Saturday, April 24, 2010

Le Perche

I know this blog is about New York in all its glory and splendor, but I have just discovered such a special place in Normandy, I have to share.

The area of Le Perche lies only 2 hours from Paris in Lower Normandy, not far from Chartres. It is an area that not even alot of Parisians - or Normans for that matter - know about. Great for travelers who hate the tourist buses and lines of Asians taking photos of everything. Apart from the fact that it is a series of ancient villages and manoirs in an area declared a 'Parc Naturel', another reason I wanted to go there is because it is home to the noble Percheron horse.

The countryside is stunning. I was there a little early to see all the oaks and beech trees in full leaf, but I saw plenty of blossom in gently undulating fields, with cattle and sheep grazing in bright green pastures;

acres of rapeseed;

rambling laneways with mossy stone walls;

wonderful, steeply pitched old tiled roofs;

and Rimpelstiltskin stone turrets on old chateaus.

After much research, I happened upon a divine little inn to stay at called Villa Fol Avril. It is located in the beautiful town of Moutiers-au-Perche and has been renovated without losing the original building's quintessential charm. They have a fantastic restaurant there - brilliant if you don't have a car - and the owners go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

I had room #8 in the attic. This is the view I had out one window, over the famous Le Perche roofs:

And this is out the other.

There is a beautiful huge garden to read a book in when you are sick of exploring,

and the owner breeds Percherons! This is Universe, a naughty 2 year old stallion who will one day turn grey.

The region is an idyllic place for those who prefer to be wakened by birds rather than sirens, and love to walk and cycle through undeveloped countryside. The fact it is so close to Paris makes it easy for a weekend trip and you come back feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I will definitely be returning.

No comments: