We travelled by train from Paris (St Lazare Station) to Normandy and arrived at Dieppe railway station after a two and half hour journey in search of La Maison Beaurevoir, the private villa we chose for our week long holiday in the French countryside.
At the SNCF train station in Dieppe, we also found the Avis Office where our hire car awaited. Bags loaded, we set out with maps collected from the Tourist Centre on the port (http://www.dieppetourisme.com) to find our stunning French holiday home.
Not accustomed to driving on the right hand side of the road we very slowly (honk, honk) made our way to the small village of Offranville. Our points of reference were the St Ouen Cathedral, capped by an oddly twisted spire, dating from the sixteenth century, as well as the more modern Carrefour Supermarché (which we noted would require a visit for supplies) and, after some renavigating, we finally arrived at our destination.
We were met by French speaking Mdme Lesueur who showed us the facilities and nuances of the house. Our interaction was a mixture of broken French and a lot of hand gestures but she was very kind, patient and hospitable. The house is owned by two guys Frédéric and Oliver who we met on a recent holiday in Phuket (Phuket Gay Homestay: http://www.phuketgayhomestay.com). The house was originally Frédéric’s parent’s home but now is the proud holiday home of these two lovely guys who live in Munich, Germany.
We explored the five bedroom, two bathroom, three storey house. There were three generously sized double bedrooms and two smaller rooms, with single beds. Each of the rooms was uniquely and tastefully styled. The two bathrooms have been recently remodelled. Added bonuses in the house are the enormous spa bath, a wood burner fireplace, a brand new dry sauna and a well equipped kitchen. The house has a warm, homely feel and the guys have worked hard to make it super comfortable for guests.
We strolled around the lush, fragrant garden on a midsummer afternoon to find pear trees laden with fruit, flowers in full bloom, inviting sunbeds and a BBQ just begging for use. The comfortable outdoor tables and chairs suggested long twilight drinks with pâté, cheese and a bottle of crisp French white. La Maison Beaurevoir is only 150 metres away from the centre of Offranville village where there are several patisseries, boulangeries and charcuteries, just perfect for that decadent stay in the French countryside.
The beaches of Pourville, Quiberville and Varengeville are only about five kilometres away. At Pourville, right on the waterfront, we visited the Huîtrière (restaurant specialising in oysters). How could we not enjoy ourselves with a bottle of dry apple cider, a dozen plump, fresh, juicy oysters finished off with a good strong café looking out to sea on a sunny summers day? On another day we drove to the large sandy beach at Quiberville. We found swimming in the sea a little brisk but the 27 degree temperature was perfect for improving the tan.
Right behind La Maison Beaurevoir is a converted farmhouse restaurant Le Colombier (http://www.lecolombieroffranville.fr). We tried very hard to secure a booking at this Michelin star restaurant but alas it was fully booked. On Sundays they have lunch (4-5 courses) for around 50 Euro. Frédéric and Oliver highly recommend this restaurant, however we will have to wait until next time.
We would like to say we ate at other restaurants in the Offranville area, as there are quite a few. Unfortunately, in August we found so many places closed for the summer holidays. This made us shop locally for fresh produce and French wine at very reasonable prices. On Fridays there is a fresh produce market in Offranville square opposite the Carrefour Supermarché. We made some inspired home cooked meals and ate them in the beautiful garden of La Mansion Beaurevoir, savouring the French tastes during the lingering twilight of the balmy summer evenings. On Wednesday evenings some of the locals buy superb wood-fired pizzas from Vincent in the pizza truck in Offranville square (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parenthèse-Foodtruck/935949189761869?sk=timeline&ref=page_internal).
Dieppe, about 7kms away, is the closest major population to Offranville. This port town on the English Channel (La Manche), at the mouth of the Arques River, has a regular ferry service to Newhaven in England. Our friends made the crossing on the car ferry to join us. It takes about 4 hours and the cost of a return trip is £150. Dieppe also has the famous Château-Musée, a flint and sandstone castle located high above the city, as well as many good restaurants right on the water front. We enjoyed our favourite French lunch, moules frites (steamed muscles and chips) in one of the port side restaurants and after a delicious meal we strolled through the quaint cobbled streets of the town (Centre Ville).
The countryside is a vast expanse of abundant pastoral land, punctuated with picturesque farm cottages, stately manors and charming villages. It is famous for its cheeses and apple cider. Hay bales and cows dot the luxuriant landscape along with a number of giant wind turbines. Within easy driving distance from Offranville there are numerous dignified Châteaux.
In Fécamp, 57 kilometres from Offranville, we visited the original Benedictine factory, Le Palais Bénédictine (http://benedictinedom.com/lda/). However, our afternoon drive would not have been complete without a traditional crêpe and coffee on the waterfront to sustain us for the return journey. We decided to sample the apple with salted caramel and the apple and calvados crêpes. Absolument délicieux! Fécamp also has a very scenic beachfront flanked by colossal white cliffs. This is a stunning town and well worth the drive.
It certainly is not gay Paris but amazingly Offranville does have a gay sauna (Au Quai Ouest, Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie) and there is even a naked night on Fridays (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Au-Quai-Ouest/670637262984888?fref=ts). You are also reasonably close to the larger towns of Rouen and Le Havre where there is some gay life to be found.
La Maison Beaurevoir, as the website suggests, is elegant, relaxing and inspiring. You won’t just fall in love with the house, this whole region of Normandy, where the farm meets the sea, will make you yearn for more. Perhaps it truly is ‘a house of beautiful memories’.
Know Before You Go
Little English is spoken in the Dieppe area.
Book ahead at restaurant Le Colombier in Offranville
Map URL for the house: