A shell of a vacation! Oysters galore in a fabulously gourmet corner of Normandy… and a gem of a gîte delivered with its own shucking kit

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It turns out that shucking oysters is somewhat of an art form.

The main goal, of course, of this high-stakes operation is to avoid terrible self-inflicted injuries – and for newbies like me, that starts with scrubbing. Youtube for sensible cooking tutorials.

Fortunately, at the beautifully renovated farmhouse of La Rêverie, near the village of Gouville-sur-Mer in the Manche department of Normandy, you will find everything you need to safely try this risky activity. and rewarding – including a medieval-looking chainmail glove. and a shucking knife and, if you need it, some safety instructions from the owner, James, on how to open these sumptuous local delicacies.

Luckily, there are also plenty of experts at restaurants and markets who will do the work for you in this seafood corner of the region. France – the perfect place for a family beach vacation.

One of the great advantages of La Rêverie is that it is easily accessible by car from the ports of Caen and Cherbourg. Our group of four adults and two children crossed early on a Brittany Ferries service from Portsmouth on a Saturday morning.

Julian and his family stayed at the beautifully renovated farmhouse, La Rêverie, near the village of Gouville-sur-Mer in the Manche department of Normandy.

Julian and his family stayed at the beautifully renovated farmhouse, La Rêverie, near the village of Gouville-sur-Mer in the Manche department of Normandy.

The lodge is a short distance from expansive, west-facing sandy beaches with endless sand and rock pools - and a coastline dotted with pop-up restaurants and beach bars.  In the photo: The Cabins at the beach of Gouville-sur-Mer

The lodge is a short distance from expansive, west-facing sandy beaches with endless sand and rock pools – and a coastline dotted with pop-up restaurants and beach bars. In the photo: The Cabins at the beach of Gouville-sur-Mer

The house has all the necessary tools to taste local oysters.  And there are plenty of experts in restaurants and markets who will do the work for you.

The house has all the necessary tools to taste local oysters. And there are plenty of experts in restaurants and markets who will do the work for you.

From La Rêverie and its sister property opposite, it’s a gentle 10-minute bike ride through orchards, fields and charming hamlets to Gouville-sur-Mer with its weekly market and bakeries.

And from there it’s just a short distance to expansive west-facing beaches with endless sand and rock pools – and a coastline dotted with pop-up restaurants and beach bars.

A must-visit is La Cale, a rustic wooden cabin which, in a slightly chaotic way, serves oysters, huge mounds of mussels and fries and chunks of lamb or sausages cooked over a wood fire.

It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset with a crisp muscadet or local cider while tractors haul away huge loads of freshly harvested shellfish.

Back at La Rêverie, there is everything you need to cook for yourself in a fabulous kitchen.

The property, carefully renovated by the owner himself and awarded five stars by the French Tourist Office, is located on a quiet country road with a swimming pool, hot tub, barbecue and garden furniture in a charming landscaped garden.

At La Rêverie, there is everything you need to concoct a real delight in a real chef's kitchen.

At La Rêverie, there is everything you need to concoct a real delicacy yourself in a real chef’s kitchen.

Inside, you'll find modern appliances, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, and plenty of bikes, games, books, and guides to keep you occupied.

Inside, you’ll find modern appliances, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, and plenty of bikes, games, books, and guides to keep you occupied.

One of the great advantages of La Rêverie is that it is easily accessible by car from the ports of Caen and Cherbourg, notes Julian.

One of the great advantages of La Rêverie is that it is easily accessible by car from the ports of Caen and Cherbourg, notes Julian.

TRAVEL FACTS

Julien was hosted by Dream Gites And Saw day. Prices for La Rêverie start at £2,000 per week.

Rating out of five: 4.5

GETTING THERE

Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and return from Caen.

Inside, you’ll find modern appliances, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, and plenty of bikes, games, books, and guides to keep you occupied.

The interior is also full of original artwork and antiques.

If the weather isn’t great or for out-of-season visits, there’s even a projector for watching films – or just going on excursions to other markets near Blainville and Coutainville, the old town de Granville, the magnificent Maison du Biscuit (a big hit with children for its tasty free samples) and the local antiques center La Clé des Temps.

In our case, we enjoyed superb weather with trips to the beach, lazy days by the pool, horseback riding in the sand dunes and, of course, feasting on the heavenly gastronomic delights of the region.

The La Manche Tourist Office proudly declares on its website “for a stay or forever”.

At the end of our week, we wished it had been the latter.

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