In May my partner and I, researching the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches for a Bradt guide book, stayed in a Pierre et Vacances self-catering apartment. This was our third research trip and while we’ve stayed in great hotels in the past (and there are many along the coast), this time we needed a place where we could work when we wanted, particularly in the evening, make cups of tea and coffee when we needed and have flexibility. We needed accommodation near the beaches which had good WiFi, a kitchen and if possible a view.

I already knew about Pierre et Vacances who have holiday residences all over France. Guest writer Fiona Quinn stayed in Presqu’île de la Touques for her guide to Deauville and Trouville on the east coastal stretch of Normandy.

Le chant des Oiseaux from the back showing white two storey buildings at the back and water and reeds in front
Le Chant des Oiseaux © Alastair McKenzie

Pierre et Vacances Self Catering Apartments – Le Chant des Oiseaux

There are eight Pierre et Vacances resorts in Normandy, most of them near the coast. Le Chant des Oiseaux in Courseulles-sur-Mer was ideal. Not only is Courseulles in the middle of four of the Normandy beaches: Sword, Juno (a 4-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the apartment), Gold and Omaha, it’s also a delightful small resort with a lovely long sandy beach, a marina, fishing port, good restaurants and shops.  

Courseulles-sur-Mer port, Normandy, with long concrete walk stretching into the sea and to left the estuary with sailing boats
Courseulles Port © Mathilde Lelandais

 No problem checking in. We arrived at 6.30pm, were given our keys and information on the resort. The nearby well-stocked Carrefour Market stayed open until 8pm which meant a quick dash (3 minutes away by car) for stocking up on essentials for our stay.

Reception

The reception desk, open from 9am to 7pm, has two helpful and friendly assistants who speak English. For late arrivals, instructions are emailed in advance on how to get the keys and apartment details.

We ordered baguettes and croissants each evening for the next day and they supplied a couple of emergency coffee filter papers for the machine (we hadn’t thought that far ahead). The receptionists can order pizzas for an evening meal and make restaurant bookings for you. Reserve through them; you get a small reduction on the restaurant bill.

Our Self-Catering Apartment

Le Chant des Oiseaux Normandy apartment bedroom
Le chant des Oiseaux bedroom © Fabien Mahout

Our 2-bedroom apartment was on the second floor up an exterior staircase (ground, first and second storeys). The master bedroom had a good sized double bed, a large wardrobe with hangers and a wall-mounted TV, though there’s very little space around the bed. The second bedroom, off the main kitchen/reception area, had bunk beds for kids. The apartment can sleep six with sofa beds in the main room though that would be a bit crowded.

Le chant des Oiseaux Normandy kitchen showing narrow long kitchen in front of pic with tables and chairs in background dining are and balcony beyond
Le Chant des Oiseaux kitchen © Fabien Mahout

The kitchen area was equipped with a fridge with a small freezer, hob, microwave, dishwasher and plenty of plates, glasses and cutlery, plus a coffee machine and dishwasher. In fact so many plates, glasses and cutlery that we only ran the dishwasher once – on our departure.

You sort your rubbish using one container for food waste, one for recycling paper and plastic bottles and one for household waste; bottles go into the bottle bin. Then you take it all to the waste shed. You’re in eco-conscious France. Like many French companies Pierre et Vacances has its own agenda. It follows low-carbon solutions, supports local communities, is in the process of insulating all the buildings, uses renewable energies and is partnering with SNCF to encourage train rather than car travel.

But back to the apartment: the main room has a large table (with six chairs), the two sofa beds, cupboards and shelves plus a TV. Two bathrooms, one with toilet, basin and shower, the second with bath and basin had enough hooks and shelves for toiletries, dressing gowns etc. (Sorry guys, I think the designer must have been a woman).

All apartments have bed linen, towels, a welcome cleaning kit and free cleaning on departure.

A balcony with table and chairs looked out onto the back of the resort and beyond to open fields. There’s ample parking outside each house.

Le chant des Oiseaux Normandy balcony with view over other small houses and green spaces i nmiddle
Le Chant des Oiseaux © Mary Anne Evans

Amenities

We didn’t have time to swim in the heated indoor pool, nor use the laundry room. Offered, but not taken up by us, was a weekly guided discovery tour of the area. There are also pedal and electric bicycles and if needed, trailers and baby seats (extra cost). Maybe next time.

Practical Information

You can book for one night, five, eight or however many you want depending on availability. And you can book to start your holiday any day of the week.

A seven-night stay costs from £543 for a one-bedroom apartment which sleeps up to five people and the total price includes accommodation, taxes and charges except for the national tourist tax of €1.50 per person per day (free for children up to 18 years old).

Pierre et Vacances in Normandy

Each of the eight destinations in Normandy is different, with most of them located near the beach. Some are new build; others are old renovated buildings.

Holiday Village Normandy Garden in Branville, Residence et Spa in Houlgate, Residence Les Embruns in Deauville, Presqu’Ile de la Touques also in Deauville, Le Chant des Oiseaux in Courseulles-sur-mer, Residence Les Tamaris in Trouville, Residence Port Guillaume in Cabourg and Residence Le Green Beach, Omaha Beach (a golf destination).

More about Pierre et Vacances Self-Catering Apartments

Pierre et Vacances is well known in France though less of a household name in the UK and USA. It’s been going since 1967 and now has over 383 destinations and almost 24,500 holiday accommodations in France and the Caribbean, Spain, the Canary and the Balearic Islands, Italy, Croatia, Portugal and Mauritius. The company has recently added accommodation in Montenegro, Greece, Crete, Morocco and Madeira.

To book with Pierre et Vacances tel: 0870 0267 145 or visit www.pierreetvacances.com  

Guide to Courseulles-sur-Mer

More Information on Normandy

Ferries to Normandy from the UK
Guide to Normandy
Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches
Hotels and Accommodation near the D-Day Landing Beaches

The guide book D-Day Landing Beaches Guide Book by Mary Anne Evans and Alastair McKenzie will be published by Bradt Guides in March 2024.

Declaration: We were on a press trip and were hosted by Pierre et Vacances. However my opinion is my own, and we were so impressed by the accommodation we are booking another stay which we will pay for.