2019, a new season

Unbelievable, the new year can hardly be called new anymore. 21 days, 11 hours and 52 minutes at this time of writing. Still, it is worth looking back on the 2018 season because despite an unforeseen water leakage at the beginning of the spring, it has been a great season for all our guests.

The flood

At the end of February the water pipes bursted on the first floor during a wintery period with extremely low temperatures. Here in France they spoke with awe about the ice-cold airflow between Moscow and Paris which occupied the front page for at least a week. Unfortunately we were absent and thus the water could flow freely during 10 days and eventually caused the collapse of the ceiling in the corridor. We only realised by mid-March that a part of our gîte had been transformed into an indoor swimming pool.

The repair – phase 1

Most of the damage was found in the hallway and the game room, but luckily we got help from local friends to clean everything and let it dry in the sun which had reappeared in the meantime.

During the Easter holidays in April, we worked hard to restore everything to its previous state as much as possible before the arrival of our first guests early May. Because some walls still contained too much moisture we unfortunately could not repair everything perfectly and we had to make a temporary ceiling with the help of a jute cloth. The floor of the game room also clearly showed traces of the unexpected water ballet. But at least we were able to leave La Camillette with peace of mind to our guests.

The repair – phase 2

After the summer season we were able to permanently repair all the walls and ceilings in the hallway and the bedroom on the ground floor. We also laid a completely new floor in the game room. Camille and Juliette helped a lot – 🙂

La Camillette is now fully restored to its original state and even improved in various places as shown in the photos below.

Preview of the 2019 season

This year we have plans to further renovate and improve the garden and the yard. Isabelle already has ideas for a few changes in the house also.

We are ready and look forward to receiving old and new guests in La Camillette this year. The first bookings are coming in but there is still room in the summer. However, do not wait too long with your reservation because we also get more and more interest from Belgian and German holidaymakers.

Kind regards and see you soon in La Camillette,

Jacques, Isabelle, Camille & Juliette

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2017 looking back at the season

2017 is already 2 weeks behind us and the new season is imminent. Much has changed in La Camillette over the past year. For example, in April we painted the entire outer wall with a mixture of lime, water and pigment in the typical  color of the ‘Le Perche’ region. In 2016 we started with the rear wall but now everything is really finished.

To do this job a special hoist had to be rented. This was a fun but also some exciting job because once the crane was at the right height, it blocked and did not want to go down again. Luckily, Camille and Juliette were closeby to place the biggest ladder they could find and finally everything went well.

Furthermore, Isabelle has painted ‘la cabane’, or the garden house, inside again and the roof has also been renewed after it was blown away by a spring storm.

The new lawn mower

A new lawnmower made it’s appearance back in June. It is an American model called “Snapper”, very suitable for our sometimes somewhat hilly garden. Camille and Juliette are now suddenly very motivated to lend a hand with mowing the lawn.

The tree house

There is now also a tree house installed. We have pruned the large willow tree in front of the house so that a cozy seat has been created on the inside of the tree. A small ladder was quickly found and with that, the tree house can now be visited by everyone.

The new season 2018

Before we can welcome our first guests this year, we have plans to further improve the interior. In April, during the Easter holidays, the large dark beams inside the house will get a new light gray color through a treatment consisting of milk and titanium powder. On the outside we will continue with improvements of the yard at the front of the house.

We still have capacity but you are adviced to book rapidly as usually the summer months tend to be fully booked by april.

Greetings and see you in La Camillette,

Jacques, Isabelle, Camille & Juliette

Here are some more pictures from last year.

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2016 More outdoor changes

This past year we continued with the renovation of La Camillette.

Around the house

In February, all the trees were pruned in the backyard. This was necessary because our fruit harvest had significantly declined in the past years. We’ve managed to save a few apples of the birds and other animals with a broad interest in a delicious fruity snack. (deer and wild pigs). In total we had 38 trees pruned. In the beginning it looked a bit bare, but this summer we could enjoy of a rejuvenated garden with lots of fresh green. We had no fruit at all but that seems to be normal after such treatment so our hopes on fresh apples, pears, plums and raspberries etc. are focused on this year.

In the autumn we also trimmed the big willow tree in front of the house and the three birch trees on the west side. This year we are planning to build a small tree terrace in the willow to play or enjoy the view.

The barn is ready

It took a total of two years but finally the last part of the barn has been completely restored. During the summer holidays we covered the front wall with a mixture of lime and hemp just like the other sides. Furthermore Isabelle has improved some more things on the terrace with her great eye for detail. We are very glad that this job is now finally done. It was sometimes a bit tough but we are thrilled with the end result.

Baking ‘ball’s of oil’

During the Christmas holidays we baked a dutch speciality called ‘Oliebollen”. This traditional food, which is only made on december 31st doesn’t have a very apitizing name but the taste is delicious. We also made apple fritters. Camille and Juliette spontaneously offered to take care of the less successful ones.

Preparation for the new season 2017

Even though it’s still early January, preparations have already begun for the new season. The first reservations have arrived and it looks like it’s going to be a busy season. During the Easter holidays we plan to continue painting the remaining sides of the house with the nice yellow paint. We also have plans to continue improving the garden and the yard. And why not a small vegetable garden for pumpkins? (We love “soupe de potiron” – :).

Finally, here are some pictures of the past year.

Posted in La Camillette News UK

2015 – looking back at the season

At the end of 2015 we look back on a busy and fun season. La Camillette was fully booked from May to September. This year we were delighted to receive many new guests and also meet some old friends again.

The renovation continues

During the spring and autumn time we went ahead with the reconstruction work especially on the terrace where we created a new two-seater bench and table from leftover planks from the old grange. The terrace is now a very pleasant place to enjoy the morning sun, even until late in the season. The above picture was taken on 1 November 2015.

The ping pong room is further enhanced with new lighting and a portion of the interior walls is covered with a thick layer of “chaux” (mixture of lime, sand and water). This traditional method is not only decorative, but has the additional positive effect to provide great heat and sound insulation. Furthermore, the existing garden furniture is repainted and refurbished and there are also two new benches for the terrace in front of the house . Obviously made from old beams coming from the barn – :). Indoors we have renewed all radiators and a number of smaller improvements for the comfort of our guests, such as a large standing mirror.

La Camillette inspires

One of our goals when we started with our gîte was that we wanted to offer a relaxing and inspiring environment to all our guests. Relaxing by the many different sights inside and around the house to enjoy the silence and the beautifull views of the surroundings. Inspiring by the presence of the piano for our musical guests but also inviting to other artistic activities.

Last season, one of our Belgian guests made the nice drawing below. We find it very beautiful and therefore it deserves a mention on our site.



In September, as a nice surprise at the end of the season, we received an official 4-star classification from the French tourist office.  Of course we are very happy and even a little proud.

The first bookings for the season 2016 are already coming and we are making  plans to fully renovate the west side of the barn. Furthermore we have plenty of other ideas to not get bored during the school holidays.

We wish all our guests a prosperous and healthy 2016.

Jacques Isabelle and Camille Juliette.

Posted in La Camillette News UK

The renovation of the barn

In March 2014 we started with the renovation of the barn. After having withstood wind & rain for 2 centuries, the barn had unfortunately become more or less a ruin and we were afraid that it might collapse. Whenever there had been a heavy storm during, our first reaction always was to check if the barn was still standing. At some point we were wondering if we wouldn’t find more tiles in the garden than on the roof itself. Needless to say we had some work to do.

Click on the images for a bigger version.

After 3 years of renovation experience we were not afraid of a new challenge, however restoring an 18th century traditional Normandy barn was a little bit beyond our reach. Therefore we found help from a professional carpenter and a mason. These 2 local companies thought of it as a real challenge to restore everything in traditional fashion. All wooden beams and roof tiles that were still in good condition have been re-used and where necessary, replaced mainly by other used materials found in the area. The back of the barn was left partly open to allow us to enjoy the gorgeous view on the surrounding meadows.

Two months and a lot of noise and dust later, the barn was already looking pretty nice : early May, we added tables and chairs, a ping pong table and a baby foot. Even though not everything was completed, we were glad to offer to our summer guests a new space to enjoy.

At the end of the summer, we carried with the renovation work by tearing down the modern fillings between the timbers in order to replace them by a mixture of lime powder and hemp (in French : béton de chanvre). This is a very old technique allowing to fill the space between the wood with naturals materials while obtaining a very good insulation. We found a hemp supplier in Bellême, (Normandy) and borrowed a concrete grinder. The whole process was not that complex : when the mixture starts looking like porridge, it’s ready for use. So far, we have been working on the North and East sides of the building, and filled some of the spaces between the timbers with panes in order to have as much natural light as possible.

In the end that old barn, which had been really falling apart, has become one of our favourite spots !

Posted in La Camillette News UK
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