Last year, my husband and I traveled to Normandy. He had always wanted to visit the famous WWII beaches where the world’s history was changed forever – and I was happy to accompany him. To be honest, I was contemplating a week or two of great food and style, more than a history lesson. And I got both.
The D-Day tours and beaches, and the American cemeteries, were enlightening and staggering in their scope. French school children visit the sites as part of their school curriculum – I wish it could be required education for American and British children, too. History means so much more when you can see and feel it, first hand.
Of course, I got my dose of style, too. One of the places we stayed was the lovey Manoir du Quesnay near Bayeux. You reach the manoir by driving through tightly-wound country roads. Then, suddenly, you’re in the airy, open space that makes up the grounds and surrounding farmlands of this gracious French estate.
The house is everything you would expect in the French countryside. Elegant, rustic and full of history. The house has been in Madame’s family for many generations – and the mother of Monsieur Fourcade was an active and colorful member of the French underground. The couple will be glad to share a drink with you in the parlor and tell you great stories of the manoir.
Our room was up a narrow, curved stone staircase. It was large and vintage, with brocade drapes and paned windows that opened out onto the courtyard. The bathroom was huge, but had last been updated in the 1960s I think. That was the only disappointment from a style standpoint, although the bath was fully functional and not completely without charm.
We enjoyed excellent breakfasts in the big dining room (where the door to the kitchen was hidden inside an antique cabinet) and lovely conversations with our hosts in the sitting room. We’d definitely recommend it to others – and would certainly stay there again. For info visit: http://www.manoir-du-quesnay.com