summer sunshine and wander outside after breakfast to finish their coffee with a newspaper beneath a tree.