Cottage in Mortree, Orne, Normandy - Ideal Country Retreat in France
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About John STIVEN
We are a British couple who first moved to Paris in 1976 with our work, enjoying eight years there in teaching and human resources roles. We fell in love with France, and spent much of our free time playing sport and making the most of living in the fantastic city of Paris, and France generally. Our daughter was born in Paris and as a family we returned to the UK in 1984. Since then, we have spent a lot of time back in France, having bought an old farmhouse in 1979, spending many weekends and holidays renovating this derelict acquisition. In 1989, we acquired a dilapidated barn in the adjoining field to our home, and have been renting it out all the year round since 2006. We know how important it is to be comfortable. We have endeavoured to provide quality, comfort and style.
Why John STIVEN chose La Bellière
We were attracted to the Orne area by its rural environment and tranquillity. Family and friends were puzzled by our enthusiasm for our home there, until they visited when they became total converts and understood completely our fascination for the area. Why do we like it so much? It is very private and quiet; we have helpful but unobtrusive neighbours within 400 metres who have applauded our hard work; the village, which has no shops, is sparsely populated (about ten houses). However, within about eight kilometres, there are towns with markets, restaurants, shops, riding stables, chateaux. Also,the Normandy beaches are about an hour away by car, and Paris is about 2 hours by train. It is easy to reach the cottage from coastal ports, airports and stations.
What makes this Cottage unique
The garden (a field, in truth) has ample space for children and adults to play and relax, with very little passing traffic other than the odd tractor and horses in the nearby lane. Comments made by our visitors – some of whom have returned 2 or 3 times, include: What a wonderful location, far from the crowd and quiet enough to hear yourself think. Had a fantastic time in this gorgeous cottage – visited the chateaux and local markets and chilled – will definitely return again. We have all enjoyed our week here. The children love playing in the garden, we love the wonderful birdsong and fire in the evening. The local area is beautiful to walk around. A delightful and very comfortable gite in a tranquil setting, with a huge range of fascinating places to visit within easy reach.
100% refund for cancellations more than 30 days before check-in date. 50% refund for cancellations more than 14 days before check-in date.
Everything was perfect and we have never been to such a well equipped holiday home. The area was so tranquil and we took advantage of the location to visit the Chateau de Sassy, The castle st Falaise - brilliantly depicted , the landing beaches, Bagnoles sur l'Orne (somewhat disappointing), and of course we had the opportunity to watch the Lionesses in action at Le Havre in their match against Argentina. Thank you John and Helen and also the delightful M and MmeCuvelier for all your help!
Very nice countryside location, with only birds, crickets and cows to break the silence
Loved it !
Wish we could live there !
Amazing stay, higly recommended
It was such a breath of fresh air to stay in this cottage! It was the 5 of us, in two cars, thorougly took advantage of the area, from going for a wonder around the country lanes and feeding the ducks to taking the car for a spin to the nearby villages and towns, exploring the nearby culture and adjusting to the french way of living very easily.
Thank you very much for your kind words, and we are pleased you enjoyed your stay. We hope to see you in the future.
John & Helen
A comfortable well-equipped gite with a large garden in a tranquil rural location
We enjoyed our stay and thought this area of Normandy was interesting. Transport is easy because the roads are good and there is little traffic. I would recommend the parc animalier "les ecoutes" near Sees especially for small children. You can stroke and feed a number of the animals. The Argentan market on a Tuesday is OK but quite small. There is also a bric-a-brac market on a Sunday which is quite interesting. William the Conqueror's castle at Falaise is worth a visit but the displays are a bit interactive you take a tablet round with you. Les Baignolles and Ferte Mace are nice small towns to stroll round.
With regard to the gite it is very well-equipped with a washing machine and dishwasher, 2 showers and 2 toilets. Sheets and towels are provided. The garden is great and safe for small children. The only things I would point out are:-
- it was generally quite clean but there were some cobwebs and it was a bit dusty
- the stairgate is useful but it is coming loose from its fixings and almost came off the wall a couple of times
- we could not get the DVD player to work. The open button did not open the machine so you could not insert a DVD. I am sure this can be easily fixed.
Overall I would recommend the gite.
Relax in the countryside
Had a very peaceful and relaxing time at this well-equipped cottage deep in the Normandy countryside. Large terrace and garden mostly laid to grass.
Thank you for your kind words we are pleased you enjoyed your stay.
Helen & John
The cottage is approximately 1 hour by car from Ouistreham/Caen and its beaches, plus the museums and monuments to the Normandy landings. Miles of beautiful hard sand and calm seas make it ideal for children, the beach is supervised by lifeguards, and there are many entertainments, including crazy golf, horseriding, windsailing, cafes etc.
Paris can be reached in 2 hours by train from Argentan, or the same by car. The nearest channel port is Ouistreham - 1 hour from the cottage (a 6-hour crossing from Portsmouth), alternatively there is Cherbourg, Le Havre (about 2.5 hours), or Calais/Boulogne (3.5 hrs.), all of which are shorter crossings. Road access is easy with the N.158, and newly developed motorways (A28 & A88) can be accessed about 10 kilometres away.
The nearest town is Mortree, about 8 kilometres away, which has small shops including tabac, boulangeries, butcher, small supermarket, church etc. The larger towns of Argentan and Sees offer a wide range of shops, supermarkets, cafes etc. plus impressive monuments and churches. Thriving markets are held each week in both of these larger towns, and Mortree has a small Sunday morning market, all offering a wide range of local produce including cheese, honey, vegetables, meats, fish etc.
Around the area, there are countless magnificant chateaux, including Sassy (3 kilometres) which has the largest private library in France, turreted Carrouges which frequently hosts music and food festivals, Medavy - the list can go on.... Antique shops and "brocantes" abound if you like to browse for bargains.
There are many and varied restaurants in the area, from simple cafes and bars, to more gastronomic spots.
Horse breeding is one of the most popular occupations in this region, and horse riding is available locally at very reasonable prices, for beginners to experienced riders. Horse trotting is a local popular sport, with hippodromes in the nearby town of Argentan, and the National stud of Haras du Pin is only 15 kilometres away, with a magnificant horse museum and breeding facility. There is a swimming pool in Argentan, plus boating lake in the nearby spa town of Bagnoles de l'Orne which also has a nine hole golf course. There are tennis facilities in nearby Sees, and a leisure lake (plan d'eau) at Ferte Mace (c.20 kilometres). This is also good cycling country, and bikes can be hired from Argentan station. Visits to the famous cheese-making areas of Camembert, Liverot, Pont L'Eveque are popular, and local produce includes cider and calvados - anything to do with apples!
Helpful Tourist Board offices are available in Sees and Argentan.
There are banks and cash machines in all the nearby towns.