We love the metropolitan vibrancy and attractions of Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence and many other cities of France; but now and then, we just want to wander, discover and ‘see things in new ways’. Many of us are enticed by some of the enchanting villages tucked here and there throughout France, and an excellent resource to tap is “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”. What an enchanting array of choices! Let’s visit one.
Just an hour north of Paris, the plus beaux village of Gerberoy offers a quaint and colorful step not only into the past but into a traditional country setting. Among draping wisteria and plentiful roses, you find yourself winding along cobbled streets amidst a beautiful mix of brick-faced homes and pastel timbered buildings. Not surprisingly, this appealing blend attracted post-impressionist Henri le Sidaner for summer visits, where he crafted his mystical trademark motif – a single window lit at dusk.
Dating back to the heart of the Middle Ages, Gerberoy presents an abbreviated charm compared to the sometimes daunting list of museums and monuments found in large cities. The unique local architecture runs from Norman to Picard and shines across a variety of small townhomes, manors, farms and canonical estates. Despite the relatively small size of the village, the large, 15th-century Collegiate Church Saint-Pierre – adorned with stunning Aubusson tapestries – underscores the former prominence of the small town.
Well, we are ‘sold’ and will plan to stay a night or two in a welcoming Gîte de France – Le Logis de Gerberoy, where their first floor “La Chambre Terrasse” overlooks tranquil gardens. Hospitality, an appealing petit dejeuner and local products (cheeses, jams and local gateaux) on site sound like the perfect place to enjoy garden sights and quiet walks in the village and country – parfait!