16 July 2012 by Chris Jones
Apple, Cherry, Plum and Pear Cottages, nr Dinan, Brittany
Breton farm building conversions
This month’s property is in fact a collection of four holiday cottages near Dinan, Cotes d’Armor – each beautifully converted from typically Breton farm buildings. The location is serene: two acres of garden and orchard bordered by fields and woodland. But there’s plenty to see and do nearby including medieval towns, family attractions and golden sand beaches. And getting there’s a doddle – the N12 passes nearby giving speedy access to local ferry ports.
With Cherry Cottage (the smallest of the four) sleeping two and the others sleeping up to five, couples and families alike can enjoy relaxing holidays here. Owners Chris and Kim Jewell moved here five years ago and lovingly converted the longère-style farmhouse and outbuildings, taking great care to preserve the buildings’ rustic elegance (oak beams feature prominently). But they also added all the comforts and mod-cons expected by today’s holidaymakers, plus a few they might not, such as the chic Schmidt fitted kitchens.
Each home also boasts a south-facing patio: ideal for barbecues or for soaking up the sun; whilst younger guests can play to their heart’s content in the orchard which is well equipped for play with goalposts, badminton net, boules and even a trampoline.
Rustic French charm with city convenience
No matter where you find yourself in the French countryside, there always seems to be a café, bakery and post office nearby and it’s no different here.
The local village of Caulnes is a stone’s throw away and offers all these conveniences plus a handy supermarket. There’s also an abundance of local markets, ideal for stocking up on fresh local produce, as well as for browsing everything from flowers to antiques.
Meanwhile those who thrive on city life will find their fix in Rennes – an energising fusion of ancient and modern, with a wealth of shops and sights to take in.
Gastronomic exploration with award-winning hosts
When it comes to choosing somewhere to eat, it makes good sense to ask Chris and Kim for advice. Before they made their move to France, they ran two award-winning gastropubs with rooms, one in Suffolk and one in Pembrokeshire, so they know a thing or two about food.
Chris suggests the trip to Cancale – home to some fantastic seafood restaurants – and also Dinan which runs the full gamut of eating choices from pizza to haute cuisine. But surely no visit to Brittany is complete without a Breton crêpe with a glass of local cidre? Sure enough, Chris has a favourite crêperie in nearby Broons which he enthusiastically recommends to all his guests.
Five years ago Chris and Kim sold the pub business, upped sticks, and headed across the Channel. “We often spent our holidays in France, and fell in love with it, so much so that we started to think about making the move,” Chris explains.
“Running two pubs was rewarding, but extremely hard work; we fancied a change, a new adventure, but we also wanted to use all the skills we’d picked up in the hospitality business to give our guests something really special.”
But why this particular corner of Brittany?
“We wanted the calm of the countryside, but without being isolated. Here we have quiet surroundings, charming towns like Dinan, and easy access to the ports. It’s perfect for us, and for our guests.”
Locally-sourced home-cooked meals
And they haven’t let their cooking skills go to waste either. Each evening in high season (and at other times on request), guests can take advantage of Chris and Kim’s unique and delicious home-cooked meal service consisting of a plat du jour cooked from the very best local and home-grown ingredients.
A quick glance at Tripadvisor uncovers glowing reports from previous guests who rave about the convenience and value-for-money this added service offers, and above all the fantastic quality, with some choosing to indulge every day of the week. What, after all, could be better? A break to Brittany AND a break from the kitchen. Bon appétit!
Find out more about holidays to the cottages, either one-bedroom Cherry and Plum Cottages, or two-bedroom Apple or Pear – a week’s stay starts from as little as £235, and if you haven’t booked your summer break, there’s currently a 25% discount on bookings for July and August.