By Toby Rose
To stay at Les Manoirs is to stay in a setting steeped in cinema history. This was the home of a living legend of cinema, Claude Lelouch. His most famous film, Un Homme et Une Femme was a road movie which saw screen siren Anouk Aimée and leading man Jean-Louis Trintignant speeding from Paris to neighbouring Deauville in a Ford Mustang car. Without doubt, one of the most mythic car journeys in the history of French cinema.
Chabadabada, the recurring theme song from this film is doubtless one of the most recognizable slices on any Gallic soundtrack. The spirit of this Nouvelle Vague classic is channelled through the very lobby of this hotel.
This was a trip undertaken long before sat nav but at the fully refurbished Les Manoirs you can expect a thoroughly modern hotel offering. The backdrop to this site of cinema heritage are timbered dwellings which have mushroomed on a landscaped site around the home formerly inhabited by legendary French cinema auteur Lelouch.
From the restaurant next to the reception is a view onto a quadrangle around a peaceful lawn with inviting sun loungers – weather permitting! Around the quad are rooms – many triplexes. In keeping with the illustrious cinema theme the rooms have names of stars of the big screen, from the glamorous suite taking its name from Liz Taylor, to the more frivolous Laurel and Hardy. Dotted around the main complex are charming circular residences built in the local Normandy timbered style.
Themed it might be but this no theme park, it is a full service hotel offering.
I was greeted by a smiling efficient chap at reception and driven the short distance in a golf cart to my spacious suite in one of several outlying buildings. This village atmosphere is very harmonious and undulating lawns roll out between these newly constructed Norman timbered dwellings.
As Les Manoirs is very much a country retreat you will expect to spend your time enjoying the top of the range facilities. The swimming pool looks onto rolling fields and trees and so made all the more rewarding – very much a pool with a view. The gym and spa meet highest standards, and all can be enjoyed in an unhurried atmosphere, which ensures that leisure pursued here is at a leisurely pace. Green, and very pleasant and very French.
As befits a French hotel routed in its local setting, the food has a prominent part to play. The high ceilings of the circular dining room are a fine setting to enjoy a local menu with a modern touch. Norman dishes are the stars at table. Feast on sole á la Normande and tarte tatin.
Lovebirds will find this an idyllic spot to enjoy an unhurried and romantic break. At the same time it would make the perfect setting for a French rural wedding. This quaint corner of France can be reached direct from London City with a round the year new service on Cityjet from £169 return.
While the concept is very much self-sufficient country retreat – complete with nippy golf carts to transport you and your luggage around – les Manoirs is a short car ride away from the bright lights of Deauville and its more earthy twin town of Trouville. These are certainly the answer to the call for wilder kind of night.
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