Our stay in Normandy was at this charming place. It was a huge house in the middle of nowhere! The night before we were to arrive, I panicked when reading the address because it just said "across from the church" and the city name. And I thought, oh no, what if there are several churches. How will we recognize it? We thought it would be dark by the time we arrived. So I wrote our host and she said, "Nope there's no house number, you'll figure it out."
When we drive up, there is literally one huge church in the middle of the square, and then there are about 8 homes all surrounding the church. It was like nothing I had seen! And this was the whole town! But our host was sweet and put a note on the door that said my name in big letters.
This might have been our favorite stay on the trip because it was so nice to be in a big house with land and a kitchen and someone there to give us maps and make us breakfast. Our host is a school teacher who used to live in Paris. She bought the house a few years ago and moved to the countryside. It sounds like she had somewhat of a life shift because she quit smoking, moved to the country, and became very active with exercise and gardening.
Isn't her garden fabulous?! She now grows most of the food she eats and she made us a dinner one night using lots of vegetables from her garden. She served a pate as an appetizer- it had lots of green peppers and kind of tasted like meatloaf, but it was vegetarian. She made an eggplant lasagne with a tomato sauce and lots of great herbs. Then for dessert she brought out roquefort cheese and baguettes.
For breakfast, she had a few different types of granola, milk, Normandy butter (they're famous for it), bread, and a mixture of jams. She made all of the jams from berries in her garden and they were very good.
We loved walking around her garden and having a nice place to park the car. She hung all of her laundry outside on a clothesline, ate her meals outside, kept the doors open all day so her cat could easily go in and out, and she cooked most of her meals from scratch. Being in her home was like stepping outside of our busy life and being able to step into a place that was so outdoor/ indoor living- it felt like there was no separation between indoors and outdoors.
The one downside of staying at her home was that the church bells rang every morning at 7 am. And they didn't just ding once, it was more like 125 times- not kidding. We tried counting one morning. It felt like someone was holding an alarm inside my ear because we were literally across the street the from the church bell tower. So that was fun. But it was OK, it got us up and moving in the mornings. And hey, it's the reason we got lots of pictures of the sunrise. Win win!