This is one of those B&Bs that create the classic Tripadvisor dilemma: it’s an absolute gem so you want to tell everyone about it but at the same time, it’s so good that you want to keep it to yourself and be able to get a booking whenever you want to go. Selflessness wins out though, so let me tell you about my experience there.
I discovered it first on the internet a couple of years back when I had to sign some documents at a notaire in Mortain and wanted somewhere relatively close by to stay for the night. Since then, I’ve stayed a few times because my initial visit was such a great experience and Sourdeval, while not an obvious destination in Normandy of itself, makes a great base for day trips to Mont St Michel, the Bayeux Tapestry, the D-Day beaches or a weekend’s golf.
Let me start out by saying, this is not the place for you if you’re looking for the Anglo-Saxon experience in France. It isn’t run by an expat’ couple (not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, if that’s your preferred holidaying experience). Françoise and Hervé Boscher are Norman, through and through. They’re not fluent English speakers but can still hold a conversation with you and make sure that you’re welcomed and comfortable.
No eggs and bacon, corn flakes or pancakes for breakfast here but a communal dining table that heaves with multigrain baguettes, croissants, full-fat butter, fresh fruit, delicious home-made flans, juice, yoghurt, nuts, coffee, tea; all ingredients sourced locally and all organic! The dining room is dominated by a huge inglenook fireplace where, in the cooler months, you can make yourself feel toasty in front of the burning logs.
The accommodation comprises a double bedroom and a separate ‘loft’ that is like a small apartment with it’s own entrance.
The double bedroom has an en suite bathroom that includes an ‘Italian-style’ walk-in shower. The bed is huge and very comfortable. There are a couple of leather armchairs, beside a table with tea and coffee-making facilities. A built-in wardrobe has plenty of space to unpack the cases if you’re staying for a few days. A window overlooks the beautifully-maintained garden.
The loft, with its own entrance to the rear of the ‘manoir’, is designed in a open-plan way with two levels. Downstairs is a kitchenette with hotplates, a microwave, fridge and dishwasher. It's well stocked with saucepans, crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils. There’s a sitting room, a single bed (elegantly disguised as a sofa) and a loo with hand basin. Upstairs there’s another of those comfortable double beds, a second toilet, a sink and a shower. The loft is perfect for those planning a longer stay and want the ability to cook meals in the evening. (If you're staying a week or longer, they'll negotiate a lower rate with you too!) However, the accommodation prices include breakfast, whether you stay in the bedroom or the loft.
All of this is contained within the 15th century manor house with its thatched roof. The surrounding garden has lawn, established flower beds and plenty of places to sit and read. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, the Boschers will loan you a bicycle to explore the local ‘Voie Verte’ pathway. It’s a former railway line that’s been converted into a walking/cycling route that winds through the countryside. Equally, Françoise and Hervé are a mine of information about the history of the house, the local area or gardening, while more than happy to help you practice your French!
This isn't the cheapest B&B in Normandy but it is real value for money:
Bedroom : 70€ per night for two (60€ for single person)
Loft: 100€ for two and 20€ for an extra person. (Deals for a week or more)
Don't book the place out though. I still want to be able to stay there!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Manoir de Clerisson! Built in the 15th century, when England still laid claimed to this part of France during the 100 Years’ War, the thatched roof house has been lovingly restored with 21st century comforts. We have the top four ‘epis’ classification under the Gites de France rating system. We offer a double bedroom with en suite facilities and a separate loft that we have designed as a self-contained ‘apartment’ with its own kitchenette, lounge, bathroom and accommodation for three people. Whether you stay in the bedroom or the loft, breakfast is included in the nightly tariff . To help you start your days with a healthy, hearty breakfast, we offer you a range of French bread, croissants, home-made preserves and flans, as well as yoghurt, juice, fresh fruit, nuts and, of course, tea or coffee. We pride ourselves on using local producers and insist on organic products in everything we present to our guests. During winter months, we supplement the central heating with a big, open wood fire in the dining room. If you just want to relax, then sit in the garden. Or we’ll loan you bicycles to wander around the local scenery. One of the famous ‘voies vertes’ passes through Sourdeval and allows you to explore the countryside without being troubled by motor vehicles. If the car is your favoured means of transport though, we’re within an easy drive of all the main Norman attractions: Mont St Michel, the ‘D-Day’ beaches, the copperware of Villedieu-les-Poeles or the Bayeux Tapestry. If fishing (trout, salmon) or golf are your thing, those are both local too! Drop us an email to say when you would like to come and stay! ... more less