We would like to spend a week in Normandy in a self catering cottage. While we will be visiting the D-Day beaches this will mostly be an exploring, by car, Normandy trip. Does anyone have a recommendation based on first or even second hand experience.
Have you used the VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owners) website? We were able to find a nice rental in Italy. The website will show pictures of the rental, give information about what is available with the rental and some reviews by people who have stayed there in the past.
Marie, Try Gites de France, accredited independently owned vacation rentals in the countryside. They have an English website.
We stayed at bandbnormandie.com a couple years ago, just outside a little town named Villers-Bocage, which is about 10 miles southeast of Bayeux. Odile and Jacques and their two sons have a delightful working farm and the breakfasts are to die for.... as is their freshly made Calvados from their own apples!! We (two of us) stayed in one of the very modern rooms in a centuries old farmhouse but they also have a completely modern self catering separate house that might be of interest if there are several of you or if you'd just rather do the self catering bit. The D Day beaches are about 10 miles or so from Bayeux. Mont St. Michel is about 90 minutes by four lane motorway from Villers-Bocage. All of the D Day beaches are an easy drive. Send me a private message if you have any more questions. WE really enjoyed shopping in the small Normandie towns, eating lunch, buying groceries, and stopping to buy cheeses and Calvados from small farms along the back roads.
Lets this post for Normandy France Cottages and specifically Villers Bocage...not to be confused with the neighboring village of Villy-Bocage (just a mile or so away)...anyone planning a trip to Normandy might find this handy, and doing a search for Normandy cottages or gites will pull this up. It is a great base area, convienient by short scenic drives to the coastal battlefields and Bayeux, yet in the middle of nowhere...and what a beautiful area it is. The town has every service you could possibly need, and was the site of the WW 2 battle of Villers-Bocage. We stayed 5 days at the La Ferme Du Pressoir (not band b normandy as mentioned in another post...that is their email)...its perhaps one half mile from town. I think it might be mentioned in Ricks guidebooks. Our stay in June of 2012 was just as nice as you could hope for, with everyone in town as friendly as anywhere you're ever been. The farm b and b itself is a rebuilt rock structure, dating from 1787 but completely up to date. The owners take great care to have wonderful breakfasts and spotless rooms. I would certainly go back. If you go in spring, the hills to the horizon will be a striking bright yellow, from the flowering grain. The Calvados distillery of Le Clos D'Orval should not be missed...perhaps the owner will show you his collection of antique trucks. The restaurants, even to the pizza shop, and bakeries are high quality and worth trying. Highlights of our trip were the owner of Le Clos D'Orval and the young teen aged son at the pizzeria...and his father, watching out of the corner of his to see if the Yankees liked his food...(we did), and Thank you again Odlie and La Ferme Du Pressoir