After a three hour car ride with Albion Voyages and a lot of game-playing, pastry-eating and Ed Sheeran singing; the scenery quickly changed from City to Countryside – my favourite. We drove up to an elegant hideaway in the Normandy countryside; Château La Chenèviere – another absolutely gem within the portfolio of Small Luxury Hotels Of The World Of The World. A collective gasp could be heard as we were all absolutely stunned by our 18th century home for the next few days – a grand chateau surrounded by gardens, a heated pool, a tennis court and everything you would expect from the French countryside.
On arrival, it felt as though I was returning home. The staff were warm, welcoming, and couldn’t have done enough! The atmosphere at Château La la Chenevière Hotel is that of an English country house combined with French style. I was taken to my room by the lovely Olivia and oh my goodness; it was as if it was made for me. My light, airy, yet still cosy room had the most stunning open-plan marble bathroom I’d ever seen and I just couldn’t wait to take a bath and enjoy my beautiful room. Every room has a garden view, and I absolutely loved opening the shutters at sunrise to the birds singing – absolute perfection filled with country charm.
It was soon time to meet downstairs for dinner and I have to say, this particular evening was my favourite of the whole trip. Not only was the food absolutely incredible, our little group had bonded and it was such a lovely end to our first taste of Normandy. As a non-alcohol drinker, I was made an absolutely amazing alternative; pommeau, peach cream and elderflower – YUM.
For dinner, we ate in the Chateau’s own Le Botaniste restaurant – an intimate yet grand setting for a truly indulgent meal by chef Didier Robin, who creates gourmet menus inspired by traditional recipes, using produce grown in the hotel’s garden! As each course was brought out I was more and more certain that this was one of the most exquisite meals I’d ever had the pleasure of devouring! My personal favourite course? The ‘Chariot of Cheese’ – forget a bar cart – it’s all about the cheese cart! It was all just absolutely delicious. Following our seven-course dinner, lots of drinking and even more laughter, we headed down to Zanzibar; the hotels very own speakeasy for a tasting of the calvados -based cocktail menu (whilst I of course had more fabulous apple juice!)
As the early hours of the next day were approaching, we all headed to our beautiful rooms for a cosy nights sleep ready for the adventures (and breakfast of course – which was absolutely incredible) of the next day!
Once the most indulgent breakfast had been consumed; we had a bit of free time to do as we wished. I of course opted to have a bath, a rather surreal hour of me time overlooking the impressive grounds – oh to be back in that bath! We then regrouped for a drink in the sun, lounging just out the front of the Chateau followed by a frolic in the grounds and lots of photo taking! Unfortunately the pool was closed during our stay, but my goodness it was beautiful and would be the absolute dream come Summer. Though, we were so lucky with the weather during our trip – sunshine and blue skies – perfect!
After a relaxing start, we embarked on our foodie tour of Normandy – including cheese and cider tasting whilst visiting some beautiful locations. I absolutely loved visiting the apple orchard (blossom heaven!) and tasting all the apple juices whilst the others sipped on various forms of cider. It was lovely seeing more of the French countryside as we drove to each destination; and fun hearing lots of facts from our tour guide!
Once back at the Chateau and after a quick change, we cycled down to Port-En-Bessin as the sun set – truly one of those extraordinary experiences – and enjoyed a dinner of fish and chips, before hurriedly cycling back ‘home’ before dark! I then had the dreamiest shower ever in my marble bathroom, and washed my hair using the NUXE products provided – fancy! – before heading to bed.
Awoken by the songs of birds and the crisp country air, I had breakfast delivered to my room and enjoyed my last moments in Château La Chenèviere before jumping aboard a train and heading back to Paris for our final day. I absolutely didn’t want to leave and absolutely must return – it was such a wonderful way to experience the French countryside and, I think I prefer it to the city! I’ve already recommended it to my Sister and her fiancé for their honeymoon, and I also learnt that it’s dog friendly, too! I think Rupert being the country gent he is would fit right in!
So, off back to Paris we went for an amazing final day – see you there!
To see more of the trip; watch my vlog!