This pretty cottage, with its exposed wall and roof beams, is part of a 16th century stable building built in the traditional Colombage style with irises on the roof that bloom in late spring. Reputedly the longest thatched building in Normandy at 77 metres long, it has been converted into self-contained gites set in two hectares of natural orchard garden. The bedroom, with its mighty oak beams, occupies the whole of the upper storey and contains a double bed and two small sofa-beds suitable for children. The kitchen area is fully equipped with hob, oven, refrigerator and washing machine. The living area contains a double sofa-bed. The gite is reached from the parking area immediately next to it by a shingled path. Enjoy a quiet drink or meal outside in the tranquil garden.
A quiet area, it is an ideal base for walking, cycling, swimming, sailing, canoeing, horse-riding and exploring the historical and gastronomic wonders of Calvados, cider and Camembert country. The village is close to the Brotonne National Park, with walking and cycling routes and picturesque towns and markets. Golfers will find excellent golf courses within easy reach and the region is popular with fishermen.
Berville-sur-Mer is a small rural hamlet which was the crossing point of the River Seine before the Pont de Normandie was opened in 1995. It is reputed to have been part of the estate owned by the mother of William the Conqueror and has a pretty maritime 13th century church.
Berville is about 10 km from the mediaeval harbour town of Honfleur, with tall slate-fronted, oak-tiled and timber-framed buildings surrounding the port – their ground floors now house ship’s chandlers, art galleries and restaurants. Honfleur is considered to be the cradle of Impressionist art and there is an extensive collection in the Musée Eugène Boudin near the home of the composer, Erik Satie and in many other galleries. The 15th century wooden church of Sainte-Catherine, built by shipbuilders in the shape of an upturned boat, has an 18th century bell tower built across the square as a precaution against fire.
Normandy is a land of fishermen and farmers and is one of the finest gastronomic regions of France. Fish dishes are a regional speciality, with imposing ranges of fruits de mer served at waterside restaurants in Honfleur. There is a small restaurant in Berville and other restaurants in nearby villages, including Contéville and Fiquefleur. The nearest supermarket is in Contéville, about 3 km away, and there is a large hypermarket and supermarkets on the outskirts of Honfleur.
Honfleur has an excellent fish market and on Wednesday and Saturday mornings there is a superb farmers’ market around the church of Sainte Catherine selling a wide range of bread, vegetables, fruits, wines, cider, Calvados and the world-famous locally-produced cheeses, Camembert, Pont l’Eveque and Liverot. There are also typically Norman markets in the nearby towns of Pont Audemer and Beuzeville and other towns in the region, .
Boat trips from Honfleur take passengers under the stunning Pont de Normandie that spans the River Seine. When opened in 1995 it was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world.
Berville-sur-Mer is about 30 minutes from the wide golden beaches of the Côte Fleurie, with the coastal towns of Trouville and elegant Deauville, famous for its racecourse, casino, golf courses, and film festival. Within easy reach for a day trip are the D-Day Normandy landing beaches, the artificial port (Port Winston) and Second World War battlefields, all commemorated in the excellent museum at Arromanches. There is also a ‘peace’ museum in Caen, with its beautiful Romanesque church and ruins of an enormous castle founded by William the Conqueror. Beyond lies the Cathedral of Bayeux and the stunning 70-metre tapestry recording the Norman invasion of England in 1066.
There are many museums and historical monuments in Normandy, including the great island monastery of Mont St Michel and a museum at Fécamp which offers a tour of the only distillery to produce the famous Benedictine liqueur. Claude Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny make a wonderful day trip.