It’s very rare, but once in a blue moon, you come across a holiday place that’s so special it leaves a mark on your heart.
Core memories are created.
You feel at peace and completely relaxed. Each holiday place you stay in should be a haven where you can totally switch off. But the best holiday homes in France have that ‘je ne sais quoi.’
Manoir du Vau d’Arz has the X Factor. We stayed there for five days in December. It’s a French manor house nestled by the banks of the Arz River in the Vau d’Arz Park. I almost don’t want to write about it and let other people know about it because I don’t want it to get booked up!
I stumbled upon the Manoir du Vau d’Arz website when I was looking to visit Rochefort en Terre, which has the most magical Christmas illuminations throughout December. I was searching for a Rochefort en Terre hotel, and I ended up finding this extremely charming Brittany bed and breakfast.
It was the perfect winter getaway, and Rochefort en Terre (In 2009, Rochefort-en-Terre became one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France) was everything we could have imagined and more.
If you want to get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy a calming festive break pre-Christmas, this is the place to go. Here’s a review of Manoir du Vau d’Arz and an insight into what we got up to on our trip, including things to do and see locally.
The Content Wolf Travel Rating Score 58/60
- Service – 10
- Uniqueness – 10
- Location – 9
- Comfort – 10
- Cleanliness – 10
- Facilities – 9
A charming Brittany holiday cottage (with a pool!)
Manoir du Vau is a few minutes’ drive from Rochefort-en-terre, which is a commune in Morbihan, Brittany (in the north-west of France). If you’re driving from the UK, you can expect it to take you just over six hours from Calais (traffic dependent, obviously). So it’s not too far at all. You can do it in a day. We got an early train at like 6 am in the morning and got there in time to check in around 4 pm (that’s with a few stops along the way).
Location – the perfect place to stay in Brittany
The manor is located a two-minute drive from Rochefort-en-Terre. It has topped the list of the prettiest villages in France, and when you get there and see it for yourself, it’s easy to understand why. The manor house is a little difficult to find, but aren’t all the best places hidden away in secret spots? The owner, Sophie, was on hand to guide us. The manor resides in the Domaine du Var d’Arz park, and the Arz River literally flows right through the grounds. It’s simply mesmerising.
Brittany holiday accommodation
This place is kind of a cross between a bed and breakfast and holiday cottages because it does both! You can stay in one of their historic b and b rooms, or there are two gite-style cottages you can stay in. We stayed in Broceliande, and it was exactly the kind of calming haven we were hoping for.
On the ground floor, you’ve got an open-plan lounge/kitchen with absolutely beautiful decor, including a pretty wall mural. There are double patio doors that display a charming view of woodland and fields. There’s also a small washing room with some extra bits you might need, and a downstairs toilet which is handy (particularly with kids).
Upstairs there are two large bedrooms. I have to say, the mattresses were so luxurious and comfortable, probably the best we’ve ever slept on! They’re recommended by the French Association of Sports Physiotherapists. The upstairs bathroom is absolutely stunning; it features a shower and his and hers basins.
Broceliande has a view of the pool. Due to it being December when we visited, the pool wasn’t heated (I believe it’s heated until October), but my husband still decided to take a quick dip in the freezing water. So if you visit in the winter, you can indulge in a little cold water therapy!
Naturally, the pool is a huge draw. But the grounds are also worth exploring. I just can’t explain how relaxing it was staying here. I really felt like it was a home from home and somewhere I could really switch off from the world.
Staying in such a historic property is quite an experience. They’ve got a spiral staircase from the 16th century. Standing outside of the property, it really does feel magical and authentic. If you want to find out more about the history of the Manor House, click here.
There were a few added extras that the owners, Sophie and Dominique, provided that made our stay extra special. For example, you can arrange to have a massage on-site, and you can also order some ice cream. It’s all these little things that make Manoir du Vau d’Arz stand out.
If you want to visit a chocolate box village set on a hillside with medieval-looking buildings and cobbled streets, then you won’t be disappointed with Rochefort en Terre. I can’t speak for what it’s like to visit in the summer, but in winter, the village becomes filled with stunning illuminations. It’s as though you’re walking right through a fairytale.
The streets are adorned with Christmas decorations and fun festive statues, and there are so many fairy lights. You certainly won’t fail to get into the Christmas spirit. The children absolutely loved it. They spent most of their time chasing the bubbles through the street and dancing to the sing-along Father Christmas.
If you find large Christmas markets too overwhelming, then Rochefort-en-Terre is the perfect compromise. You can enjoy browsing all the local festive products in the shops instead of in stalls. There are a few lovely restaurants and cafes here; we enjoyed a couple of meals at one of the creperies (Cafe Breton). We also really like a restaurant just outside of the village called Auberge du Moulin Neuf. It’s right by a lake, and the food is reasonably priced. The burgers were delicious!
We’ve been to Brittany and visited Vannes before, and we were determined to go back. It has an old town with colourful buildings and it has a huge cathedral. Here, we found a couple of nice cafes and had a walk by the harbour. There are lots of independent shops and side streets to explore.
Local towns to visit
We went to the local traditional market, which runs on a Monday, to buy some fresh local goods. It’s a good spot if you want to pick up some fresh yoghurt, vegetables, fruit, milk, bread and pasta, etc. We visited Vannes and stopped off at Conleau Beach for a winter beach walk and lunch at Boissons restaurant. La Roche-Bernard is quite pretty, it’s situated on the river, and there are picturesque views of the boat harbour, plus some lovely local shops. We picked up some typical Brittany wine from Chez Lory.
All in all, it was a wonderful winter holiday in Brittany. I’m pretty sure we’ll be making our way back to Manoir du Vau d’Arz. I’d love to see what it’s like staying here in the summer, and I hear from the owner they’re planning on getting a spa with a sauna and Nordic bath. Want to book a trip? Check out their website here.