Traveling with a mobility-challenged person limited our choice in accommodations. We knew we needed a hotel with a “lift” (an elevator).
(Side-note: Sometimes having a lift doesn’t mean it can accommodate a wheelchair, as we learned at our hotel in Paris. The elevator was so tiny that my father had to leave his wheelchair in the lobby and use his walker to get to the elevator and then to his room.)
Through a series of missteps and sheer luck, we ended up at the Villa Lara. I cannot imagine a better place to stay.
(Second side-note: I initially booked at a place just outside Bayeux that looked lovely. I emailed them to ask if they had a lift or rooms on the first floor. “All our rooms are on the first floor,” they replied. Then our guide told us that the first floor in France is what we consider the second floor in the US. I cancelled our rooms at the lift-less, second-floor room place, and, thankfully, the Villa Lara still had three rooms available.)
When we first arrived, and our driver pulled up right in front, Louis greeted us before we were even out of the car. I hesitate to call Louis a bellhop because he was so much more. He was the first ambassador for a pleasant stay, doing everything in his power to make us feel welcome and comfortable.
I don’t remember who was at the front desk to check us in that day. The weariness of travel blurred my memory.
But I do know that every single person that sat behind that desk was cheerful and helpful. They made reservations for us for dinner every night, taking into account that we needed a place that was wheelchair friendly. They helped us with our French. They got us the all-important coffee tray in the morning.
Laura was my favorite. She was from a small nearby town and obviously loved where she lived. I know that feeling. It’s infectious.
The rooms at the Villa Lara were spacious and comfortable. My sister and her husband had a room with a sitting area off the bedroom. It had gorgeous views of the cathedral.
While we didn’t eat our breakfasts at the hotel — we’re a coffee and a pastry kind of family — we did visit the hotel bar one evening for Calvados, the local apple brandy. My sister, her husband, Bud, and I sat in the lounge sipping our brandy — a first for me — and relishing the experience.
If I’m gushing about the Villa Lara, it’s because that’s exactly how I feel. It’s a place infused with hospitality. If I ever have the opportunity to visit Normandy again, I would plan my trip around their availability because for me, now, there is nowhere I would rather stay.