Les Perchettes Visitors Guide

 2014 Edition


Les Perchettes is our seventeenth century stone built cottage set in the heart of the Normandy Bocage, very tranquil and very French. The walls are at least 2 feet thick, as are the oak beams and we have three massive granite fireplaces. We are in a hamlet of four inhabited houses, 1.5 miles from the village of St Pois in the middle of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Come for peace and quiet, for gentle rambling, beautiful beaches less than an hour away and some world famous attractions: Mont St Michel, Bayeux, the Normandy beaches, Fougères and Villedieu les Poêles.


The accommodation is described overleaf, basically it is suitable for up to 10/12 and comprises

o    Kitchen

o    Living/Dining room, table and benches, rocking chairs and antique Buffet and Armoire

o    Main (pink) bedroom with double bed

o    Family Bathroom

o    Galleon bedroom with double bed and en suite shower/wc room

o    Utility room off the Galleon room, with washing machine and tumble dryer

o    Loft bedroom with double bed and single bed, en suite wc and washbasin

o    Games room with table tennis, table football, air hockey and darts

o    West living room with corner kitchen

o    Blue double bedroom with en suite shower/wc

o    Small single bedroom

o    Yellow bedroom with twin beds and en suite bathroom


We have a number of front door keys and will let you have one before you go, please leave it in the box in the table drawer when you leave. The key opens the upper Yale lock on the blue kitchen door up the stone steps. We don't use the other front door lock. The keys to the other doors are in the drawer at the end of the big table in the main living room, or left on hooks by doors. There is now a keysafe by the kitchen door as backup – text me on 07765403812 and I will let you have the code if you get stuck!



Usually left on when the house is empty. The meters etc are in the living room behind the curtains - there is an on-off switch (disjoncteur). If you should need to turn the electricity off, switch the knob to 0, (1 is on). Switch it back to 1 if it should trip off if it becomes overloaded - it rarely happens. 220 volts, continental plugs - there should be continental adaptors around - please don't take them home with you by accident, also there are  English extension blocks for mobiles, laptops etc in each living room. There are several electric heaters, please feel free to move them around, unplug them when you leave and don’t leave them on unnecessarily. If you arrive in the dark, the light switches are straight ahead of you in the kitchen, above the fridge by the door into the main living room. The outside light is switched at the bottom of the loft stairway.


Telephone and Internet

The landline is  0033 233 58 56 37, turned off through the winter. Broadband  has not yet reached our lane so we have installed an equivalent (via microwaves from the water tower on the ridge), which is WIFI and always on. The stone walls make some cold spots. If it needs resetting, unplug and re-plug on the landing outside the blue bedroom and cross your fingers. There are repeaters on the small armoire in the West lvingoom and high up in the cubbyhole on the landing outside the main kitchen. Connect to Perchetteswifi, password is also Perchetteswifi.


Locking up -Some of these are not necessary in summer when the next visitors are coming immediately

·      Gas bottles turned off,

·      Leave fridges on

·      Switch off both the immersion heaters (depress the top of the switch)

·      Water off (Winter only)

·      Leave electricity on

·      Visitors' book in drawer in table in living room,

·      Keys in the box in the dining table drawer, come again and tell your friends!




Main Kitchen 

Up the stone steps to the front door into the kitchen on the main floor - sink, electric fridge, dishwasher, Butagas gas cooker with oven, microwave etc.  Pans, crockery and cutlery for 8. I leave iron rations of tea, coffee, soup and tins in the larger bread bin - feel free to use and replace them. There are often some staples left in the cupboard and the fridge – use them or throw them out. The fridge is left on through the summer. Plenty of drying up cloths. Gas bottle downstairs in the cupboard in the Games Room, blue lever vertical is ON


The water is mains and good to drink. The main stopcock is downstairs in the Games Room by the left hand side of the fireplace in a wooden insulated box - it may be turned off during the winter.

Living Room

Straight forward to the main living room with traditional French dining table and benches, sofa, rocking  chairs, buffet sideboard and large antique armoire. There is a granite fireplace with a woodburner. Wood is kept in the middle cellar. There is no TV but there is an old radio. The buffet sideboard contains maps and brochures, playing cards and games, sewing things together with lots of drinking glasses. Electric heater with time clock. In the armoire you will find spare bedding, hot water bottles and a raclette set.

Pink Bedroom

Through the triangular door under the loft stairs to the landing for the bathroom and passage to the other part of the house. Here is the pink double bedroom with a double bed and large wardrobe. Most rooms have a selection of paperbacks, mainly light holiday reading but some reference and more serious stuff – feel free to take one home if you haven’t finished it (PS they have arrived from all over the place and do not necessarily reflect our tastes!)

Bathroom with bath/shower unit, basin and WC.

Hot water is via an immersion heater (chauffe eau) in the bathroom, which is on a time clock inside the airing cupboard. It takes a few hours to warm up, so turn it on as soon as you arrive. When you leave please turn off the chauffe eau by depressing the top of the switch on the front of the airing cupboard - the switch has a red indicator light. This immersion serves the family bathroom, kitchen and loft bedroom en suite. There is a time switch inside the airing cupboard. An old hairdryer lives in the airing cupboard with some towels and First Aid things.

In the cubbyhole next to the bathroom are cleaning tools etc. and a repeater for the wifi.

Galleon Room

Through the corridor between the bathroom and pink bedroom to the Galleon Room with double bed. So-called because the original wallpaper had extremely lop-sided galleons and fishing boats – we have framed a fragment. There is an en suite shower room with basin and wc, and also a utility room with washing machine  and tumble dryer (with “Honesty Box”), iron and board – a second water heater is in here and will need to be turned on when you arrive and off when you leave. This hot water tank serves the Galleon room en suite, the west kitchen, twin and blue bedrooms’ en suites. Geography of thick stone walls means this room is a thoroughfare, so don’t pick it if you want to go to bed early or sleep late – or lock the doors and make people go round outside!

Loft bedroom                                   

As you come into the kitchen from outside there is a wooden door immediately on your right leading to a steep staircase up to the attic which has a double bed, a single bed and a Z-bed. The roof is well insulated but this enormously high room can be hot in summer and cold in winter. There is an electric fan and radiator. The en suite loo and wash basin is through an oak door – beyond, through another door  is a fire escape way through to the ”new” part of the house – please investigate and then keep children safe.

Downstairs to Atelier (Wokshop) and Cellars (awaiting further work!)

Firewood and kindling is kept in the middle cellar. We tend to keep small quantities of building materials in the cellars- there is often some cement, plaster and lime in plastic bags. Obviously they can present a hazard to small children. There is some very evil weed killer.

Games room                                     

A large downstairs room with another granite fireplace and old wood burner. Table football and the table tennis table are here with dart board, air hockey and a sofa. The table is full size - if you are keen player take some good bats and balls, the ones there are ancient and the lights get in the way of professional players! We would prefer if smoking was limited to this room. The gas cylinders are kept downstairs in this room, hidden in the massive cupboard, together with spares for the main kitchen and the West kitchen. Please ensure both cooker bottles are turned off (blue levers horizontal) when you leave, pressing the green button is a reset which may help gas to flow.


West Living Room

Through the Galleon room to the West living room with sofa, comfortable chairs, small armoire, table with benches and a wood burning stove in the granite fireplace. The corner kitchen includes a gas cooker with oven, a dishwasher, fridge freezer and microwave. I have crockery etc for 6 here. The cooker hob lights electronically by button, the oven and grill by match. Please lift the lid even when only using the oven, the air vents are beneath it. The gas bottle is in a little cupboard by the kitchen door, instructions for turning it on and replacing it are in the cupboard, there is a spare is in the Games Room cupboard. Glasses and additional crockery are in the wall cupboard above the table, tea towels in the armoire.

Blue bedroom

Up the oak stairs to a charming double bedroom with wardrobe, dressing table etc and en suite shower room with wc and basin (NB drainage is by a macerator, do not switch off, do not put anything unsuitable down it).

Small bedroom – with single bed (the travel cots and potty are currently kept here).

Yellow Bedroom – with twin beds. Bathroom with washbasin, loo and bath. The step ladder built in to the fire escape route belonged to Ann’s grandfather Bill Cooper.



We have  king size duvets in a mixture of weights, some singles and some spares, (they may be hidden in the armoire or in the wardrobes in the bedrooms) and plenty of pillows. Please bring your own bed linen and towels. I leave old covers on when we are not there to keep the bedding clean, please replace when you leave. There is also an old (stained) duvet in a dark green cover in the big armoire – we use it for kids on the floor or out in the garden. Hot water bottles in the armoires.



There is a large table made of recycled plastic and wood in the garden and some plastic chairs and loungers are kept in the middle cellar. There is a barbecue also kept in the middle cellar, together with the washing whirligig. We have an unfenced pond/stream, fed by underground pipes from the spring at the top of the hill, with hungry goldfish most of which have been born in this pond. Fish food in the middle cellar, don’t over feed please. There is a climbing frame with slide etc – please use sensibly. Two parasols, please close them overnight and if you go out, we can get very strong winds up the valley. We have arranged for Martin to periodically cut the grass around the house, but please water the window boxes.

As well as the garden with the pond, our land comprises two fields - the old orchard with the thunderbox and bakehouse, and the field with the large concrete barn. There may be two horses in one or other of our fields. Athos, the grey Percheron, belongs to Annika Lenjou who is a vet in Brecey and lives in the house across the lane and her landlord’s chestnut is Bounty. She is happy if they are fed carrots or dry bread from a flat hand. She moves them around several fields in the locality – do not disturb their electric fencing.


Bagged household rubbish is collected from the bottom corner of our field on Wednesdays. They are very keen on recycling locally, bottles, papers and plastic bottles and cardboard juice cartons can be offloaded by the Mairie in Cuves, by the Stade in St Pois or in the Super U car park in Brecey. Put your bags in our circular bin or Jim’s wheelie bin.

Loo and septic tank etc

We had a large septic tank installed  which is perfectly pleasant and causes us no problems. PLEASE do not put anything with plastic - sanitary towels, nappies etc. down the toilet - the septic tank will not cope.

Fauna please remember this is a country house which is not permanently inhabited. You will definitely find cobwebs – there may be more insects than you are used to and occasionally you may find evidence of mice – especially if you are not careful about leaving food around. If this worries you, go to a hotel! – but we think the tranquillity and variety of birds, wild flowers etc is worth the occasional battle with creepy crawlies.


Restaurants    If you discover a super restaurant please pin its details to the kitchen notice-board. Try  the Moulin de Jean at the end of the lane and turn left. This will provide an exquisite meal, £27 for 2 courses, £33 for three, which would cost £100 or so in London. Highly recommended as well are the restaurant at the Musee de la See on the way to Sourdeval, the Littré and Croix d’Or in Avranches and the Manoir de l’Acherie to the east  of Villedieu. The St Pois Bar Normandy has apparently gone downhill for lunch – but good reports of the bar in Brecey main Square – just uphill from the best boulangerie, and the pizza place opposite


Petrol is available 7 days a week, 7am to 9pm at the Total garage in Brécey for which you turn right when you pass the church, (rather than left, which would take you towards the main square) and also at the Super U (24hrs by card).


Safety etc

Obviously we have done everything we reasonably can to make sure the house is safe for visitors. You will see that a lot of work has been done and some is still under way. We cannot accept any responsibility at all for yourselves or your goods. There are stairgates to use, window locks and door bolts/hooks but toddlers will need careful watching!




Through the en-suite in the loft you can reach the “new” part of the house or vice versa.


Charges – 2014

We charge £70 (£60 for 4 people or less, £80 for 9-12) a night out of season minimum 3 nights and £80 (£70 for small groups, £90 for 9-12) a night during July and August. Discounts for previous visitors, colleagues etc.


We have decided not to rent the property out as two separate units as the Games room, outside space etc do not split obviously – so I have a reduced rate for groups of four or less. Obviously the accommodation is now especially suitable for multi-generational families or groups of friends.


Time of arrival and departure

During July and August we normally ask visitors to go on a Saturday to Saturday basis, arriving after 12 noon and leaving before 12 noon. Outside July and August I will tell you if anyone is booked immediately before or after you in which case there is a noon changeover. There is a minimum of 3 nights rental.


Clearing Up 

Please leave the place clean and tidy. We do not employ a cleaning service to keep costs (ours and yours) down. I can sometimes  arrange cleaning and bedlinen  - costs on application.


Names and addresses


John & Ann Tillotson

 - in the UK            19C London Rd, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9ET

                                      from France 0044 1462 433110                      Mobile 07765 403812

 - in France            les Perchettes, Cuves 50670, France

              Tel  from UK 00 33 233 58 56 37

LES PERCHETTES – Schematic – South Elevation






Blue Bedroom, en suite and small single bedroom


Twin Bedroom and Bathroom


En suite to Attic bedroom


Attic bedroom


West Living room and Kitchen


Galleon bedroom, en suite and Laundry


Pink bedroom, Family bathroom


Living room and kitchen


End Cellar Workshop


Middle cellar, wood store


Atelier, workshop


Games room






Things to Do

St Pois is a centre for rambling and we have a brochure and a book of way-marked walks in the sideboard drawer.


Mont St Michel 30 miles. Consider going at night to eat when its less crowded, the souvenir shops are mostly shut and it looms floodlit out of the mist as you approach.  In the Historical Museum there is a camera obscura worked by a periscope.


St Michel de Montjoie - has a Granite museum and an orientation platform with Mont St Michel sometimes visible, the first view for pilgrims in the past.


Villedieu – is a lovely tourist market town which has many copper shops - also a bell foundry, furniture museum etc and a tourist information office - about 12 miles. There is a junk shop (Depot Vente) on the way in to town on your left, easy parking. You can get a three-in-one ticket for the lace museum, the copper museum and furniture museum. We found the furniture museum perhaps the best because they have a room there from the same period as the downstairs room in the house, restored to an original state.


Avranches - A busy town on the way to Mont St Michel, lots of shops and the Botanical Gardens which are illuminated at night with classical music from the trees!


Bayeux - the tapestry - 50 miles. One of the most famous artefacts of English History. Don’t miss it!


Normandy Beaches – Visit the WW2 German gun emplacements and the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches.


Fougeres - 38 miles south. Magnificent castle, pretty town, Impressionist museum and amazing trompe l'oeuil painting on a building-end.


Brécey - There is a small open air swimming pool and fishing lake on the outskirts of Brecey, also tennis and horse riding facilities.


Beaches  - for seaside go north or south of Granville. Brehal and Jullouville have beautiful sands, Jullouville has windsurfing and an Aquaboggan - they are both unspoilt by English standards. St Pair has less good sand but has a concrete pool which is replenished twice daily by the tide.


St Sever – good junk shop, beautiful Abbey church, communal forest with lakes, picnic spot and way-marked walks



St Pois - has a couple of general stores, a small supermarket, bread, butcher, bars etc. - there is a small market in St Pois on Thursday morning. Turn left at the top roundabout for a small supermarket.25 minutes walk through a beautiful valley or 5 mins drive.


Cuves - has a small bread/general store.


Brécey  - is a nice town with a Cochinelle (Ladybird) supermarket in the main square. The SuperU, also in Brécey is the easiest supermarket to use, and sells petrol. It is signposted to your left as you enter the town. Please use my loyalty card which you will find with the spare keys. The best boulangerie is on the left side of the square, if you are looking down from the Mairie. Market in the square on Friday – try the paella if the man is there.


Larger hypermarkets are on the outskirts of Villedieu, St Hilaire de Harcouet, Granville, Avranches, Vire.


Villedieu  - The market is Tuesday morning - it is an absolute delight. Other market days are in a pamphlet on the kitchen board.


St Hilaire - Arguably the best market – Wednesday, but go early. Fish, live chickens, pets etc etc


Granville - market on Wednesday, shops, restaurants and boutiques, aquarium and a busy port - 25 miles; ferries to the Chaussey Isles and the Channel Isles. Good seafood restaurants. Christian Dior mansion with dresses, films of catwalk shows, gardens and tearoom.


Further afield

Paris on the train from Vire, just over 2 hours so a feasible day trip.

Suisse Normande – a lovely route, brochure in buffet

Bungey jumping at Viaduc du Souleuvre, north of Vire – exciting just to watch over a beer or coffee

Jublains – amazing Roman site

Lavalle – pretty town with river trips

Le Mans

Giverney – Monet’s garden

Paris – for a long day trip by rail from Vire


How to get there

Cherbourg is about  2 hours, Caen is 1 hour 30mins - and we enclose a sketch map of the local approach from St Pois. Ryanair now fly from Stanstead to Dinard, you would need to hire a car  about 60 miles. The tunnel is way to the north east of the direct sea routes and we have never used it. Occasionally others have and report that it is 285 miles from Calais and takes around 5 hours. But if you get free petrol . . . . NB our satnav can find  Les Perchettes by using Cuves as the town, les perchettes as the street, BUT it takes you up an old lane which no longer reaches our house. Try Cuves, la Lande which is at the end of our lane.


From Caen 

The  port is actually at Ouistreham, about 10 miles north of Caen. The new A84 motorway from Caen to Avranches has been largely completed

0 miles             follow signs to Caen - road soon becomes a dual carriageway

8 miles             turn off right onto ring road to skirt Caen - signed Rennes, Mont St Michel, Vire.

x miles             turn right to north south ring road – signed as above

x miles             turn right to new motorway A84 which now goes right through to Villedieu

                        Instructions from A84 below


From Cherbourg Go into the centre of town and follow the signs for Caen, Rennes along the N13.

About 32 miles Turn off the motorway immediately after  going under the Pont Canal.

                        Aim for Rennes, skirt St Lo until you turn right along the A84 motorway.

                        Come off  A84 at Villedieu junction 38


From A84      Jnc 38 towards Villedieu les Poeles

0 miles             Stay on D999 past Villedieu to dual carriageway, signed Brecey.

1.3 miles           Turn right onto dual carriageway D975

2.2 miles           Turn left in 1 mile - signed to Vire D924.

Immediately right over railway line, signposted to Brecey D999.

3.6 miles           Turn left towards Mortain and St Pois D33.

                        Straight through Coulouvray Boisbenatre to St Pois.

11.9 miles          Straight forward at the roundabout, down the hill past the Mairie on your right and continue 100 yards,

12.1 miles          Where the main road turns sharp left - you go straight on, signed Cuves D48.

13.3 miles         Turn left along the lane before the signed bend (small blue les perchettes sign on top side of the junction)- see sketch map. If you pass the Moulin de Jean you have gone too far. Our house has white gates with a sign of a carved painted sheep.




Les Perchettes - Restaurant Guide   2014

Very subjective – we tend to only eat out “posh” - buying ready prepared food when we feel lazy – charcuteries, markets (paella at Brecey on Fridays), even frozen food is different and better from that available at home. But there are plenty of bars and restaurants which do a good 4 course working mens lunch for about €10 – eg the shop in Cuves, the Sports bar on the way into Brecey etc.


Food and



“in no particular order”


Menu cost



Le Fruitier – Place des Costils, Villedieu

02 33 90 51 00    www.le-fruitier.com

Lots of seafood, lots of choice

€25  and €34

3 courses



Le Moulin de Jean – la Lande, Cuves

02 33 48 39 29   www.lemoulindejean.com

Very elegant and tasty food, walkable

€29   2 courses

€ 37  3 courses



La Ferme de Malte – rue Jules Tetrel, Villedieu

002 33 91 35 91  www lafermedemalte.fr

Beautiful room and garden, food very rich, expensive not much choice

€29 simple menu

€45 next one up



Manoir de l’Acherie – St Cecile near Villedieu

02 333  www.manoir-acherie.fr

Lovely building, note the oval staircase. Mixed reviews recently.

Good food, grills on open fire, sauces in mini copper saucepans

€17 and €28

3/4 courses



Auberge du Moulin – le Moulin de la Sée, Brouains

02 33 59 50 60 www.aubergedumoulin.fr

Behind the Museum, walks along the valley

Good food, nicely presented, good Sunday lunch, lacks atmosphere

€25 and €35

4 courses

Also cheap, good set lunch



La Croix d’Or – rue de la Constitution, Avranches

Lovely old coaching inn, a bargain, best cheese board around. Service can be very slow.

€26 and €36

4 courses



Le Pussoir Fidèle – Villedieu

02 33 51 94 58

Pub restaurant – live music Saturday evenings in summer




Le Littré – Avranches Centre

Good bar food and nice atmosphere in dining room




Le Petit Nicolas Pizza, Brecey

Good Pizza, daily menu, pasta and grills. Kids can have chicken nuggets and Smarty ice cream. Pichet (jug) of house wine is good.