One of the most wonderful things about our trips to France is the people we meet. We have just spent three excellent days in a bed and breakfast in le Calvados. The night we arrived we were tired, cold, and cranky, but Francoise and Herve were waiting for us with a fire blazing in a stone fireplace big enough to stand in. We felt like we had come home. As Francoise led us to our rooms up a winding staircase of uneven limestone steps, she cautioned us, “Be careful now. These stairs are from the 15th century.” Later over a glass of pear bubbly, we learned the story of their thirty-five year love affair with this incredible manor house that once belonged to a lord in the 1400’s.
They had moved into a crumbling estate as a young couple in the 1970’s with their two children, ages two and three, and a dream of transforming it into a home where life could be savored. With no conveniences like running water, they even had to wash their toddlers on the hearth with water heated in a large copper cauldron on the open fire.
Each day here we woke up to a copious breakfast complete with delights that Francoise had prepared for us—rice pudding, rhubarb and apple pie, custard, homemade jams, fresh squeezed orange juice, and café au lait served from a silver coffee pot. Fortified by the morning’s feast, we set out for the hunt for antiques to return at the end of the day to our hosts’ warm greeting and cozy fire. We even set up our laptops by the fire one night and worked until the wee hours of 3:00 a.m. After three days, we were sad to leave this special home but are certain we will see Francoise and Herve the next time we are in this region of France.
Here are some of the things we found in this region:
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