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Family Traveller’s Amy Hopkins checked into Les Manoirs de Tourgéville with her three-month old baby for some much needed R&R. A popular bolthole for Parisian families looking to escape the city for a weekend, Les Manoirs de Tourgéville is a true country retreat. Not far from Paris and Calais, it’s ideal for UK families looking for a quick getaway, gentle relaxation and fresh air.
For UK families travelling from the south-east – from Dover by ferry, or from London by Eurostar – Les Manoirs is only a short drive, once you reach France. The hotel is in the heart of the Normandy countryside, surrounded by pretty green scenery and is only a ten-minute drive from Deauville. Deauville beach, otherwise known as Les Planches, is a star of the Parisian riviera, rooted in romantic old-world glamour. Whether a film festival, yachting regatta or vintage car rally, there’s always something going on in Deauville, even off-season.
My baby, three-months old, was a little too young to spend the day on the beach under one of Deauville’s famous parasoles, so instead we strolled down the long boardwalk, admiring the bathing cabins, each named after a Hollywood star who has attended Deauville’s film festival. The sea seemed a little too adventurous at this age, so instead we dipped her toes in the water at the mosaic Roman baths, just set back from the boardwalk. After lunch at the Bar de la Mer – glamourous yet absolutely baby-friendly and ideal for people watching – we ambled around Deauville town, admiring its elegant half-timbered buildings.
Les Manoirs is also close to the historic fishing town of Honfleur. For those looking to avoid hustle and bustle altogether, the hotel provides an excellent base for exploring the wider Normandy countryside and getting lost in picturesque Norman villages.
The hotel was built to be the set of a film that was never made, a quirky background that is reflected in the roomy foyer (built to make room for camera equipment), the cinema room and the fact that the rooms are named after famous film stars.
Small by hotel standards, Les Manoirs has an elegant yet homey feel – more akin to a country house than a hotel.
The half-timbered main mansion has only 25 rooms and 35 suites. Tranquil and private, all are decorated in traditional French country style. We stayed in one of the split-level Duplex rooms. This was ideal for the three of us as the baby slept in her travel cot on the ground floor and my husband and I ‘upstairs’ on the mezzanine floor. It meant she could sleep undisturbed and to check on her, all I had to do was peek over the balcony.
Les Manoirs provide excellent travel cots and if your room is not close to reception and dining areas, you’ll be ferried by golf cart.
The hotel has a large heated indoor pool, surrounded by deck chairs. We visited mid-week and often found the pool empty, which was a real treat. Beside the pool are a gym and a spa, and there are outdoors tennis courts and table tennis facilities. Bicycles are available for hire if you want to explore the seven hectares of French countryside that surround the hotel buildings.
There’s a cosy cinema room that shows English or French films on request. Horse riding and golf are popular pursuits among Tourgéville locals and both can be enjoyed by visitors close to Les Manoirs (ask at reception for details).
The impressive breakfast buffet offers a full array of hot and cold options, as well as freshly baked pastries and single-serving packets of Nutella, without which it simply wouldn’t feel like a holiday in France.
Les Manoir’s restaurant, 1899, serves modern dishes inspired by Normandy cuisine. Steak and Normandy sole went down particularly well with my husband and I. Lunch and dinner can be taken inside or out on the pretty terrace. One evening we had to abandon our dinner at 1899 due to a crying baby, and we were touched when a waiter later turned up at our room with a dinner for two, including dessert and wine.
Where: Les Manoirs de Tourgéville, Deauville, France
Price: From approx £114 a room for a night, based on two adults sharing
How to get there: Fly to Deauville from London Stansted with RyanAir, travel with Eurotunnel, or by ferry from Dover to Calais. Les Manoirs is a three-hour drive from Calais.