staying in normandy – la reserve at giverny

by Sharon Santoni


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.

facade of french house, la reserve giverny

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.

laying tabe in french dining room at La Reserve 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.

french bedroom at la reserve giverny

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.

donkeys in field at la reserve giverny

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.

end of summer day in garden

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.

facade of french house, la reserve giverny

If you would like to know more about La Reserve, then check out their website here, or send Valerie an email here.



Frances Judd September 30, 2016 - 8:16 pm

My husband and I visited Giverny in 2014 and were enchanted with the place. We stayed overnight about 500 yards from Monet’s gardens in a guesthouse full of antiques. We dined at a small bar/restaurant on the river on the recommendation of the B & B owner. The meal was simple but superb, just what was needed after a long drive. I had wanted to visit Giverny for years and it did not disappoint.

susan venable September 30, 2016 - 8:37 pm

Sharon. We stayed here 2 years ago. Fabulous with big windows from the upstairs bedroom watching over the cows and donkeys. Is her dog named Flaubert? Big beautiful guy. Love your posts!

Denise September 30, 2016 - 9:13 pm

We stayed here in 2002 and 2003 when the first owners ran the B&B. The gentleman built those gorgeous home and the lady made the soft furnishings. True artisans. I continue to recommend La Reserve to my friends and would love to return.

Our French Oasis September 30, 2016 - 9:48 pm

Absolutely beautiful, I have made a note of it, it’s just my kind of place, elegant and comfortable and beautifully furnished. Makes me want to pack an overnight bag and sneak away with my husband for a weekend!

Taste of France September 30, 2016 - 10:03 pm

It’s SO gorgeous. I would say it’s a mix of old and old and new, which is a very GOOD thing. I love every photo here. Thank you so much for introducing me to la Reserve!

Danielle September 30, 2016 - 10:10 pm

I was just in Normandie and loved everywhere we went. The B&B you feature has that quiet elegance which you can find in so many place in France.

Patricia Miller September 30, 2016 - 10:15 pm

I don’t know how I found your blog but It is just wonderful, today I ordered your book looks delicious. Hoping I can join in one your adventures soon, keep me posted
Thankyou Patricia Miller

Sharon Santoni October 2, 2016 - 8:26 pm

Thank you Patricia, I’d love to host you here, if you want more information on our tours, you are welcome to email me at

MARLA September 30, 2016 - 10:34 pm

I just wanted to tell you again how great your book and blog are. I bought a few copies of your STYLISH GIRLFRIEND book and gave them as Christmas gifts to my “stylish” girlfriends. They love it!

Sharon Santoni October 2, 2016 - 8:27 pm

Thank you Marla , that’s a lovely message to receive:)

Vicky from Athens September 30, 2016 - 11:03 pm

Sharon, what a beautiful B&B! And Valerie is such an attractive woman! I would love to stay there if/when my husband and I get back to Normandy. I’ve made a note of it in my little book where I write down “all things important” that I may want to reference in the future!
Thanks so much for sharing.

Sharon Santoni October 2, 2016 - 8:28 pm

I hope that if you come this way, you’ll let me know Vicky. 🙂

AFN October 1, 2016 - 12:42 am

Charming. So delightful and comfortable. You have wonderful friends and I thank
you for sharing with us all. AFN

Marilyn October 1, 2016 - 1:05 am

It is lovely! How I would love joining your adventure sometime. Now I am curious as to what was hanging in those trees?

Denise Bennett October 1, 2016 - 1:21 am

Apples. The original owner told me that he first had an apple orchard for making cider and determined if he built a beautiful manor that he could make a larger profit with a B&B. Prior to growing apples, he farmed wheat. Such a lovely gentleman.

Mariana Greene October 2, 2016 - 6:36 am

I had the same question. She is talking about something suspended from the branches of the apple trees. The photo is not sharp enough to make out those objects are.

Sharon Santoni October 2, 2016 - 8:31 pm

Hi Mariana and Marilyn

The suspensions you are talking about are glass candle holders that catch the light

Lorraine Wafer October 1, 2016 - 1:22 am

Hi Sharon

Beautiful French elegance. I adore the table setting and decor. Will save this website to share with friends who are going to Giverny.
We stayed in a very charming smaller BandB also in the area. The Hermitage at 38 route de Giverny on the river. More farmhouse rustic but very delightful run by Ariane et Alain. The birds room is ideal for a couple. We were treated wonderfully with an amazing breakfast brought to our room. Glass of wine and fruit in their garden on arrival. We have great memories of our time in Giverny and will return. We loved the story of the Hermitage and its restoration. Website is they are very active in promoting the area so you probably are acquainted. Great hosts too.
Thank you for this gorgeous way to wake up in Australia.
PS My Australian girlfriends love the French Girlfriends book. Xx

Helen Digenis October 1, 2016 - 5:45 am

Love your newsletter and relate to so many beautiful references. Have visited Normandie several times. I live in Kentucky and always think of France my second home. Will be visiting Giverny in Mid October, maybe I will stop by La Reserve.

joanna October 1, 2016 - 6:25 am

a happy realm, a place of pure dreams of the most sublime … it should be dubbed
pur enchantement or
enchantement manoir!

Penelope October 1, 2016 - 8:37 am

I stayed at La Reserve with a French friend in 2013 and it was as special and beautiful as you describe. The rooms are huge and extremely comfortable. Valerie is a very lovely and welcoming person and her breakfasts in the so-elegant breakfast room were a delight! Guests sat around a large round table which facilitated a lot of happy chatting, from which we all seemed to have difficulty tearing ourselves away!
La Reserve is brilliantly situated for visiting Giverny at times which avoid the peak periods for the busloads of other tourists!

Penelope, Australia

Pam October 1, 2016 - 5:58 pm

Oh my how lovely. Thank you so much for sharing.

Emm October 1, 2016 - 9:11 pm

Such a lovely house. If I went there, I’d want never to leave.
The furnishings and wall colors are beautiful, especially that rich red tone in the (?) salon.

Darina October 2, 2016 - 1:59 pm

What a beautiful place! I love this kind of decorating!

Colleen Taylor October 4, 2016 - 6:18 am

What a charming and beautiful house. Their website is gorgeous as well.

Victoria October 23, 2018 - 3:06 pm

What a wonderful place to stay as I can tell. I would never want to leave. I am coming to Paris next Fall. I have never been overseas so I am excited and nervous. Budget constraints will limit what I can do or I would love to visit Normandy. In US we have the Mega Millon lotto. If I win tonight I will visit Normandy. Heck I might buy a Chateau.

Carolyn October 23, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Such a beautiful place! I’ve visted Giverny a couple of times but over twenty years ago. I have noted this the name of this charming place if I get the chance to visit the area again. Merci beaucoup.


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