Moulin de Sommesnil
House | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 10
An extremely spacious and beautifully restored early 19th century watermill, situated in the Durdent valley,in rural Upper Normandy, on the edge of the hamlet of Oherville. Ideal for small groups of all ages or for families sharing. The house has a wealth of French charm and yet provides guests with comfort and modern conveniences. Four bedrooms,two reception rooms, three bathrooms.The mill has a large 'island' garden, surrounded by water and is situated on a Grande Randonee hiking trail. It is a haven for wildlife and flora which includes a wild orchid meadow in spring,resident ducks,visiting swans and water voles and two beehives(screened off for safety).A superb tree platform is perfect for sundowners. A perfect place to relax and unwind, for fishing,cycling and walking or to use as a well located base for exploring the surrounding area.You can even visit Paris for the day!
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 4 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Veulettes sur Mer 20 km|
|Will consider||Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Nearest Amenities||3 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Beauvais 146 km, Nearest railway: Yvetot 13 km|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access|
|General||Central heating, CD player, Telephone, Pool or snooker table, Table tennis, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms, 1 En suites and 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (6), Double beds (2), Cots (1), Dining seats for 12, Lounge seats for 10|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Private garden, BBQ, Bicycles available, Swing set, Private fishing lake or river|
The Normandy region
The Durdent Valley is in the Seine Maritime area of Upper Normandy, which is a high flat chalk plateau with many small river valleys threading north towards the sea. The nearby coastline, about 20 kilometres north of Le Moulin de Sommesnil, features dramatic white chalk cliffs and pebbly beaches, which are excellent for rock-pooling.Etretat was made famous by Monet for its dramatic chalk needle and arch and 40 minutes’ drive away at Fecamp is a Benedictine abbey; visitors can see how the liqueur is made.Also notable on the coast is Veules- les -Roses, a charming sea side village with the smallest river in France running through to meet the sea. 30 minutes to the south is the densely wooded Seine valley with bluebell forests still populated with wild boar. In this area is the famous ruined Jumieges Abbey. The abbey of St Wandrille, which is still in use, has a fine shop selling products made by the monks; visitors can hear them singing plainchant at Sunday services.
Day trips from the house include visiting Rouen (45 minutes’ drive), with its stunning cathedral famously painted by Monet(and spectacularly lit up to replicate his paintings during summer evenings), and a beautifully restored medieval town centre, where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
Another fascinating place to visit is the medieval port of Honfleur,over the breathtaking Pont de Normandie suspension bridge.Honfleur is renowned for its picturesque harbour, its seafood restaurants and its art galleries. Monet's garden at Giverney is a little further afield as are the gorgeous sandy beaches of Deauville and Trouville. Paris is just one and a half hours by train from the local station at Yvetot.
The weather is changeable but mild and humid, with summer temperatures around 20-25 degrees centigrade.
The area around the house is peaceful and rural. Driving is a pleasure and there are well marked walking routes and cycling routes within moments of leaving the front door.That's if you can bear to leave the house and garden!
In the garden you can lie in the hammock,use the swing ,hang out in the tree platform, paddle and potter in the river (it is too shallow to swim in but excellent for lilos and inflatables)Suitable for kayaking although many of the stretches of river go through private property.There is also an area in the garden where you can light a small bonfire in the evening.There is some comfortable garden furniture, several mountain bikes for hire and a badminton set.
Inside we have a multi function games table for table football, table tennis and pool. We have a fantastic collection of old records, a sound system including cd player and Ipod dock. There is a cupboard full of traditional games including cards, scrabble, rummicub,monopoly,chess,draughts and several roleplay games if you want to organise a special party evening. The house does not have a television but there is wi -fi and a collection of DVD's for all ages if you bring a lap top with you.
We are keen cooks so the kitchen is very practical and well equipped - we even have decent sharp knives!
You can fish on the property and the river is well stocked with trout each spring and there is a small fishing lake just up river. The Durdent valley is a protected landscape for its unique "praires humides (water meadows) and there are nature trails from Le Hanouard. There is a fantastic lake, the Lac du Caniel,near Cany Barville which has activities for all ages including jet ski,canoes,pedallos, a water park, skate park, bowling alleys and man made beach with safe paddling and bathing areas.Also in the vicinity and perfect for teenagers and active families are two tree top adventure parks: Accrowood and Woody Park.
Cany Barville has a bustling local market every Monday.Normandy's cuisine is famous for its dairy produce and apple products and and other tree fruits and you can buy home grown and home made produce from local farmers and stall holders. Yvetot's market day is Wednesday and just south of Yvetot is the Foret de Brotonne, carpeted with bluebells in the spring and ideal for off road cycling or cycling as a family.
Hericourt en Caux(3km) is our nearest village with local shops including bakers, pharmacy ,newsagent ,butchers, charcuterie and general store. There is another excellent bakery at Grainville (3km)
The Pays de Caux has a unique and very attractive architecture featuring brick and flint timber framed buildings ( like the mill), half timbered cottages (colombages) and thatched cottages (chaumieres).
There are many interesting chateaux in the area, some of which are open to the public. Examples include Chateau de Cany( guided tours only), Chateau du Mesnil Geoffroye (rose garden)Chateau de Miromesnil(house and garden), Le Manoir de Ango and Park du Bois des Moutiers at Varengeville(house built by Lutyens and garden by Gertrude Jekyll), Chateau de Bosmelet(house and garden).
Less well known are several interesting and creative gardens including Clos de Coudray, Jardin Plume ,Jardin d'art et d'essais, Parc Floral William Farcy, and Jardins Agapanthe.
Eating out: there are local restaurants in Hericourt en Caux and Le Hanouard. For families there is a pizza restaurant at Autretot and in Yvetot there are Chinese, Italian and cous cous restaurants.Other gastronomic restaurants recommended for special occasions are at Sassetot le Mauconduit and Veules les Roses.
Our local train station is at Yvetot,just 12 minutes away and from there you can do day trips to Rouen, Le Havre, Caen and Dieppe, all ideal destinations for rainy days with interesting shopping centres, museums and sites of interest.
Stocking up on produce for your trip home - there is a huge out of town shopping centre at Barentin,just off the main road towards Rouen.
We have lots more information at the house on local facilities and things to do including suggestions for days out for families with small children.
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19 May 2014
"wonderful, comfortable house"
We had a lovely stay for a week over Easter. The mill is comfortable and elegant. We were a party of 9 aged from 16 to 75 and all our needs were catered for. Julie was very efficient with communicati… More
24 Oct 2013
"An idyllic peaceful retreat"
Moulin de Sommesnil, is in a beautiful setting and we found the house clean, inviting and well equipped. Contact with the owner was easy when we couldn't find the hose to enjoy the summer weathe… More
3 Sep 2013
"Great location, fantastic house and picturebook garden."
Just returned from a fantastic week at the mill with the family - 6 adults, 2 babies and one 4-year old. The house itself was full of character and very roomy - plenty of space for everyone to relax a… More
5 Mar 2013
"A beautiful spacious property in a great & quiet location on the Durent river."
We have been visiting the village of Sommesnil for nearly 10 years. I spoted this charming water mill whilst out on a bike ride and made it my business to find out more. After meeting the French neighbours was told when the owners would be back, and in due course was given a guided tour. First impressions have proved to be accurate. The owners are very pleasant and straightforward to deal with and if they are around (they stay next door) they are unobtrusive but always friendly. The mill is fantastic, well organised and spacious. The garden is beautiful and is in fact an island, because of the mill race running alongside the building. The location is quiet but not isolated and Hericourt and Canny-Barville (in opposite directions) meet all our holiday shopping needs. The location is great for walking or cycling and there is a water sports centre outside Canny. The best beach is 45 minutes away by car. We love staying here and it has certainly got a hold on me as I often think about the mill. I don't normally have such a response to a rental property! If you want a peaceful location not too far from Calais or Dieppe stay here.
4 Mar 2013
"Lovely country retreat. Perfect for a group of friends or families."
We had a great few days in February at this converted mill in rural Normandy, despite the cold. The mill was mostly cosy warm, with toasty bedrooms and a great wood burning stove with lots of wood an… More
21 Dec 2012
"Un lieu pour la paix et la tranquillité"
I suppose we could be called “regular” visitors to the Moulin de Sommesnil in the sense that we have been every year for a number of years, which must say something about how much we enjoy our visits there. It is the sort of place where you soon feel completely at home.
With easy access from Calais, Dieppe, Le Havre, to name but a few ferry ports, and the Channel Tunnel, even the travelling doesn't seem onerous and those people who know France will already appreciate that the autoroutes there are so quiet compared to the British motorways. But what to do once you get there? Well, there are so many places to visit. One of our favourites is Honfleur, or further to the West, Caen and Bayeux. Drive to the coast and visit Pegasus Bridge and the “D Day” beaches, stand upon them watching children playing happily enjoying their seaside holiday and wonder at how it was so different in June 1944. Heading in the other direction there is Rouen (we have even heard of people going to Euro Disney, but that would mean a long and arduous day) or go South to Jumieges and Duclair or to Monet's house and gardens.
We find the problem is not in selecting somewhere to go but in actually doing it. We often succumb to the temptation to go nowhere but to stay and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the garden, get a good book, a glass of wine and just “crash out.” If you later decide to do something a bit more energetic then a stroll around the immediate area is quite enjoyable or you can blow up your inflatable boat and have a splash in the river, or climb up to the tree house - taking your book and wine with you if you so wish. One of the things we really enjoy about “the mill” is that the friends and family with whom we go are very comfortable in each others' company, so if one of us “wishes to be alone” (to quote a phrase) for a little while there are plenty of nooks and crannies in which to do this.
We have seen some alterations, both inside and out, over the years so that when we arrive to start a holiday we are never quite sure what we will see that has changed from our previous visit, but what the owners have achieved has been done with an understanding of the character of the property and reflects their obvious love of the Moulin de Sommesnil.
In 2013 we are planning to visit Sommesnil twice, once with friends and once with family, we can offer no greater testimony than that we keep going back.
Joy and Alan Shaw, Sheffield, England.
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Calendar last updated:14 Feb 2014
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