Travel

Erica’s Weekend away from Paris: a Country Cottage in Normandy

by Erica Berman
montage French country cottage Bed & door detail NewMy French Country Cottage in Normandy – Photos Erica Berman

It can be hard to get Parisians out of Paris for a weekend. We think we want to go somewhere, but when push comes to shove it just seems so complicated that we prefer an apéro, a resto, or a leisurely dinner with friends. We save our energy for big trips to exotic and far away places. Also, being snobs, we think that anything close to Paris won’t be interesting or worth the hassle of the drive.

French Country Home Normandy BikesBikes by Sharon’s French Country Home

This weekend I managed to make an exception to this rule. The lure of a French cottage in Normandy, a walk in the forest and a few early morning flea markets was calling me since Sharon, the cottage owner, promised all of this at less than an hour’s drive from the center of Paris. Could it be true?

Normandy-Main-House-France
Sharon’s French Country home

Tip 1. Never rent a car that you need to pick up on a Saturday afternoon in August at Gare du Nord. We waited over an hour in a long line to get the rental.

Tip 2: Never try to drive out of Paris on a Saturday afternoon from Gare du Nord – bumper-to-bumper traffic and over an hour just to get to the highway.

Typically Parisian and true to form, we  complained until (two and a half hours after leaving home) we were finally on the highway. Once ON the highway we were in Normandy in a jiffy. It was truly less than an hour!

Welcomed by Sharon and Eric with tea and friendly chatter (she is from the UK and he is French) we were thrilled we persevered despite the obstacles we encountered! A chipper jaunt in the leafy woods cheered us up after our traumatic car rental experience.

The darling cottage, located across the yard from the main French Country home, was decorated by Sharon with a sprinkle of antiques and flea market finds along with comfy beds and couches. The property included stables for two horses, the rental cottage, the gorgeous main house, a large lawn for lounging,  a patio for outdoor dining, and a potager (a herb and vegetable garden) that Sharon’s son (one of her 4 children) tends.

After a fab dinner, we were off to bed to awaken before the crack of dawn and head off to three different flea markets in surrounding villages.

Flowers-French-cottage-Normandy-NEWFlowers in my cottage

Below are some of my brocante finds!

Pastis at flea market

Flea Market Brocante -Normandy NEWBrocante (little antique shop) in Normandy
Flea Market Normandy patternsOld French Magazines
Normandy-Flea-Market-tableware NEWAmazingly cheap French porcelaine that I should have bought

Would we do it again? In a heartbeat!

Would we stay longer? Of course!

Would we attempt the drive out of Paris again on a Saturday afternoon? Not a chance.

Normandy Vernon Maison sur le Pont. jpgHouse on the bridge in Vernon (Normandy)

Where do you go to escape your daily grind?  Inquiring minds want to hear about your favorite weekend getaways!

Relates links:

Written by Erica Berman for the Hip Paris Blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in.

Written By

Erica Berman

Erica Berman grew up in Lexington, Mass. After graduating from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Journalism and an intensive summer at Middlebury College (Vermont), Erica came to Paris with hopes of submerging herself in French culture and perfecting her French -- and she stayed 20 years. Erica is the founder of Haven In and HiP Paris Blog. She now splits her time between Paris (Montmartre), Maine (Midcoast), and Italy (Genova). In her all-too-rare free time, Erica likes to travel off the beaten track, explore Paris, read, take photos, cook, ski, hike and enjoy long Sunday brunches with her friends. View Erica Berman's Website

13 comments on “Erica’s Weekend away from Paris: a Country Cottage in Normandy

frenchgardenhouse

Heavenly! Absolutely best vacation stay, even just reading about it is wonderful. xo Lidy

sharon -My French Country Home

Hi Erica

Thank you for this lovely post about our cottage. It was a delight having you both to stay, I’m glad you chose a weekend with so many brocantes going on in the area.
You are both welcome back whenever you wish
Sharon

Hi Sharon. Thanks so much. We WILL be back! How was Maison Objet? And the blogger meet up? I was sorry to miss you! Erica

Oh wow. Normandy and Brittany are still on my must-do weekend getaways. And I think, with these photos (those wildflowers?? the brocante!), Normandy just trumped Brittany.

For better or worse, I usually head to the cities. I’ve loved Nantes and Lille, and, more of a haul, Biarritz is ace! xo

Tomorrow is the huge brocante de Lille… miles of flea market! I am considering. Ithink both Normandy and Brittany are great. Normandy just happens to be closer. -Erica

rebecca dyer szabo

exquisite photographs, as usual, erica
and i am very jealous of that weekend trip you took
maybe one day…

Well my dear, you know you are welcome anytime and then we can make a road trip. But before that… Italia! Baci – Erica

Candice at NotesFromABroad

Please pardon the over abundance of Happy Faces in my post ..

Candice at NotesFromABroad

I love this , I love the photos, I am sick of rain but perhaps if it were raining in Paris I would not mind so much 🙂
I loved the Le Petit Echo de la Mode 🙂

It looks like heaven…sorry about the Saturday afternoon getaway…that’s no fun, xv.
PS…yes to that gorgeous porcelain….

Sharon’s place is really lovely Vicki! I am bummed I did not buy the dishes. The set was really cheap. Argh, antique regret!

Hi Lindsey,
Yeah I loved it when you posted it and then was amazed when we stopped for lunch in Vernon!! Erica

You got the same shot of the house on the water I did! 🙂

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