If you’re thinking about taking some time off in a peaceful area, surrounded by all the beauties nature has to offer and with an homely atmosphere – this is the place for you! Having worked there as an volunteer I can only say the owner and his team of helpers do put a lot of effort into making the experience of staying in this lovely stone house memorizing, in a good way of course, for every guest. There are so many things I liked so much about my stay, so I’m gonna list a few, just so you get a overall view of what it means to be a guest in la Merveille.
Unlike other B&B’s, Roger, the english owner, offers a homemade three-course-dinner to his guests, if they wish for it. I took some pretty good recipes home with me that I’m surely gonna recook and bake. For example a apple crumble and chocolate lava cake to die for. Apart from the nice evening dinner, the breakfast offers everything anyone could wish for. Fresh croissants, pain au chocolats, fruit, baguette, yoghurt, cereals, different kind of jams, and so on. Somedays he even serves scrambled egg with bacon or typical french and absolutely mouth-watering crepes. Being a food-lover since I can think, I’m always noticing such things when it comes to hotels or anything similiar.
When it comes to the rooms, which I helped cleaning and preparing, I can assure that hygiene and comfort are the two factors that play the biggest role. Every room has it’s own water boiler with a nice selection of teas and a coffees that go with it. Moreover, you can find a personal little booklet of interesting things about the history of the place, places to visit nearby, restaurant recommendations and a lot more information in every room, either in French or English. It shows one more time how much effort the owner puts into making his guests happy, because he wrote every page himself. What’s more? Roger always tries to put guests in his favourite room, because it’s the biggest, but I very much appreciate the charme of the small rooms as well. As I already said, it just creates a homely and comfy atmosphere.
Another thing that helps maintain this atmosphere are of course the workers. Besides the owner and his family there are Volunteers from all over the world. For all those who never heard about workaway, let me explain it in a few words. People from all kinds of different countries come to all sorts of places to work voluntarily and are therefore allowed to become part of the family, which means they usually live and eat with the hosts. This is a concept this B&B uses, which leads to creative ideas and a pleasant cultural mix of young and energetic people. This does not only make it interesting for the guests but it’s also beneficial for the work itself, because honestly it’s a lot more fun this way! Not to forget, the lovely animals that never fail to keep you entertained. From my personal point of view, I can only say that i felt like having a home away from home from the first minute. To be honest, I almost gave up on coming to this place at all and I’m just unbelievably glad I didn’t. Why? Let me tell you a little story.
I planned on getting off my plane in Paris and catching a bus and then a train to reach Le Lout, the name of the town where La Merveille is located, on the same day that I landed. Due to the snow my plans got destroyed faster than I could notice. Luckily, I had a friend living in Ill-de-France where I could stay two nights, until I could take another train. Finally on the train I thought there’s nothing holding me back anymore. I couldn’t be more wrong. Only forty minutes outside the center we crashed a car that stood in mid of the trails and the train stopped. They informed us that nobody was in the car, so nobody got injured. Relieved about this update we were waiting for further information on what happens next. I think everybody was hoping they would just get rid of the car and carry on with a bit of an delay. Unfortunately, that didn’t occur. Long story short, a full train of people stood still for six hours without any information on what’s gonna happen. Finally a second train arrived to bring us all the way back to Paris and we could switch trains there, hours later on the place where we had all started. The other thirty-minutes-wait didn’t even make any difference anymore and then we went for another three-hour-trainride, until I finally found my way to Villideau-les-Poeles, where Roger picked me up at 1 am.
As I said, thankfully I didn’t give up on going there because I really enjoyed my experience and I hope to get the chance to come back someday. Maybe in summer, where I can relax at the pool with sunbeams on my face. In addition to these words, I published three other posts about all the beautiful sights I saw in Normandy in the way too short two weeks I was spending here. In case I caught your interest and you’re dying to see pictures of Normandy’s landscapes and architectures, have a look at the posts here, number 1, 2 and 3.