It turns out that shucking oysters is an art form.
The main goal, of course, in this high-risk operation is to avoid horrible self-inflicted injuries, and for total beginners like me, that starts with searching YouTube for tutorials from sensible-sounding cooks.
Fortunately, at the beautifully renovated farmhouse, La Reverie, near the village of Gouville-sur-Mer in the Manche department of Normandy, you will find everything you need for a safe introduction to this risky but rewarding activity, including a chain mail glove. medieval looking mesh. and a paring knife and, if you need it, some safety instructions from the owner, James, on how to open these sumptuous local delicacies.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of restaurant and market experts who will do the work for you in this seafood-filled corner of France, the ideal place for a family beach vacation.
One of the great advantages of La Reverie is that it is easy to reach by car from the ports of Caen and Cherbourg. Our group of four adults and two children crossed on an early morning Brittany Ferries service from Portsmouth on a Saturday morning.
Julian and his family stayed at the beautifully renovated farmhouse, La Reverie, near the village of Gouville-sur-Mer in the Manche department of Normandy.
The country house is located within walking distance of wide, west-facing sandy beaches with endless sand and rock pools, and a coastline dotted with pop-up restaurants and beach bars. In the photo: Les Cabanes on the beach of Gouville-sur-Mer
The house has all the tools needed to try local oysters. And there are plenty of restaurant and market experts who will do the work for you.
From La Reverie and its sister property opposite, it is a gentle 10-minute bike ride past orchards, fields and charming villages to Gouville-sur-Mer with its weekly market and bakeries.
And from there, it’s a short drive to vast west-facing beaches with endless sand and rock pools, and a coastline dotted with pop-up restaurants and beach bars.
A must-see is La Cale, a rustic wooden hut that, slightly chaotically, serves oysters, huge mounds of mussels with chips and chunks of lamb or sausages cooked over a crackling wood fire.
It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset with a crisp Muscadet or local cider while tractors transport huge loads of freshly harvested seafood.
Back at La Reverie, there is everything you need to cook for yourself in a fabulous kitchen.
The property, lovingly renovated by the owner himself and awarded five stars by the French Tourist Board, is located on a quiet country street with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, barbecue and outdoor furniture in a charming landscaped garden.
At La Reverie, there is everything you need to cook for yourself in what is a true chef’s kitchen.
Inside, there are modern appliances, luxury bedrooms and bathrooms, and plenty of bikes, games, books, and guides to keep you busy.
One of the great advantages of La Reverie is that it is easy to reach by car from the ports of Caen and Cherbourg, says Julian
Inside, there are modern appliances with luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms and plenty of bikes, games, books and guides to keep you busy.
The interior is also filled with quirky artwork and antiques.
If the weather is bad or you prefer out-of-season visits, there is even a projector for watching movies or simply heading out to visit more markets in nearby Blainville and Coutainville, the old town of Granville, the magnificent Maison du Biscuit (a big hit with children for its delicious free samples) and the local antique center La Clé des Temps.
In our case, we enjoy an unbeatable climate with excursions to the beach, days of rest in the pool, horseback riding through the sand dunes and, of course, delighting in the paradisiacal gastronomic delights of the region.
The tourist office of La Mancha proudly declares on its website: “for a stay or forever.”
As our week came to an end, we wished it were the last.