By Laurence Gounel
Just outside of Beauville, beyond Canaville, take the D27. Head for Tourgéville, a tiny village of green hedges, carefully hidden away but just 5.4km from the Planches that should not be missed. Two turns and a short while later, it is as if you have been invited into a friend’s mansion, in the heart of a 7-hectare park. A far cry from the urban showiness that takes over further down. How refreshing is that? It is hardly astonishing that a film-maker chose to make this place home before selling it back to the Chevanne family five years ago. The area is vast and perfect for parties. At the moment, there is silence, except for tweets of the birds and the intricately mown lawn. Right in the middle is a large timer structure, surrounding by 5 circular manors poised like little electrons around a central atom. Why does this instantly appeal to us? Because nothing stops us from bumping into other Parisians – from cinema and media – that we imagine live hectic lives during the week, but here they are nonchalantly relaxed in a tribal fashion. Like being in a family home. Visitors are inspired to discover Claude Lelouch’s personal cinema room, which today is revived and intimate. And for hard-core fans: naturally there are private showings and the filmmaker’s entire filmography, but also the complete works of Hitchcock, James Bond and a refined selection from the past ten years. Frankly, for the rest of the time, there are easy exchanges between guests, with constant staff availability who offer a genuine gentleness in their service.
For lovers: head straight for one of the duplex bedrooms in the main building, whose doors all bear the name of a cinema celeb.
As a family: consider reserving a triple suite (with a living room and fireplace) so that you can go downstairs for dinner after putting the little ones to bed.
As a group: you can take over one of the manors, devised like beautiful detached houses with living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and a large fireplace. Every section is interconnecting so, depending on your mood, you can maintain your privacy.
The Best Bit: the indoor swimming pool heated to 27°C, which occupies those early-risers and entertains kids on rainy days. Secondly, the entirely anecdotal spa offers a whole range of LPG face and body treatments, so think about booking an anti-aging session before arriving.
Seaside or terrace: Indulge in a seafood platter on the Planches on sunny days and in the evening, try out the lounge menu by the fire (12° in May – are you surprised?) or otherwise on the terrace. For fish and chips and a Norman burger – Andouille from Vire, Pont l’Evêque cheese and potatoes – nothing beats it. And afterwards? The last screening of course.
And on Sunday? Things actually happen here, with croquet brunches kicking off the season. Stroll bare foot across the grass beneath the arbour before launching into a series of matches (for all abilities).
Deauville without the folktales.