Having lived in Paris for 40 years we had been many times to Giverny but only on day-trips. We decided to treat ourselves to a tranquil weekend in this beautiful area.
We checked out the Giverny website but it was difficult to make up our minds. Since this was a last minute reservation most of the B&Bs were booked out. Due to a last-minute cancellation, we were able to book a room in « Au Bon Maréchal »
It was a real stroke of luck. « Au Bon Maréchal » is situated right in the centre of the village easy walking distance to the Impressionist Museum and Monet's House and Gardens. The old Hôtel Baudy is just a few steps away – try an ice-cream on their shady terrace or their attractively priced menu for dinner.
The « Au Bon Maréchal » was an old blacksmith's forge and has been in the family for generations. It was a bistro in Monet's time and the tradition of a warm welcome is kept alive by proprietors Marie-Claire and Michel Boscher.
The B&B is set in a large walled garden and complimentary secure parking is available for guests. The rooms (we were able to visit all three) are spotlessly clean and very well appointed – each has its own charm.
The largest room which is in a separate building was an old bakery and the oven is still there. There is a separate sitting room with flat-screen TV. A few steps take you down to the large bedroom and en-suite shower and WC. A French window opens to the garden........ and the swimming pool. The weather was very hot during our stay and it was great to have a dip in the 26°C water.
The other two rooms are situated on the first floor of the main building.
The blue room has a lovely view of the gardens. There is a sitting area and separate WC. The glass-enclosed shower and wash hand basin are in the room. A folding screen is provided in case you prefer more privacy in the shower. The room is light and airy and the king size bed is extremely comfortable.
The pink room has the same characteristics as the blue room but the shower is more private. It has the advantage of a small balcony equipped with a table and chairs. The balcony and the room are bathed in the morning sunshine and nicely shaded in the afternoon.
Complimentary Wifi is available in all rooms .
Breakfast is a convivial affair served in the old bistro with its typical zinc counter. Large jugs of orange juice are shared by the guests and there is plenty of baguette, plain and toasted, croissants, yoghurt and apple purée, lovely butter and a selection of jams and honey....... did I forget the cheese plate with the fantastic 'tomme de brebis' ?
Marie-Claire and Michel do not speak a lot of English but smiles and gestures ensure that communication is not a problem. If you are lucky enough to speak French, Michel has many a story to tell and takes time with you at breakfast. I asked him what was the story of one of the buildings in the garden (a lovely cottage – only for use of the family). Apparently is was the old laundry of his grandmother. She used to boil the clothes there and then take them down to rinse in the river Epte.
What a joy to stay overnight in Giverny......... when the tourists have left and the last tour-bus has returned to Paris. After dinner in Hotel Baudy, silence prevails in the village. We could see a million stars in the quiet gardens of the B&B.
We were so pleased with our accommodation that we stayed for a third night.
We were sorry to leave Marie-Claire and Michel. They made us feel like part of their family.
Shhh, don't tell anyone – Au Bon Maréchal is Giverny's best-kept secret.