The pictures of Le Manoir des Labbes were enticing but could not have prepared us for the truly magical experience of staying there.
I shall always remember turning off the sealed road from Rouen, and going past a field of sunflowers before entering the twin pillared gates
to reveal this magnificent country manor house.
It felt like entering the dream of every French movie we had seen which was set in the countryside but was unattainable to a tourist coming to France.
Boxes of pink geraniums framed the many shutters of the three story, five bedroom nineteenth century home that was to be ours for a week.
Stepping inside we could barely contain our excitement as we began to explore the splendour within its walls.
To our left an opulent but intimate sitting room exquisitely appointed, and to our right a dining room fit for a King.
Stunning antiques, luxurious drapes, enchanting carefully chosen objets and a dash of fun, flair and imagination at every turn.
Climbing the magnificent wooden staircase took us to the bedrooms which continued to fuel our sense of enchantment with their individually themed decor.
It was obvious that this home had been lovingly restored with passion and designer credentials whilst retaining a warmth that we knew would allow us to relax completely.
The fully equipped country kitchen was a joy to behold, and most days we would return home laden with produce from the markets of nearby Bourg Achard
ready to test out our culinary ambitions.
During the day we often dined al fresco in the park like garden beneath tall trees and gazed to the farms beyond contemplating our next excursion
when really we mostly just wanted to stay put in our own petite French chateaux.
Lazy days around the pool and entertaining friends in the large pool house was so relaxing and each day merged effortlessly into another.
Some in our party quite rightly encouraged us to set off to visit Omaha Beach and the very moving D Day landing sites.
We also spent a day in the Medieval town of Honfleur and savoured superb seafood and local wines.
On another day we drove to the legendary site of Mont Saint Michel in Brittany, and also wished we had made time to visit the famous Bayeux Tapestry.
Rouen also spoilt us with spectacular produce markets, Michelin starred restaurants, and so much history and art that is not to be missed.
France deservedly receives millions of visitors each year, but staying at Le Manoir you leave all of them behind.
It offers a rare opportunity to relax in a Magnificent country house and rural setting which truly delivers
The dream od French noble houses.