A visit to Normandy, in the north of France, is not complete without a fabulous overnight stay at a château with sea-view rooms. Many of France’s hotels were built in the 19th century when the country experienced a boost in wealth with the end of its revolution, but there are much older castles around. Many châteaux now serve as luxe accommodations, and the region is rich in hotels of every kind.
A serene sanctuary built into a former 18th-century farm and stables, Domaine de la Pommeraye is ideally suited for guests looking for some serious R&R during their stay in the region. The bed and breakfast is a suitably chic affair, with the spacious rooms channelling a light, cosy feel and the complimentary breakfast, made using locally sourced ingredients, offering guests a terrific way to start their day. Inside the grounds, guests will find a fully furnished spa, providing a wide range of treatments and therapies, as well as a private pool, sauna and even a hammam steam bath, sure to get you feeling relaxed in no time.
Found in the stately grounds of the Castel Saint-Léonard, a listed building in the heart of Falaise, this guesthouse has three luxury rooms for you to choose from for a true taste of chateau life. Each of the rooms come individually styled and include antique furnishings to create an authentic, Louis XVI atmosphere during your stay, while still offering guests all the comforts of a modern guesthouse experience. Make sure to visit the town of Falaise, found right on your doorstep, during your stay for a fascinating blend of chic restaurants, boutique shops and an engaging local history.
Set among the medieval village of Mortagne-au-Perche and found in the middle of Perche Natural park, Hotel Du Tribunal is an inviting boutique hotel with a history dating back nearly 500 years. A popular choice with outdoor enthusiasts, the hotel is in close proximity to many of the region’s fantastic hiking routes crisscrossing the countryside and pristine Perche forests. After a full day out and about, be sure to drop by Hotel Du Tribunals very own gourmet restaurant, featuring a menu of Normandy cuisine classics made with local ingredients and carefully curated by head chef Vincent Biset.
A beautiful countryside retreat built from a 17th-century mansion house, le Manoir du lieu Rocher offers a truly grand stay, befitting the hotel’s rich heritage. Found between the towns of Deauville and Lisieux, this charming bed and breakfast is surrounded by luscious greenery and pristine private gardens for you to explore during your stay. The rooms are classically styled but light and airy and the service is professional, with a great knowledge of the local area. Make sure you take full advantage of the hotel’s delicious complimentary breakfast, offering a collection of fresh pastries, seasonal fruits and even organic eggs produced by Le Manoir’s very own chickens.
A striking period hotel overlooking the sea and pristine Cabourg beaches, Le Grand Hotel is every bit as majestic as the name suggests. The hotel’s interiors are a fantastic mix of traditional furnishings with modern tastes, creating a true Belle-epoque atmosphere in the dining halls, rooms and suites. The cosy guest rooms offer a choice of views over the beach or private gardens behind, and ensure your stay is a comfortable one with king-sized beds, a delicious Illy coffee service and extravagant Inès de la Fressange toiletries coming as standard.
A Normandy mainstay and recently undergoing a full restoration, the five star Hotel Barriere is definitely one of the top options for your stay in the region. Designed with a historic Anglo-Norman inspiration, today the hotel offers guests a truly contemporary stay with a mix of chic interiors and modern conveniences such as complimentary wifi, concierge service and a welcoming courtesy tray in every room and suite. As one of the top hotels in Normandy, Hotel Barriere has had its fair share of celebrity encounters, that’s why if you’re looking for a special stay, consider the “man and the woman” suite, named after the 1966 palme d’or winner, by French director Nathalie Ryan and originally filmed at this hotel.
Located in the centre of Bayeux, the Villa Lara is a luxury five-star property with a boutique hotel feel. Its 28 rooms are dressed in traditional French decor, using rich colours such as burgundies, purples and golds to complement a grey-and-white palette. The room’s furnishings are all designed by famous French cabinet-maker Moissonier, and large windows offer an airy feel with views over the enchanting Bayeux cathedral. The town of Bayeux serves as an ideal base for touring the monuments of the Second World War and boasts impressive sites such as the Bayeux Tapestry.
Normandy Barrière is a classic landmark of chic Deauville, a town known for its casino, sandy beaches and the American Film Festival. Nestled alongside the sea, the hotel’s eye-catching, half-timbered and chequered exterior is impossible to go unnoticed. It contains 271 rooms, each decorated with varying shades of toile de jouy (a pattern made up of pastoral scenes) and glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Guests can enjoy amenities such as an on-site spa, a swimming pool and free one-hour bike rentals. Other activities the concierge can arrange outside of the hotel include horseback riding (Deauville is also highly regarded in the equestrian world), rounds of a golf and yacht charters.
The chic and modern Cures Marines is found in the town of Trouville, just across the River Toques from Deauville. Its main draw is its spa, which uses thalassotherapy, a practice that enlists the help of the sea for its healing and soothing properties – hence the hotel’s name. Its ideal location in the town and its sleek, spacious and ocean-view rooms make it a top choice for anyone looking for a pampering, seaside getaway.
This former 18th-century castle is now home to Château La Chenevière, a five-star hotel located in the countryside, just outside the seaside town of Port-en-Bessin. Elegance permeates its 29 spacious rooms, each decorated in a unique style. Larger groups (up to eight people) can opt to stay in their Escures House, a romantic cottage located just minutes away from the property. The hotel has two restaurants on site, one gastronomic and one outdoor garden terrace, as well as a tucked-away speakeasy bar where you can enjoy a nightcap of the region’s finest calvados. Breakfast includes a buffet, à la carte eggs, and honey made on the castle grounds.
Overlooking the Seine estuary in Honfleur, La Ferme Saint-Siméon dates back to the 17th century. Its heyday came in the 19th century when it was known as Auberge de la Mère Toutain, an inn for painters (the Impressionists) who flocked to Honfleur in search of inspiration for their paintings. The painters’ meetings here would go on to create the School of Impressionism of Honfleur, also known as the Impressionist School of Saint-Siméon. Today it is a five-star property that aims to capture the spirit of the Impressionists through its decor, service, and activities, such as painting lessons in the hotel gardens.
On the shores of the English Channel, Le Landemer is approximately 14km west of Cherbourg on the tip of the spectacular Cotentin peninsula. All of the 10 rooms in this three-star property have views overlooking the sea and the four located in the farmhouse, just steps away from the main building, include a private terrace. Panoramic ocean views are also on offer from their restaurant, which serves up fresh seafood dishes.
The Hôtel de Bourgtheroulde dates back to the 15th century and sits in the heart of the city, blending into the Gothic buildings of Rouen and looking as though it was a royal palace rather than a full-service hotel. Formerly the mansion of the Le Roux family between 1499 and 1532, its regal atmosphere is derived from a blend of both traditional (exposed beam ceilings and Louis XVII-style armchairs) and contemporary (a sleek bar, pool and spa) elements. The most alluring feature is its courtyard terrace with the hotel’s striking architecture looming in the background.
The delightful La Maison de Lucie is a three-star boutique property in an 18th-century house located in the centre of Honfleur. Its charm is obvious at first sight as leafy vines climb its facade, accented by shuttered windows lined with red brick. Inside, a combination of warm tones, wood-panelled walls, stained glass windows, and a log fireplace provide a cosy vibe, as does its backyard garden patio. There is also a spa located in the house’s vaulted cellars, exclusive to its guests only.
Found halfway between the cities of Caen and Bayeux, Château d’Audrieu is a Historical Monument with 25 hectares of park and gardens surrounding the former 18th-century castle. Refined and comfortable rooms are located either within the main manor or 10 metres away in their private villa. For something different, stay in their deluxe room in the trees – a treehouse cabin with full amenities and a balcony overlooking the English gardens. The luxury extends to the hotel’s spa by the prestigious Parisian skincare brand, Sothys, its outdoor heated pool and its gastronomic restaurant, Le Séran, which uses fresh, seasonal produce from the hotel garden and houses an impressive wine cellar.
A mere four kilometres west of the famous Mont Saint-Michel, the five-star L’Ermitage contains six suites with a neutral decor of soft pastels, wood furnishings, and private balconies. The hotel restaurant, La Table, offers traditional French dishes using local ingredients such as a foie gras with pommeau and calvados, and oysters fresh from the bay.
Looking for more hotel options in France? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Honfleur, for every traveller, in addition to our guide on the best hotels near Mont Saint-Michel, all bookable on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Nicholas Grantham contributed additional reporting to this article.
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