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Hotel Belami: A touch of class in old Normandy

The sight of couples enjoying cocktails on an outdoor terrace in front of a crisp white building overlooking the river Eure immediately tells you you’ve come to the right place. The former home of the French food critic Henri Gault (co-founder of the Gault et Millau restaurant guide), the hotel has just been renovated by restaurateur Nathalie Dormeau.

The old hotel rooms have been dismantled to create fewer larger ones, decorated in luxuriously sleek style, with the small ensuite bathrooms supplied with Nuxe products. There are stunning river views, with the water more or less passing under your toes. Some rooms have exterior balconies. Charming details such as the original winding staircase in the middle of the old house have been retained.

The people in the staff are young, friendly and eager to please, enthusing about the cocktail of the day or which wine goes best with which course.

The hotel is in the middle of the town of Pacy Monet’s house and gardens is 20 minutes’ drive away in Giverny but is always extremely busy, so arrive and leave early. Then head to the charming town of Vernon, Les Andelys on the Seine, or one of many local chateaux such as Château de Bizy or Château de Gaillon.

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