An old farmhouse dating from the 18th century, La Pépinière comprises two stone houses (Le Logis and Le Pressoir) on 1.3 ha of the beautiful Suisse Normande, south of Calvados and near the confluence of the Orne and the Baize. Nestled between a bank of the latter and one of the wooded slopes of its small valley, La Pépinière, with its courtyard and barn, meadow and gardens, is a complete haven of peace. Yet it is less than 20 minutes from the historic town of Falaise with its castle of William the Conqueror, 45 minutes from Caen and less than an hour from the beaches of the Côte de Nacre.
In winter, you can relax in front of a cozy fireplace under the old oak beams of the living / dining room of the house, spacious but well heated. (Gas central heating throughout the Logis.) The kitchen, small but well equipped with a gas stove, is next door. The double bedroom on the ground floor is accessible through the hallway leading from the living room to a small veranda. The bathroom (shower, washbasin, WC) is accessible either directly by this room, or by the veranda for those who sleep elsewhere. Upstairs is a mezzanine (with large comfortable sofa bed) which serves as TV lounge or reading. Finally, passing through a low door we reach the second room, decorated with a pleasant old style, with two single beds and a small balcony with a nice view of the Baize.
In summer as in spring, you can have lunch outdoors in front of the Logis, in the shade under the trellis. Or lie on the sunny lawns of the pretty garden, the former vegetable garden of the farm which also contains a swimming pool of 10m x 3.5m in which you will have pleasure to refresh you. This one works without chlorine the purity of the water being ensured by a lagoon of aquatic aquatic plants, a waterfall and powerful hidden UV lamps. All this to the benefit of dragonflies, swallows, wagtails and even sometimes a kingfisher.
You can also go trout fishing (with license) along the Baize along the property on 350 m. Children will have fun following the shoreline, wading through water (less than 0.5 m depth virtually everywhere), building dams or shelters, and exploring the nearby woods. To their delight, a trampoline of 3. 6 m is installed near the barn, with a slide and a swing for toddlers.
WHAT TO DO NEAR THE HOUSE?
L'Orne, which flows into the sea north of Caen, is the very life of this part of the Suisse Normande and passes 200 m from the house. Its valley, classified Natura 2000, houses otters and attracts fishermen of pikeperch, catfish, pike etc.
You will discover its abundant nature, and that of the steep slopes that overhang it, by borrowing one of its many paths, of which the GR 36 and the Circuit of the Valley of the Baize pass both very close to La Pépinière.
Going peacefully by bike along small country roads, you will discover with pleasure the villages and hamlets nearby: Val Boesne, Isles-Bardel and Ménil Villement but also the famous natural site of Roche d'Oëtre, 5 km of the House. This magnificent belvedere marks the eastern limit of the Armorican granite massif. Its steep cliff with 118 meters of elevation gives panoramic views of the wooded gorges of the Rouvre, tributary of the Orne. There are several hiking trails in the gorges itself and on its slopes and nature to abundance (flowers rocks, green lizards, otters and other unusual species). The site also offers a picnic area, a nice restaurant and a shop. Nearby, you also have Acro Park (Acrobranche) with 9 courses in the peaks, zip line 100m., Games etc.
A FEW FARTHER NORTH ...
Located on the Orne 6 km north of La Pépinière, the pretty village of Pont d'Ouilly offers many restaurants, two bakeries, a small market on Sunday and, in summer, a guingette by the river (as well as butcher , bars, small supermarket, Tourist Office etc). A major attraction is its Base de Plein Air where you can rent canoes and kayaks for the descent of L'Orne. Start around 10am to arrive at Clécy in the afternoon (from where we take you back by minibus) through the beautiful landscapes of the Suisse Normande: green meadows, forests, cliffs, small fluvial beaches ... Do not forget your picnic. Other activities in P d'O: archery and climbing (in the Center too) as well as horse riding, hiking and mountain biking.
Clécy, still 11 km north by road, deserves a separate visit. Located near the impressive rocks of the Park and the Sugar Loaf, you will find 'sport' activities (paragliding, climbing, hiking) and other 'tourist': 'vélorail', via ferrata, summer toboggan, gulf etc.
Sixteen kilometers east of La Pep, it is in Falaise that we do our market on Saturdays as well as daily shopping at the large Leclerc shopping center. But it is also a historic and picturesque city where to spend a busy day. Visit the vast restored castle of William the Conqueror and the excellent new Museum of Civilians in the War. Stroll through its medieval streets, to villages and hamlets around the city and the banks of the Ante. Among its other attractions are the Fresnaye Castle with its exhibitions and the superb aquatic center `Forméo 'that our children adore.
AND SOUTH ...
At 13 km you will arrive at one of our favorite places: Lake Rabodanges created in the 60s by the flood of the Orne Valley 6 km upstream of a dam EDF. Its 96 hectares of surface are used for several activities: fishing (including carp) kayaking, windsurfing, swimming and walking on the banks of the forest or in the gorges of St Aubert downstream of the dam. The Motonautics Club of Basse-Normandie is located on the east shore of the lake and welcomes water skiing enthusiasts with introductory courses for beginners and even Baby-Ski from 3 years old! It also offers wakeboard and towed buoy. You will spend less adrenaline by choosing a cruise around the lake aboard the boat restaurant or having lunch either on one of several beaches or at 'La Rotonde' (our favorite holiday restaurant ()) with terraces and views of the lake . If it's complete, go to Putanges-Pont-Ecrepin at the end of the lake where the restaurant of the hotel Le Lion Verd represents excellent value for money and you will discover this pretty, peaceful little town on the banks of the Orne . Finally, 3 minutes from the lake to the west, the Rotourelle is an equestrian center for all ages, but ideal for children.
To the south you have the large and beautiful Ecouves Forest and the Normandy-Maine Regional Park, with Domfront and the spa town of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne. The Pin National Stud east of Argentan is also worth a visit.
To the north, the lively center of the city of Caen is accessible in 46 minutes from La Pep by the highway. Explore the grounds of its castle with museum and art gallery, its abbeys and churches built with this famous blonde stone. Many restaurants are located in the old streets between the castle and the Abbaye aux Dames, just north of the marina. On the west side of Caen are the Festyland amusement park and the Carpiquet airport (direct flights from England). Just south of its boulevard you have the double mall Mondéville with its huge Decathlon store and its commercial area.
20 km north of the Périphérique de Caen you reach the beaches of the Côte de Nacre. Among the most popular for swimming are those of Riva Bella and Lion-sur-Mer, and, more to the west, those of Courseulles-sur-Mer and Arromanches-les-Bains. These are also the sites of the dramatic D Day disembarkation, a fascinating story witnessed not only by the museums and memorials devoted to it (one of the best being that of Arromanches) but also, even more movingly, the cemeteries perfectly shorn military that punctuate the roads of the country. Finally, returning from Arromanches Pep to the Bayeux Road, you will have the opportunity to admire its remarkable Gothic cathedral and especially (for me) the extraordinary `tapestry 'Bayeux. Almost 70 m long, embroidered almost 1000 years ago, it tells the famous conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, in images that still strike today with their vivacity and freshness