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“Remote but Charming”
Review of Chateau de Vouilly

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Chateau de Vouilly
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vouilly
Reviewed 6 November 2013

A lovely experience with a fascinating bit of history, the Chateau Vouilly is, as others have noted, hard to find the first time after quite a pleasant drive through small french country towns. You will not be going here unless you have a car and are comfortable navigating with a map or GPS. There are only 4 rooms available for guests at the chateau as the rest of them are occupied by extended family. It is quite nice to see young children playing with kittens outside as you approach. Part of the land is a working dairy farm run by James' son but the Chateau and Orangerie are quiet and attractive. The Hamels provide access to a refrigerator and you should bring drinks and snacks if you anticipate wanting them as there is no place less than 15-20 minutes away to buy anything. Breakfast is lovely, including croissants, bread, jams, yogurt, cheese and coffee and is served in the dining room which was used by the war reporters during the D-Day invasions. The room is filled with memorabilia of that time and a portrait of the owner's grandmother who, James explained, was the one who invited the press corps to stay there. The gardens in the Orangerie were a mass of tents to house many of them. James explained that his grandmother had told him that the German's did come by to assess the chateau's usability for German troops but she made sure to tour them through the house in the most inconvenient way possible and they decided to bypass it.
The Orangerie Suite is quite large and would work well for a family as the main room has a queen sized bed, fireplace and table and there are two additional rooms off of the large center room, each with a smaller bed. There is one bathroom with a sink, toilet and gracious tub but as four adults we ended up asking James to rent us an additional room, which he was happy to do. As it was, the Orangerie Suite was much too large for just two people but the other rooms were occupied so we rattled around in it.
If your plan is to spend all day touring the Normandy coast, this is a peaceful place to return to although that would only be for sleep. Dinner requires a return drive to town (Grandcamp Maisy) and requires all eyes to stay on course while driving in the dark! That said, James is able to recommend some nice restaurants and we had two lovely dinners. I think one night would have been enough here but our itinerary worked best to have two. We did not have the pleasure of meeting Marie as she was away but James was warm, gracious and knowledgable (I do speak french however.)

Room Tip: Do not select the Orangerie Suite (the view is lovely) unless you truly are comfortable living close...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Patti C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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28 - 34 of 58 reviews

Reviewed 5 June 2013

We drove from Paris to the Chateau de Vouilly in a rented car with GPS. It was challenging to find the Chateau...yes, even with the GPS! Luckily, I had printed out the directions from the chateau's website and we managed to find it in the end...with the help of the GPS and the website's directions.

We have never stayed in a Chateau before and we were looking forward to it! Also, the fact that the breakfast room used to be the Press Room of US 1st Army Correspondents during WWII was a BIG plus point too...especially when my husband is a WWII military history buff.

The other charming part of the Chateau is its owner, James. Although he does not speak much English, he was very attentive and tried to answer all our questions. When we had trouble connecting to the Internet (which my husband needed for his work), James invited us into his office to try connecting. Well, we did not manage to connect in the end. He had offered an internet cable for us to plug in but alas, we were using a MAC book and there was no such port available. Nevertheless, we were still very pleased with the stay at the Chateau. It is one of the best memories of our trip.

The Chateau is near to the D-day sites (Omaha Beach, Bayeux, Pointe Du Hoc etc.). Hence, it is a great choice for a traveller who wants to visit the D-day sites. For anybody staying in the Chateau, I would also greatly recommend him to visit the restaurant "La Maree" for lunch / dinner. This restaurant is located in a nearby town "Grandchamp Maisy" and is recommended by James. We went for 2 meals (lunch & dinner) and both were very satisfying! For better deals, go for the lunch!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Waisan3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2013

Located in the quiet town of Vouilly, we were not quite sure what to expect on our arrival at the Chateau de Vouilly. We were all excited (and relieved) as we drove up to the chateau. The grounds are kept beautifully and great for a walk. We were luck enough to join the owner, James, and his three dogs for a walk around the property that evening!
James and his family are incredibly kind and welcoming. They are careful to check in with you each morning at breakfast and are happy to provide you with any information you may need. It does help if you can speak some French but James is incredibly patient and helpful either way!
The bedrooms are very clean and comfortable. Breakfast is great: fresh croissants, breads, jams, cheese, yogurt, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
It is very special to stay in the place that functioned as the Allied Press' first Press room following the Normandy invasions. It adds a special, personal touch to the already extremely historical and poignant area. Highly recommend a stay!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank torijane925
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2013

We were 3 couples traveling together and visiting the beaches of Normandy and we are all in agreement that staying at Chateau de Vouilly was definitely one of the true highlights of our trip! The Hamel's were very welcoming and gracious hosts, eager to share the history of their home and the area. Make no mistake that this lovely place is old, however, the rooms are very clean and comfortable and each has a private bath. Upon our arrival, James was on the lawnmower on the grounds and Marie was tending the flowers in the beautiful formal garden. Marie speaks little English, but managed well in greeting us and showing us around. In a dresser in the hallway, she keeps extra converters, hair dryers, and a corkscrew. In this wonderful step back in time, we had all we needed! The lovely breakfast consisted of breads, cheeses, jams, fresh yogurt from an area dairy, juice and coffee. James was on hand in the mornings to visit, answer questions, and share history. It's hard to convey how momentous it felt to be at breakfast looking at pictures of the busy Allied press room and realizing we were sitting at that very place. Thank you to the Hamel's for sharing this very special place.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Carmen1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2012

The most moving, and arguably the most memorable, moments of a month-long trip to France last September occurred in and around Mr. and Mrs. James Hamel's magnificent Chateau Vouilly and farm. Site of the first press room following the D-Day Landings in June 1944, and briefly invasion commander Gen. Omar Bradley's residence at that time, the Hamels embody the spirit of generous-hearted French citizens who have welcomed Americans to France since Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. In short, in the three days were were privileged to stay in their home as B&B guests, we came to greatly like and admire them, their family, their passion for their ancient and historical home, and their beautiful part of Normandy. Our room was perfectly adequate, though we lusted after the famous "Orangerie Suite" across the hall, and we were very comfortable. Breakfasts in the B&B dining room-press room museum were delightful, made even more so by James's prompt appearance to see to our comfort, share tips to help us get the most of our day, and offer any assistance we needed. We marveled at the furnishings, the moat, the farm, James's son's lovely family, incomparable roses in a magnificent garden, and a constant sense of stepping in and out of the 1940s/2012...enhanced by the occasional appearance of a Belgian military staff car from World War II driving around the property. We were humbled and awed by what we learned from our DDay professional guide, who was recommended by James, but also felt the ghosts of history who stayed under the same roof we did during one of the most momentous events in civilization's history. The price was incredibly reasonable for our nice room, great breakfasts, and personal care and service from the Hamel family -- we hope to visit again, believing that when we arrive James and his lovely wife will be waiting for us, as they did on our inaugural visit, and we will embrace as old friends. What a gift it was to stay at Chateau Vouilly!

Room Tip: As for the rooms facing the magnificent back garden view ... they are elegant, huge, and have luxuri...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Patricia W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2012

My wife and I spent three nights at the Chateau de Vouiilly in September and used it as our base to visit the D-Day beaches. The chateau and surrounding farm exude history with some portions dating back to the 10th century. James and his family are marvelous and accommodating hosts and he has a cornucopia of books, maps and information in several languages (including English).
If you're traveling without GPS, follow James' website directions to arrive since few people in the surrounding area seem to know how to get to Vouilly. Alternatively, it's a beautiful countryside in which to be lost.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Steven S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2012

We spent 2 nights in the magic Orangerie suite, 3 rooms with wonderful views.
The chateau, the gardens, the nearby pond, and the farm all offer unforgettable experiences and our family enjoyed every moment.
We were having breakfast in the very same room where the press reports were typed during D-day…a very significant detail for my history studying son. James is very knowledgeable and shared with us some historical instances which will make our trip even more memorable…It is a very good location to visit Bayeux, D-day beaches, and all the small coast villages.
Thank you Marie Jo and James for making us feeling as welcomed guests in your wonderful chateau.

Room Tip: The Orangerie suite for a family of 4 is ideal
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank momtripToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chateau de Vouilly

Address: 14230 Vouilly, France
Region: France > Normandy > Basse-Normandie > Calvados > Vouilly
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vouilly
Price Range: £104 - £107 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Chateau De Vouilly Normandy, France

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