A country conversion in Normandy

Ros Byam-Shaw visits a hotel in Le Perche where contemporary chic meets tradition 

Arriving at D’Une Ile is like wandering onto a stage set for a period drama, a pastoral love story starring a rosy-cheeked milkmaid and a poetic shepherd. The mise-en-scène is a gathering of crooked stone cottages huddled around a sloping village green, their walls the colour of apricots, their clay-tiled roofs padded with moss, their doors wreathed with old-fashioned roses and their small casement windows shadowed by shutters and hung with curtains of gathered white muslin. Behind the cottages, the tall trees of an ancient woodland loom up to create a dark, theatrical backdrop.

However, unlike a movie set, or a model village, or Marie-Antoinette’s hameau, this is somewhere you can immerse yourself, because more than just a bucolic fantasy, D’Une Ile is also a hotel and a home. After you have found it, buried deep in the gentle hills of Normandy’s Le Perche, down a lane, past a pond then through an orchard, and have parked in the grassy car park, you realize there are no signs pointing to ‘Reception’, no desk with telephones and no forms to be filled in. Your ...

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