In a picture perfect Normandy hamlet Margaux and David created their Hideaway. A place where they could realize their ideals: as much self-sufficient as possible, a slowlife way of living, enough land to keep horses, and lots of outdoor possibilities. They share this lovely lifestyle by renting out 4 beautiful and spacious guestrooms. A perfect base to explore the Normandy of the impressionist painters.
Margaux, a journalist from Paris, had a dream that one day she would live in the Vexin, northwest of France, in Normandy. When she was young, she had visited this region often to indulge in her favourite pastime, horseback riding. Some three years ago her dream became reality when she and her partner David acquired an old farm in the tiny hamlet of Saint Denis le Ferment. This is where they created a place that perfectly suited their ideals: somewhere that was highly self-sufficient and in keeping with their slow life lifestyle, with room for their horses and perfect for a life outdoors…et voilà, a new Hideaway was born.
When I visit Margaux and David it is the end of August, and the weather has finally turned after a long hot spell. It’s a welcome change actually, for it allows us to tour and explore the stunning environment instead of lazing about in their enormous garden. Which is also nice, of course, especially as the garden is truly beautiful and has lots of lovely places to relax….and, cherry on top, La Levriere river runs straight through it, for a refreshing dive during the summer season.
This Hideaway has 4 rooms (sleeping 2 to 4 guests), all different in style but each as spacious and airy as the next one. Of course, the basic essentials are covered perfectly: comfortable bed and lovely bathroom with organic toiletries. In the mornings, a sumptuous breakfast consisting of a variety of local products is served in the garden (weather allowing) or in the cosy common room. If so desired, room service is also available. A lovely dinner is served on request, prepared with all sorts of fresh produce from the kitchen garden….David’s showpiece where he spends most of his time experimenting and taking care of all the goods.
The garden is also starting point of a vast hiking network, 14 miles long – La Reine Blanche – which passes by countryside, forests and picturesque villages. A long-distance bicycle trail also runs along the house. And this Hideaway is a dream for horse lovers as well, Margeaux knows where to go!
And as for the surroundings….it’s as if you’ve entered the time of the great impressionists; the word picturesque immediately comes to mind. Sloping hills with clouds that constantly change colour. Tiny hamlets with sturdy medieval houses, a myriad of colourful roses climbing the walls. It is only natural that some of the ‘most beautiful villages of France’ – and this is an official list – are to be found in the vicinity of this Hideaway. This makes Lyons la Forêt, for example, a popular weekend destination for Parisian dandies, as it is only half an hour’s drive away from the French capital. By the way, Gerberoy, a bit further off, is my favourite village! Foodies will love the surroundings here as well, restaurants by the dozen, ranging from traditional to contemporary – but all located a bit further away, which makes having a car essential.
Margaux and David’s farm truly is an extraordinary Hideaway! Tucked away in an amazing and authentic part of Normandy, surrounded by stunning nature. A perfect escape for any season!
St. Denis le Ferment, Normandy – France