La Pommetier is a small luxury B&B located in a pretty corner of Arromanches-les-Bains – the hub of the Normandy D-Day beaches. It is owned and run by my husband Mike and I (Danielle) and we try to give our guests a welcoming taste of life in the Normandy countryside while they visit the sights of the D-Day beaches.
We’re Australians, and generally travel in Europe for us had been a whirlwind of Rome-Paris-London as time (and money) limited getting off the beaten track of capital cities. So when we set about making our dream of a home in France become a reality, we knew that in visiting the French countryside we didn’t want to stay in a hotel or a vast chateau. We wanted a comfortable French country house.
So how did we find this French country house?
We first saw the ‘for sale’ sign on the house while visiting Arromanches as part of a drive along the “Overlord Route” in 2013 and it was love at first sight. Like many, we had long dreamed of a life in the French countryside, and while on holidays we always took a second glance at ‘for sale’ signs on houses. So the next day when we saw the house in the window of a real estate agent in Bayeux, and the office door was open, we took a punt and asked to see the house.
We knew it was the one. A long overgrown walled garden, the right number of rooms, big enough but still homely, grand enough but still comfortable. So back in Melbourne after our holiday, we made the call to the agent in Bayeux and started the long process. At the time we told ourselves we’ll just go through the process and jump over the hoops until we hit a road block. But we made it over all the hurdles. Around all the road blocks and in March 2014, we gave up our corporate careers in Melbourne to move here permanently.
A year of renovations followed, with the help of a team of local artisans and under the watchful eyes of Trevor and Darren our cavalier king charles spaniels. Antiques were sourced from around Normandy, porcelain from Limoges and cutlery from Laguiole. Gradually, this house that hadn’t been a permanent home (or even lived in) for years, started to warm up and shine.
Now La Pommetier provides all the things needed for a relaxing stay – comfy beds, quality linens, fluffy towels, toiletries you’ll want to take with you (we use Durance Mandarin and Ginger products) and a fresh traditional French breakfast of local produce (and Lavazza coffee from our awesome bean-to-cup coffee machine). You’ll find a range of the latest international magazines in the lounge room to take out to a spot in the garden on a sunny afternoon or curl up with in front of the fire with a cup of tea in winter (or up to bed to fall asleep with).
The entire house is centrally heated and kept comfortable year round with open fires in the living and dining rooms to sit by in winter. In summer there is nothing nicer than to throw open the windows to the sounds of the birds and the Arros river tumbling into the historic lavoir across the lane way. The village church bells ring from 7am to 10pm every day usually accompanied by the village donkey in the field on the hill.
We hope it’s the French country home you would love to have, but are happy someone else fluffs the cushions and collects the croissants from the bakery in the morning. Feel free to read along on our blog or get in touch via email.