Michele and I had never used AirBnB until our recent three-week adventure through France. There was a terrific article in the NY Times today about the vacation rental company in what is being called the sharing economy, so I thought I’d share our experience with you.
One of our destinations was Normandy, France, and the 60-mile stretch of D-Day beaches, harbors, museums, villages and fields. I’ve always wanted to take this trip to one of the most poignant places in history, especially memorable given the 70th anniversary of the day that saved the world.
Instead of a Marriott, we stayed in an 11th century manor house just west of Point Du Hoc, one of the strategic strong holds in Hitler’s Atlantic Fortress that was stormed on June 6, 1944. The evening we pulled our rented Fiat through the arched brick gate and into the inner grounds I was sure we were in the wrong place. It’s simply that enchanting.
Agnes and Francois own the place. She makes the beds and breakfasts, and he tends to their 200-hectare farm. This storybook AirBnB home seemed more of a blessing than an abode. We highly recommend it. Agnes will win you over with her croissants and homemade jams and jellies, while Francois greets you with a gigantic smile and almost no English.
From our third floor window, a room that used to be the maid’s quarters, we looked out across the corn fields. I could make out a Nazi gun battlement just beyond the tree-lined draw. You could just imagine the battles that took place in these rolling fields as I looked from my tranquil perch. Everything seemed frozen in time.
The morning we were leaving, Michele was taking a picture from this vantage point, and on cue a fox ran into the frame.
Our second stay was in a troglodyte carved out of the limestone hills along the Loire River in Tours, France. In the 15th century quarrymen carved limestone blocks out of the surrounding cliffs to build the magnificent chateaus in the Loire Valley. The resulting caves were first inhabited by squatters, and then were eventually upgraded into homes. We emerged from our troglodyte into a beautiful garden where we enjoyed breakfast overlooking the grounds of a 12th century abbey.
Our cave also came with wifi: like the Flintstones meeting the Jetsons.
We highly recommend both of these AirBnB destinations. The people and their unique places made our trip to France.
The sharing economy has sold me.