The Pays de Bray is a truly beautiful part of Normandy: lush undulating farmland, green fields, lazy cows, apple orchards, and up by the sea the rugged white cliffs of the Alabaster coast… We have found that the house and grounds are such a wonderful place to just chill-out and recharge our batteries, whatever the weather, that we tend not to stray very far.

But there is plenty to do and see in the region, should you wish to explore…


Forges les Eaux

Forges les EauxThe nearest town, 10km. This delightful spa town has pretty lakes and woodland walks, a smart Casino (very popular with Parisians as it is only 70 miles from Paris and open every night until 5am), a Club Med with health spa (daily membership is available for the gym, pool, sauna and various thalassotherapy seaweed treatments), fishing, tennis, and an indoor/outdoor pool, as well as a selection of restaurants, bars and a weekly market.

Grand Casino at Forges les Eaux

http://www.ville-forges-les-eaux.fr/


Ferme de Bray

Ferme de BrayAn ancient 17th century farmstead, which has been lovingly restored and is now open to the public. You can visit the ancient wheat mill, bread oven, dovecote, chicken houses and cider presses. In each of the restored farm buildings you will find examples of all the traditional tools. There is also trout fishing in the lake.

http://ferme.de.bray.free.fr/


Gerberoy


Gerberoy
A short drive away is the old medieval village of Gerberoy, one one of the “100 most beautiful villages in France” and protected as a classified site. All the old houses have been restored and maintained and in the summer are covered in roses. The road to this village is extremely picturesque – you will pass along a lovely calm river valley with a number of pretty villages on the way.
Don’t miss the Hostellerie du Vieux Logis – A highly recommended restaurant, with a lovely garden in the summer. Their speciality is little individual table-top “barbecues” , where you cook your own meat or fish over a calvados flame. (They also do a “Menu Sucre” – a five-course meal consisting only of desserts!)

www.Gerberoy.fr
http://www.vieuxlogisgerberoy.com/


The Foret de Lyons
Visible from the upstairs windows, at 10,000 hectares the 5th largest national forest in France. At its centre, the medieval village of Lyons-la-Foret is another of the “100 most beautiful villages in France”, and it too has a couple of highly recommended restaurants.


Dieppe and the “Alabaster Coast”
Although a ferry port, it is nothing like Calais – very French, and no “booze cruisers”!
This lovely seaside town is just 40 minutes drive to the North – take a stroll along the harbour and stop off to try the famous “Marmite Dieppoise” at one of the many harbourside restaurants.
Continue along the glorious Normandy “Cote d’Albatre” – rugged, uncrowded, and full of French charm with beautifully clean sand and pebble beaches below white chalk cliffs. Set amongst the many villages (e.g. Veules-les-Roses, St Valery en Caux) are numerous restaurants with sea views serving freshly caught fish and seafood, and of course the neo-renaissance palace in the centre of Fecamp does guided tours to sample the infamous Bénédictine liqueur.Of all the towns along the Alabaster Coast Etretat shines with its famous chalk cliffs and needle loved as a subject by the Impressionists.


Rouen
About 30 minutes drive to the west is the ancient town of Rouen – cobbled streets, medieval architecture, numerous churches and a magnificently restored Cathedral, as well as being a shopper’s paradise of little antique shops and excellent boutiques. Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake in the old market place, and there is a museum there, dedicated to her life.


Golf
There are a number of golf courses within easy reach, making Le Gaillon an excellent base for golfing breaks. In fact Normandy is rated among the top ten most desirable golfing locations in the world!St-Saens
A newish course, very popular, with a magnificent chateau clubhouse where you can enjoy an excellent reasonably priced lunch or dinner. This course is incredibly varied – you will experience parkland, moorland and water holes here. As with most French courses, you will find it difficult to believe how such a great course can be so empty! Well worth the visit.Champ de Bataille
Arguably Normandy’s finest, and quickly gaining the reputation of one of the most beautiful golf courses in France. Gentle opening and finishing holes, but 16 of the most challenging and scenic golf holes in between! A tight, tree-lined forest layout, well maintained with some great water holes.Dieppe
An old established course. Links in style, with some very difficult greens (both to putt on and to hit!). Nice wide fairways but you’ll need to be accurate with your approaches. An enjoyable course, although tough to play to your handicap.Rouen La Foret Verte
On the edge of the ‘green forest’, only 7 miles northwest of Rouen, this is a pleasant and well-maintained course. You will enjoy some very well designed picturesque holes. Strategically placed water hazards will make you think, but otherwise a fairly straightforward layout.Etretat
At the top of the cliffs – the golf course is in a setting of unique and of rare beauty. When the wind blows, you may find it tough, but whatever your score may be, it will be a memorable, magic experience.


For the children
If they ever tire of all the outdoor and indoor games, or of being allowed to just roam freely in the large gardens exploring the wildlife and making friends with the cows in the next field, there are plenty of places to take them – the beaches near Dieppe, the swimming pools at Forges and Gournay are both within 20 minutes drive, the open air theme parks of St Paul and Bocasse are both within easy reach, the chateau at Cleres with its exotic animals and birds roaming the grounds, the Avenue Verte cycle track, the list is endless!
If they are very good, you can even reward them (or should that be “bribe” them?!) with a day trip to Disneyland or Parc Asterix which are both an easy 1.5 hour drive along the motorway.


Art Lovers
Guy de Maupassant, Flaubert, Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde all resided in the nearby area at some time during their lives or go just a little further afield to Monet’s house and garden at Giverny, just over an hour away by car.


First World War – memorials and graves
The first world war memorials of the battle of the Somme are just 1.5 hours away to the North East.


Second World War – Normandy beaches
The beaches of Omaha, Juno etc are about 2.5 hours away to the West.


Cyclists
The Avenue Verte, access to which is free, consists of a car-free path, minimum 3 metres wide, and currently 40km long from Forges-les-Eaux to Dieppe. The route is reserved for walkers, wheelchairs, cyclists, rollerbladers and horseriders. Plentiful picnic spots have been created along the side of the route, as well as a number of old railway signal boxes which have been refurbished to serve as shelters. Part of the European Cycleways project, the “Avenue Verte” is planned, with “Green Tourism” in mind, to eventually link London and Paris. When the next stage of the British section is completed (within the next couple of years) this section will link Heathfield (East Sussex), via the existing Cuckoo Trail, to the Newhaven-Dieppe Ferries/Seacat and on to Forges-les-Eaux.


Paris and Disneyland
Just 1.5 hours by car (2 hours by train), a stay at Le Gaillon offers you a great opportunity to visit the French capital during your break.


Househunting?
If you are planning to use Le Gaillon as a base for househunting in Normandy, please let us know – we can put you in contact with local estate agents.
In particular, we recommend the services of John and Serin at http://www.normandy-property-services.info – they have a large selection of properties on their books and can offer you friendly help and guidance through the complicated process of buying or selling properties in France.