There are some things in life that just grab you. The first time we entered this house we knew that it had a special soul. Our project very quickly expanded from a quick refresh to a total refurbishment, consuming our time, money, and knuckles, but never our passion. It has taken 3 years of our free-time, and some excellent French artisans, but we have a marvellous place for you to enjoy. We have given our tall little house everything it needed under the skin, and some real beauty on the surface, and shared our love. We have been repaid by a little bit of magic in Bayeux.
Built during the Napoleonic war, in the early 1800's, our house is located in the very heart of Bayeux, on the principal street in the town. Consisting of four floors, you will be close to everything but tucked away, and above, in a little paradise of your own. The entrance is a small, narrow door off the main street. It may take you a couple of passes to find it, but you will.
The loft was the first room we converted, not least as we were seeking a room to sleep in whilst the renovation was underway. Previously three very small rooms, it is now a lovely double bedroom that is full of light. All in wood and mellow colours, it is the room that reminds us we are only 4 miles from the coast. In fact it is the one room in the house where you sometimes hear the seagulls. You might even see them through the two windows in the roof. As the room was so spacious, and because everyone loves a swim, we decided to place our bath on the very top floor. Having found a Victorian cast iron bath in the Cotentin, and after having craned it into the third floor window, you can enjoy the fruits of our labours. It is the place to relax after a long day, or even better before a good breakfast. Look at the stars or enjoy the sunshine, it is big enough for two - as long as you are close friends.
Come out of the room and go down the stone staircase to the next floor. Here you will find the original bathroom, probably converted to this use after the Second World War. Large enough to be comfortable, and nicely heated by the large towel-rail, you can pad about on the water-resistant wood floor without fear of getting cold. In addition to the normal services you expect in a bathroom, the large washing machine is also located here should you wish to use it.
Cross the corridor and pass through some ancient large twin doors into the second bedroom. Originally from India, we have no idea how those heavy beasts ended up in Normandy. We found them in the back room of an antique dealer, not for sale, but we knew exactly where they could go. A little French charm, some strong relatives, and a car trailer, saw the doors moved into their current space. Lightly carved, and with a very deep patina, you can still get hint of spice from their country of origin. The bedroom is also a double, but this one has a wood burner for those lucky enough to be here in the winter. Imagine, a lovely fire in the bedroom, sitting in the deep chairs with a good book and a glass of wine.
Take the stone stairs down to the first floor and you arrive in the heart of the house, a very comfortable drawing room. With an exposed stone wall behind you, the large stone chimney and wood burner provide the real warmth to the house. Comfortable leather seats, and bench seats in the two front windows overlooking the main street, provide room for all of you to share your experiences. The kitchen is largely open to the drawing room, and has everything you need combining modern facilities with an aged charm. We guess you will want a modern dish-washer, but enjoy using a 1930's workbench as a side-table, and taking your meals on a Bangladeshi folding table. Great, you are very welcome. Ah ! And of course we hope you will help yourself to our reserves of coffee, tea, spices... it is all organic and free of charges.
At times you will want to actually leave the house and visit Bayeux and the surrounding area. Just take the last flight of stone stairs down to the ground floor and walk through the stone corridor to the front door. As you can feel, there is a lot of old Caen stone in the house, but if it was good enough stone for the Normans to build the Tower of London, it is good enough for our little house.
Once outside of the house, the Cathedral, consecrated by the (Norman) Archbishop of Canterbury in 1077, is a very pleasant 5 minute walk, and another 5 minutes will take you to the world famous Bayeux Tapestry - which isn't a tapestry and wasn't made in Bayeux, but it is truly magnificent.
A few notes on the owners:
Lyra, born and raised in Bayeux, is passionate about art and history. She studied anthropology in Canada where she lived for 8 years. A traveller by nature, she has finally found her calling by becoming a photographer where she is able to mix her passion with her magic. David spent a life at sea in the Royal Navy, and yet still managed to find dry land after 25 years. He made the mistake of visiting Normandy for one night, found the love of his life, and has been captured ever since. An enthusiastic amateur historian who wrote his Masters thesis on the subject of D-Day, he would be delighted to provide a tour of the beaches and/or key sites if requested. He is, by nature, a patient man, which has been tested by Lyra's excitement about routinely finding one more old and very large piece of antique furniture.