When I imagined staying in a French house overnight with food and wine and lovely hospitality – I thought it was just a dream but good news – it exists. And here it is. Le Manoir only an hour from the ferry in Calais – Calais is another tale for another day but today is all about Le Manoir a lovely story……
We read about it on Sawdays website and had booked ahead. Plugging in the co-orindates our Sat Nav took us round the houses, across the rues, over the montagnes and meandering for ages but eventually we found it – in a small village called Gouy-St-Andre in Pas De Calais, and it was well worth the wait. Look. Sometimes photos speak louder than words. But being me you will get words as well.
We arrived on 8th May and the whole area was completely shut. We wondered if the Triffids had landed, or some huge global disaster had happened and we were the only ones not to know about it but when we finally found our way to Le Manoir and met our hosts Ceclia and Raphael they informed us every 8th May in France it is a massive public holiday to commemorate the signing of the peace agreement marking the end of the war by Charles De Gaulle in 1945. So we arrived on a party day!. Splendide!
On arrival a delicious afternoon tea of homemade cake and cups of loose leaf tea before being shown to the gorgeous room where we collapsed in to a bubbly bath before dinner at 7pm. When we came down there was a roaring open fire with a fireplace the size of Uist and two huge sofas which we sank into before being handed a glass of chilled wine and some canapés. How we suffer. NOT.
This is the label – fresh. light and really easy to drink. Being a philistine I don’t care how much a wine costs as long as it tastes good and this tasted great. Only later I learnt it was about 5 -7 euros! So I have decided to give up water and just drink this instead. Have a look here and try it sometime you will thank moi (French bi-lingual now obviously)
At this point we mentioned dinner and of course being a daftie I had forgotten to mention to Cecilia, our hostess that we would like to eat with them. But she whipped it up in no time at all. If it had been me it would have been cheese on toast but at Le Manoir we were in the hands of a gourmet. The dining room was set for two overlooking the garden and we indulged in an entirely homemade feast. Rillette, gherkins, bread, mushroom tart, then an omelette bursting with fresh veg from the garden and Le Touquet potatoes from the host Raphaels Fathers garden with butter. At this point we should have had our jaws wired but on we went to enjoy home baked apple tart, miniature cheesecake and ice cream. Be still my beating heart. We managed to move to the lounge and the couch where we met this handsome chap. Charlie the cat.
A man who also enjoys his food. I am now his body double – with slightly less hair.
Some more photos to give you a taste – see what I mean about the fire? Its a beezer!
Breakfast – you can see here – beautifully laid out table was homemade yoghurt, bread, jam, ,fresh fruit salad, hot fresh pancakes and maple syrup, homemade Granola, pastries. I could go on and on as I do but I think you get the gist…..
Oh and meet Alfred and Marcelle, the geese. These two meander around outside like a pair of Disney characters keeping an eye on all the comings and goings.
So to sum up. The ambience of Le Manoir is quite magical. The X factor. We were the first Scots they had to stay – and hopefully we have not spoilt it for the rest of you because we behaved rather well for a change. From the horses, geese, cats, oh and of course the humans! They were wonderful….oh and their children who speak better Spanish, German and almost English than us. Yes we were very taken with the whole place……