Vacation rentals in France (farms, cottages, gites, apartments)
Review 3063: Owner, Artist's Cottage in Honfleur
2bed/2bath cottage in Honfleur, Normandy
September 2007, 4 nights
Two of us spent Monday-Thursday nights at the Artist's Cottage. The cottage location was very convenient for touring the city; it was a quick walk to the center of Honfleur. The free car park was less than five minutes from the house.
The cottage is not on an actual "street" - it's accessed from a locked gate at the side of a long set of stone steps between one street and another. Unloading and loading our luggage was a bit of a chore due to the steps, the narrow streets and lack of on street parking (we double parked in front of a garage when we arrived and left), but it was manageable.
Everything we needed was within walking distance of the cottage. Prior to arriving, we'd stopped at the large supermarket in Beauzeville to stock up on bottled water, bread, etc., but there were at least two grocery stores within a 10 minute walk. The picturesque Honfleur harbor, restaurants, art galleries, shops, banks, and many cheese, bread and fresh fish shops were nearby.
The nearest Internet cafe - 'Jardin de Artistes' on Boulevard Charles V - was about five minutes from the cottage. (Cost was €5/hour + whatever spent on food or drink.)
The cottage is historical (~200 years old), and unfortunately not in great shape.
The private terrace was one of the nicest things about the cottage. It was lovely and peaceful, and the flowers and greenery made it a little haven. It got morning and late afternoon sun that made it an enjoyable, relaxing spot.
The living room furniture was in okay shape, but there was only one comfortable upholstered chair. The chairs for the small table were metal and not comfortable for sitting very long, e.g., watching TV in the evenings. We did enjoy the satellite TV, with lots of BBC channels on it.
There was no place to put clothes away; the narrow closet in the upstairs bedroom was full of blankets and linens. There was no other available closet or drawer space in the rest of the cottage. I had to leave my clothes in the suitcase on the bedroom floor and hang clothes from a curtain rod.
Shannon slept on the sofa in the mid-level living room, and also had to keep her luggage out and drape clothes over the doors and banisters.
We were very disappointed by the lack of cleanliness in the house. It was dirty when we arrived and housekeeping had clearly been neglected for some time. There was a thick layer of dust on the living room floor. There were onion shavings on the kitchen floor, crumbs on a breadboard from the previous guests, a used teabag in the (unlined) kitchen garbage pail. There were thick cobwebs hanging from the ceiling in the upstairs bedroom, and dirt and webs in the corners of every room's floor and ceiling.
We didn't use the downstairs area for anything except showering, as Shannon had seen a HUGE spider there the afternoon we arrived and it freaked us out. Neither of us wanted to spend any time down there.
The downstairs shower, sink and toilet were clean but the floors hadn't been swept. There was a battery on the floor behind a radiator; one would think it would be hard to miss seeing it. The slatted wood ceiling above the shower was thick with spider and/or cobwebs.
The large bed in the upstairs bedroom was comfortable and the linens were clean. As noted, there was no place to hang or store clothes. The stained fabric walls were unappealing to look at.
Shannon slept on the sofa in the living room (to avoid sleeping downstairs with the mega-spider), and said the sofa was fairly comfortable but a real bed would have been much nicer.
The downstairs had a toilet, sink and shower. The mid-level had a toilet and sink. Upstairs was a sink and bathtub. There were plenty of clean white bath towels. The shower had good water pressure and enough hot water for the two of us to each have a hot shower daily, but again, not pleasant to look up to see a bunch of cobwebs.
There was a small kitchen downstairs, but because of the spider issue, we only used the little kitchen on the mid-level. There was minimal counter space, and a minuscule dish drainer above the sink that was full when we arrived.
The stove was tucked into a corner and not easy to access, so we chose not to cook during our stay. The only thing we did in the kitchen was prepare picnics, and make coffee and toast.
Dishes were kept in a locked sideboard in the living room that we couldn't get open. We ended up taking out the top drawer and reaching down to the sideboard shelf to get two cups and two bowls to use during our stay. (Later we realized that there were also dishes available in the downstairs cupboard.)
Problems or Bonuses
I understand that a 200 year old house must be a money pit to maintain. However, keeping it clean can't cost that much. I can overlook cosmetic flaws, but when I don't even want to be there because of the yickiness of the floors and ceilings, that's just not right.
There should be somewhere for guests to store their belongings; I'm very surprised that none of the other reviews mentioned this.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Making rental arrangements with Dave and Aralynn was easy and trouble free.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The hardest thing about writing this honest review was knowing that owners kind-hearted Dave and Aralynn would be reading it. I am sad to say that while I enjoyed Honfleur I did not enjoy staying at the cottage. I actually wanted to leave after one night, even though it would have meant paying for it as well as other accommodation.
In the condition that the cottage is in, I would not stay there again and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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