5 Beautiful Fall Retreats Outside of Paris
As cool weather settles in, fall into resplendent nature: fiery colors, crunchy leaves, the ever-earlier sunsets make it the ideal time of year to curl up by the fire with a hot cup of tea.
From a fully-equipped treehouse on a nature reserve to a stone hut overlooking the bay, these five fall retreats from Paris offer whimsical escapes from ultra-urban Paris (but if you’re coming from anywhere else, Paris is also a great escape in and of itself).
Winter may be coming, but Fall is– gloriously– the place to be.
La Ferme Du Vent
Very chic indeed, the rustic retreat of La Ferme Du Vent overlooks the bay of Cancale and is owned by chef Olivier Roellinger, whose Michelin-starred restaurant Le Coquillage is just a five-minute stroll away. There’s neither Wi-Fi nor TV in these pared-down, wood-and-stone “kleds” (Breton for “wind shelters”)– only wood-burning stoves, light pouring in through the huge framed windows, and views of wild herbs, idle stones, and perhaps even Mont St Michel, which can be seen through autumn mist when the weather is just right (and it often is). City concerns are washed away in the retreat’s Celtic baths, a sanctuary of serenity designed for contemplation. In the evening, a fantastic modern dinner is set out on a weathered wood table in each bedroom.
La Ferme du Vent, Langavan, 35350 Saint Méloir des Ondes
Un Matin Dans Les Bois
Squirrels, deer and hares are among the neighbors at Marine and Laurent Dubrulle’s country guesthouse, a 17th-century manor house with charmingly converted annexes surrounded by orchards and wide, open spaces. The four bedrooms of Un Matin Dans Les Bois are located in the former stables, barn, and dovecote and are stocked with magazines, organic teas, essential-oil bath products, and plenty of natural decor. It’s also not far from the seaside resort of Le Touquet, but the summertime bustle fades away here. In the daytime, ask for binoculars, bicycles, and birding guides; at night, borrow a lantern and take a walk listening to the owls.
Un Matin Dans Les Bois, Le domaine du Fresnoy, 100 impasse du Fresnoy, 62990 Loison sur Crequoise
The 17th-century stone buildings are biscuit colored at D’une Île, 20-acre country sanctuary hidden in thick forest in lower Normandy. Here, artists and designers Sofie Sleumer and Michel Mulder have brought a minimalist modern touch to pastoral living: while rural paths lead into woods and prairie, eight individual bedrooms and suites are each more inviting than the other– this is just the place to put up your feet after a day spent walking through the fall foliage. Come dinnertime, an accomplished menu of local and homegrown produce is served alongside an impressive list of natural wines.
D’une Île, Domaine de Launay, Lieu-dit L’Aunay, 61110 Rémalard
Perché dans le Perche
Follow the path through a meadow of wild flowers to come to this cozy cabin perched in a centuries-old sweet chestnut tree. Claire Stickland and Ivan Payonne’s cocoon-like treehouse of La Renardière stands in 25 acres of wild Normandy forest and artistic garden landscapes set within the natural regional park of Le Perche (just a couple of hours’ drive from Paris). At night, stargaze over pastures and woods; in the morning, open the door to a picnic-basket breakfast laden with treats including fresh juice, organic yogurts, home-made jams, a loaf of bread still warm from the oven, and a flask of Moorish hot chocolate.
Perché dans le Perche, La Renardière, 61130 Bellou-le-Trichard, Orne
Popular with families, this lakeside nature resort in the Yvelines is chock full of activities and facilities for young and old. Stay in a canvas-and-wood hut, or just pitch your own tent amid thick vegetation at Huttopia Rambouillet. There’s a grocery corner, a café serving homemade pizzas, and a communal, wood fire-warmed lodge with board games and a TV, but the escape into nature is an easy one. Rent a bicycle and ride into the forest where red deer, fallow deer, and wild boars roam free; back on site, soak in the chlorine-free natural pool. A particularly good option for Paris-based guests without a car, it can be reached via train and a 10-minute taxi ride.
Huttopia Rambouillet, Route du Château d’Eau, 78120 Rambouillet