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Diary of a guest at La Foret d'Armotte

French Croissants

"This morning was our first morning waking up at La Forêt d’Armotte and being 9am was a considerable lie in for me- normally I’m up at 6am for work! I was struck by the sheer peace and quiet inside the house; all I could hear were the birds merrily chirping outside- what a change from the flat in London! I fancied some croissants for breakfast and so I popped my shorts on and a T-shirt and began the short walk to the village bakery- I could see quite a few people were already up, enjoying breakfast in the morning sunshine on their terraces.

Walking through the residence I was struck by the sheer amount of flowers, trees and bushes around me and the sweet scents they emanated- it was such a nice change from anywhere I had stayed before. Fifteen minutes later I was back at the villa and my wife, Mary had already got the children up (Jonathan who’s 12 and Lucy who’s 10) and dressed the table on the terrace in preparation of the arrival of my warm, freshly-baked croissants!

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After breakfast we set out as a family on the bicycles we had rented and started through the forest, towards the beach called “La Grande Cote”- I could already smell the sea air and a few moments later we arrived at the sandy beach- wow what a view! We settled on a spot a few metres from the water’s edge, put the sun-cream on and watched the kids frolic around in the sea a bit. Then I just lay down and basked in the warm sunshine, listening to the rhythmic crashing of the waves- now I really felt like I was on holiday...

After a few hours at the beach we were all feeling a bit hungry so we got back on our bikes and headed along the coast into Saint-Palais-Sur-Mer. It was a pretty little seaside town and after wandering through the high street past the boutique shops, cafes and restaurants we settled on a restaurant on the sea front and got a table for the four of us on the terrace with magnificent views of the ocean. My wife and I had some delicious “Moules Marinieres” (sea mussels) to start with followed by some freshly caught “Coquilles St Jacques” (scallops) washed down with a crisp bottle of white wine while the children got stuck into some steak frites and Nutella crepes for dessert- everyone was happy!

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Full and content we then decided to get back on our bikes and head back to La Forêt d’Armotte for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. We cooled off in our outdoor pool for a while and then grabbed some refreshments whilst we rested on some sun loungers and watched the kids continue to splash around. As it was still early I decided there was still plenty of time for a round of golf at the nearby International 18-hole golf course at Royan- I had heard great things about it and was eager to test myself out on it! In the meantime Mary decided to relax on the terrace with reading a book while the kids joined some French children they had just met from the villa next door to play some football together which fortunately offered them plenty of distraction and would hopefully improve their French!

On my arrival back from the golf course the children were still feeling particularly energetic so we decided to play a quick game of doubles on one of the tennis courts within the residence. Some people were still relaxing at their villas whilst others were watching a group play what seemed a rather lively and competitive game of petanque whilst sipping on their drinks and having a good old catch up. After tennis we showered and changed in preparation for the night’s events; fortunately there was a bathroom for every bedroom in the house so there was no mad scramble to get in there!

Concert in Bordeaux

We had heard from another French family we met on the residence that day that there was in fact a classical music festival on the beach at Royan that evening- what luck! Wasting no time at all we took the car to Royan for dinner and drinks and then wandered down to the beach to watch this truly magnificent orchestra perform for us. It really was a special sight to behold with the sun setting over the ocean and views that were truly breath-taking, whilst listening to some exquisite music being played- one of those rare moments I will never forget.

With big smiles on all our faces we headed back to the resort and put the children to bed. Not quite done for the evening though Mary and I decided that it was too good an evening to let it end just there so we decided to have one last glass of wine from the Jacuzzi on the terrace. The water jets came on and the conversation flowed as easy as the wine as we felt our bodies soothed by the warm jets against our bodies- a mixture of tiredness and relaxation came over us. We smiled at each other, chinked our glasses and just enjoyed a moment of complete bliss together. We knew instantly that this would not be the last time we came to La Forêt d’Armotte.”

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