Sleeps 5/6, 3 Bedrooms. Comfortable cottage with high ceilings, oak beams and an enormous old fireplace and a beautiful barn facing the front door. The view from the back door is across the fields to the historic moated and Michelin-starred Chateau of Carrouges. The cottage has been in the family as a second home for 42 years, with many pictures on the wall by the artist owner and friends. Ideal for children with enclosed south-facing rustic lawn to the rear, a tiny field for safe camping beside the courtyard and a beautiful old barn with table tennis between the cottage and quiet country road. The house is situated in a small hamlet, five minutes drive (10 minutes by bike) to market town of Carrouges, where there is one baker, one butcher, a small well-stocked supermarket, an award-winning delicatessen selling excellent home-made meals and several other useful shops. The cottage has central heating (electric) as well as the log fire and is well equipped. Also WIFI/internet access.
Large comfortable cottage in the rural 'Three Forest' Area of Lower Normandy
- english, french, german, italian
- Calendar last updated:
- Nov 6, 2018
About Penelope Matheson
Returning to London after 3 years working in Paris 41 years ago, my francophile husband expected to suffer such withdrawal symptoms that he bought a cottage in Normandy within easy reach of a number of ferries. For 20 years, Barn Cottage in Carrouges was our main holiday destination as our 3 girls grew up. We live in London and loved the contrast of going to somewhere completely and old-fashioned rural where there were masses of birds in our trees and butterflies on our ox-eye daisies. As an artist, I have painted every part of the house and the surrounding countryside from every angle. With the children grown up, we have - slightly heart in mouth - embarked on letting the house to people we haven't met and hope they will enjoy being there as much as we and many of our friends have.
Penelope Matheson purchased this Cottage in 1975
Why Penelope Matheson chose Carrouges
We love the area because, with its small fields, tall hedges, orchards and quiet forests, it could be the setting for a Hardy novel (in fact it was used as a location for Tess of the D'Ubervilles some years ago). We like the fact that, while the large out-of-town supermarkets are amazing, most small towns still have a good baker with delicious cakes as well as French bread and croissants, excellent butchers and local fruit and vegetables at the weekly markets. We love the views and, although of course we have succumbed to WiFi and boxed sets there, we find we relax in the green countryside in a way which we cannot do anywhere else. And even after 36 years, we still find interesting places to visit and explore within easy driving distance.
What makes this Cottage unique
Our cottage has a few things that special to it, such as: 1. Our large barn across the drive where the children can safely play if the weather isn't fabulous (and this includes table tennis). This same barn stands between us and the small road up to the town so convenient but no traffic noise. 2. The wonderful view across the fields to the very pretty Michelin-starred Chateau de Carrouges. 3. The size of the rooms which, for a cottage, are sizeable. 4. It has a lot of orignal pictures on the walls.
Check-in: 10:00 AM
Check-out: 2:00 PM
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Could be lovely
Others have really liked this place, but I am afraid we were a bit disappointed. Damp musty smell on arrival, tired utensils and too much clutter in the kitchen which could easily be sorted out.
On the plus side, nice bedrooms with comfy beds, and plenty to do and see in the surrounding area.
A relaxing, rural retreat
Barn Cottage is a great place to unwind and slow the pace a little.
Its situation is very private with two secluded garden areas, and a beautiful view across fields to the nearby chateau. The cottage is well equipped and maintained, with a lot of rustic charm. The upstairs bedrooms were light and airy. Loved the availability of table tennis and bikes.
I would certainly recommend this property, although the addition of a washing machine would be useful for families with young children. It is also worth flagging up that there is a short, but very steep descent to the lane leading to the house.
Dear Karen, Thank you so much for writing your review. I am so glad that you found it so relaxing. I know that the lack of a washing machine is a bit of a nuisance but to be honest, given that our rent is still on the low side, we have balked at the cost of buying and installing one. Perhaps the fact that we don't have one is the reason that we have had suprisingly few bookings for families with small children! But we will bear your comment in mind.
Thank you again for taking the trouble. Best regards Penny Matheson
Peaceful, spacious and perfectly located
The cottage is rustic, spacious, welcoming and well equipped, sleeping our family of 6 very comfortably. It is situated in it's own courtyard, along a short private drive and next to a very quiet rural road in a hamlet on the edge of Carrouges. It feels very private, calm and quiet. The house has it's own large garden, gravel courtyard and barn which has been set up as a play area with table tennis and swing. The neighbours are friendly, helpful but completely unobtrusive. The cottage has been welcoming visitors for several decades, as the bulging visitors book will quickly testify. It was quite obvious that many of the visitors had been many times, and that tells you most of what you need to know about the place. We were also furnished with a reassuringly comprehensive set of instructions from the owners.
Carrouges itself is in the Normandie-Maine Regional Natural Park and there is so much to see and do in the immediate area, beautiful walks, places of interest, villages and towns, churches and cathedrals, good food, lakes (and lake beaches for the children where they can swim, paddle and play in the sand). The beaches of the Normandy coast and Mont St. Michel are only 90 minutes away too. Although we didn't go with bikes, I imagine that it would be an almost perfect spot for a biking holiday. The roads are blissfully quiet and well-maintained!
The house is surrounded by wooded farmland (bocages), with beautiful views across fields and over to wooded hills. It is situated about 1.2km from the centre of the town. There is a local supermarket, shops, baker, butcher and weekly market as well as other amenities. On the edge of Carrouges is the main tourism office for the whole of the regional park, so you will not run out of ideas if you want things to do. The house is less than half a kilometre from the Chateau de Carrouges where you can visit the beautiful grounds free of charge (there is also a tour of the chateau available, free for children and very inexpensive for adults).
In summary, the cottage offers a very versatile base for holiday in a beautiful part of lower Normandy. If you just want rest, quiet, peace and space it is perfect. If you want to walk or cycle it is also well situated. There is also enough to do to keep you interested if you want places to visit and things to do with the kids.
I would highly recommend it!
Beautiful cottage in quiet countryside
The cottage was lovely and was clean and tidy throughout. It is much bigger than it appears in the photo's and there was plenty of room for the five of us to eat, sleep and relax. The kitchen was fitted out with everything we needed to prepare our meals.The garden was very pretty and full of flowers and butterflies.
The Butcher, Bakery and Supermarket in Carrouges were great for basics but we had to drive to Ferte-Mace a couple of times to do a "big shop".
The lake and beach at Ferte-Mace kept us entertained with swimming and Go-karts for the whole family.
The Velorail at nearby Bagnoles de l'orne is great fun for anyone looking for a bit of exercise in forest surroundings.
Penny (The owner) gave really good directions and a detailed explanation of how everything worked and where things were.
I would definitely recommend the cottage (and have already done so) to friends and family.
Cosy, relaxing holiday in peaceful countryside
Lovely homely cottage with beautiful view of fields and Chateau. Plenty of space, well equipped comfy home, very private and utterly peaceful. Penny was so helpful with her instructions and providing so much information on things to do and see. This is an excellent area for cycling and walking, hardly any traffic on the roads and lots of little villages to discover. Walking into the village each morning for fresh bread and croissants started each day off brilliantly. Wifi connection was excellent for teenager. Beds were really comfortable. We played table tennis in the barn a few times in the early evenings. We really enjoyed this laid back holiday and would recommend it to anyone wanting a simple relaxing holiday
The Good Life.......
Penny, the owner was most helpful from the start with her advice and guidance, as a family of 5 we had not been on holiday in France before but wanted a place to go away from the UK which didn't involve airports and which we could drive to comfortably; Normandy seemed ideal. And we were so pleased with Barn Cottage, what a delight, a previous reviewer described it as being like Britain 40 years ago and that is just how tranquil it is. We were blessed with perfect summer weather and our favourite part was relaxing in the garden in the peace of the French countryside. The air was so clean and the sky at night like black velvet. The only occasional sounds being from a small menagerie of farm animals nearby which was quite charming...we used our own bicycles and two of the owner's to ride around the nearby safe country lanes, our boys (10 & 13) enjoyed playing table tennis in the barn and we had many family tournaments! The cottage has wi-fi which worked really well and our 19 year old daughter was able to keep in touch with her friends so that was an added bonus! Would recommend to anyone seeking calm & relaxation and we will be back again!
There is a freshwater bathing lake 15 minutes drive away at Ferte Mace with a beach, wind-surfing, mini golf and go karts. With 2 new motorways about 20 miles away, such seaside towns as Honfleur, Deauville and Granville are within quite easy reach. There are outdoor swimming pools at Ferte Mace, Argentan and Bagnoles.
Use of car essential. Carrouges is just over an hour’s drive due south from Caen and two hours from Cherbourg (both served by Britanny Ferries) and 4-5 hours motorway drive from the Channel Tunnel and Boulogne. There is also now a rapid crossing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and possibly Newhaven/Dieppe (about 3 hours drive away). For visitors, there is a good fast train service from Paris to Argentan (just under 2 hours).
The attractive spa town of Bagnoles with nice shops, lake, pedaloes, a 9-hole golf course, also mini golf and casino and surrounding forests is about 12 miles away, the city of Alencon and the National Stud at Haras du Pin about 15 miles and Mont St Michel just over 2 hours' drive away. Carrouges which has a baker, a bank, post office, 3 restaurants, a butcher with a delicatessen and a delicatessen with a butcher counter is just up the hill from our cottage.
The area, which is very rural and wooded, has many quiet roads and woodlands tracks and is ideal for walking, cycling and riding. Apart from the Grade 1 moated Chateau of Carrouges, 15 minutes walk from our house, there are a number of beautiful stately homes and gardens within very easy visiting distance by car. An hour or two drive away there is Bayeux and its tapestry and the 2nd world war museums and sites at Arromanches and Caen. The nearest large towns are Argentan and Alencon (20-30 minutes drive away). Alencon has excellent dress, shoe and gift shops as well as a large hypermarket. Both have leisure centres with indoor swimming pools. All the towns, including Carrouges, have good weekly food markets and reasonably-priced restaurants. There is a hypermarket at Ferte Mace, 9 miles away.
Booking Notes: Rate includes electricity, gas, logs and bedlinen. Please contact us to make a provisional booking. Non-refundable deposit of £75 required on booking. Balance due 6 weeks before start of holiday as well as £100 security deposit (for breakages/damage/extra cleaning) which is refundable 2 weeks after your holiday. Changeover Day: Changeover day: Saturday. Departure 10am, arrival 2pm.