La Petite Folie

Honfleur, Normandy, France Book from

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
Whether you choose B&B or self-catering, this warm and welcoming auberge is perfect for a romantic weekend in Honfleur
The Normandy town of Honfleur is bursting with charm. Its timber houses, old port and narrow cobbled streets inspired the Impressionist artists; foodies rave about its fabulous cheeses, cider and restaurants. All in all it's a great place for a long weekend or stopover on a drive to southern France.

But if you needed any more persuading, La Petite Folie is reason to come here in itself. Owned by a French-American couple, it consists of a splendid 1830s captain's house, a quaint 14th-century home next door, and a third building just along the road. The first is a B&B with pretty :bedrooms and suites, and its neighbours house self-catering apartments for 2-4, so you can choose what suits you. Outside, the houses are majestic; inside, the B&B is a comfortable haven, with a large salon, a cosy communal breakfast room with an open fire. You're ideally placed to explore Honfleur or drive to the beaches of Deauville, and just a few blocks from Michelin-starred restaurants.

Highs

  • Great location in the centre of Honfleur, just 100m from the historic port, Vieux Bassin
  • Wonderfully stylish, decor is both bang up to date and a fitting homage to these gorgeous historic buildings
  • Fabulous and very generous French breakfasts served in the cosy salon
  • A welcoming and charismatic team, who love to advise what to do in the area
  • The historic houses are typical of the region and beautifully styled inside

Lows

  • Strictly a 2-night minimum stay
  • There's only limited parking on site (and at extra cost), otherwise there's a (free) car park down the road
  • No lifts, and winding staircases throughout; not suitable for the frail
  • There's no restaurant on site, but Honfleur's world-class eateries are on your doorstep
  • Unsurprisingly, this picturesque harbour town is full of tourists in the summer months; we'd suggest visiting in spring or autumn

Best time to go

Although gorgeous all year round, the best time to visit Honfleur is during the months of September, October and November when the trees are full of colour, there are plenty of coquilles st jacques (fresh local scallops) and not so many tourists. Honfleur is heaving in the summer months and relatively quiet in the winter period. The hotel is closed during some of January and February.

Our top tips

Honfleur makes a great stopover on a drive from UK to the south of France, or on your return - but don't fly through too fast. There's a minimum stay of 2 nights, and we reckon 3-4 would be better to do justice to Honfleur's restaurants and shops (stock up on goodies for back home).

Do bear in mind that in high summer, its olde worlde charm draws hordes of tourists.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique B&B & Apartments
  • 12 (rooms and apartments)
  • Breakfast only; restaurants nearby
  • Over 18s only (except 2 apartments: over 10s only)
  • Closed: 24 Dec 2017 - 26 Dec 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

The Main House holds rooms and suites, all decorated differently and lavishly: Farrow & Ball wallpapers, Pierre Frey textiles, Porthault bedding. Most look over the garden and all have ensuite bathrooms with tasteful toiletries. On the second floor, Double Room Chez Rene is decorated in shades of mint and black. Opposite lie La Directoire and Le Kiosque, separate rooms which can be interconnected. Le Kiosque was designed with single women in mind (a salute to Penny's years as a solo traveller). Twin Room La Directoire has original-style floor tiles and 4 tall windows overlooking rue Haute. The bathroom fuses modern fixtures with an old-style bathtub. Double Room Mauve sits on the third floor, under sloped eave ceilings. It is the smallest but also one of the most romantic, with exposed wooden beams and a garden view. The third floor is also home to two Suites. La Chambre Bleue is a medley of 18th-century French fabrics, antique linens and oversized pillows. Le Studio Atelier breaks from tradition, as a lofty space with a rather more modern styling. It has a living room and kitchenette.

Next door, at 42 rue Haute is a beautiful 14th-century building holding 3 self-catering apartments. Original wooden beams and stone floors mingle with modern and stylish furnishings. Romantic first-floor Apartment Rouge (sleeps 2) has a stunning original fireplace (not functioning) and a cosy red colour scheme. Second-floor Apartment Anis (sleeps 2) is decorated in sage and muted yellow, with a separate bedroom and living area. Third-floor Apartment Le Trois has stunning exposed beams and endless windows for admiring those views (no lift, don't forget).

Two minutes' walk away, at 94 rue Haute, are 2 newer self-catering apartments. First-floor Apartment Gernezis a loft-style studio for 2, with huge windows overlooking a lovely garden. Two-bedroom Apartment Priscilla feels more like a house. Spread over 3 floors, it has a private entrance and a garden area with seating.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Heaters
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

For B&B guests (and those staying in Le Studio Atelier), a typical French breakfast is served at a communal table in the dining room, or at your own table in the salon if you prefer (please request the night before). Much of the produce is locally sourced, including local jams, butter, hardboiled eggs, cheeses, apple juice, croissants, cakes and pastries. You will also always find fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, cereal, a selection of teas, filter and espresso coffee. They like to mix it up and a different extra is available each day. Our favourite was the creamy fromage frais with a fruit coulis and fresh fruit, all from the market. Note, unless you ask for it, this is not the place for your full English breakfast, “When in Rome...”

The apartments have their own kitchens, with espresso maker, teapot, toaster, small fridge hot plates and microwave - enough for a sumptuous DIY breakfast, or light lunches/dinners if you want - though it's not really intended for long-term self-catering. Guests staying here can request to have breakfast delivered for a charge. It’s worth seeking out the local markets to pick up gorgeous meats, cheese, salad and fresh breads.

Otherwise, you're right in the heart of Honfleur and there are some excellent restaurants within walking distance. The Michelin-starred
Sa Qua Na is world class, and lots of international chefs come to Honfleur simply to eat here. The gastronomic specialties of the region include Calvados, cider and other apple-based drinks; world-famous cheeses such as Camembert, Pont L'Eveque, and Livarot; and sea food - mussels, oysters and scallops in particular.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Stroll around picturesque Honfleur. Its Vieux Bassin (old port), timbered houses and cobbled streets are charming, and the town recently won a 'Four Flowers' rating for its lush landscaping
  • Visit the local museums: Musee Eugène Boudin (featuring works by the artist who trained Monet), Les Maisons Erik Satie (a visual and musical tribute to the composer), and the Naturospace (a fabulous tropical space filled with orchids, palm trees, birds and thousands of beautiful butterflies) are all worth a tour
  • Pop into the 15th-century Eglise Sainte Catherine, one of the finest timber-frame churches in France
  • Walk into the countryside to see thatched houses and taste local cider
  • Take a day trip to Deauville or Trouville (beautiful beaches), the World War II landing beaches (and museum, if you're interested) or Bayeaux (with its famous tapestry). En route you'll drive through the pretty, undulating scenery of the Pays d'Auge and the Cote Fleurie
  • Play tennis or go for a swim at the municipality sports centre behind the hotel. There's also mini golf and lovely gardens to stroll around. Horse riding and proper golf are also available nearby - please enquire when booking. Deauville has a Thalasso spa with Olympic size heated salt pool and spa services
  • Visit the local Farmers Market and stock up on fab cheeses to take home

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

This hotel is not suitable for children. For security reasons and the comfort of other guests (primarily couples), children are not accepted in the B&B section of La Petite Folie, nor the majority of the apartments.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Well-behaved kids over 10 are welcome in the self-catering Apartment Priscilla (max 4 guests including children).

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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