September 3, 2010
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.
Bikes 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?
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.
Below are some of my brocante finds!
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.
Where do you go to escape your daily grind? Inquiring minds want to hear about your favorite weekend getaways!
- How to rent Sharon’s Cottage & her fab French Country Home Blog
- Do you have the Brocante bug? Tongue in Cheek does!
- Eight Great Restos in Normandy from Gourmet
- Trip Advisor off the Beaten Path Normandy
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 never left. Erica is the founder and owner of Haven in Paris and the blog HiP Paris. She now splits her time between Paris (Montmartre), Maine (Damariscotta), Massachusetts (Lexington) 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.
Website: Erica Berman