La Ferme Saint Simeon, cradle of the Impressionist movement, is a magnificent seventeenth century inn, where rising artists came to be pampered by Mère Toutain. Following their example, treat yourself to a memorable stay in this unique hotel and catch the wonderful light on the Seine.
The beautiful Auberge de la Mère Toutain, today Relais & Châteaux, full of history and beauty, is spread over three different buildings.
The main building, where you will find the bar and restaurant; the 17th century Pavilion, with its half-timbers and wooden stairs overlooking the gardens. Do not expect to find an elevator in these two historic homes! The respected location maintains its original “authenticity”.
Experience timeless happiness in front of crackling fireplaces in the light of the estuary. Our Chef Matthieu Pouleur and his brigade work with a passionate team to serve you simple, mouth-watering cuisine that showcases the excellence of Normandy’s products from the land and the sea.
Once upon a time, this gorgeous 17th century farmhouse was a place abounding with new ideas and perspectives. In around the year 1840, several young artists sojourned within its illustrious walls.
Thanks to the warm welcome they received from “Mother Toutain,” the innkeeper at the time, this flock of young painters, hungry for nature and fresh, country air, produced a number of exceptional pieces of artwork which are treasured today.
These extraordinary encounters gave rise to the famous Impressionist School of Honfleur, otherwise known as the School of Saint Siméon.
Painters have always worked outside, if only to provide a stage for their representations. Eventually one realized that a landscape could be picturesque, worthy of being portrayed all by itself, and thereby express the sensitivity and emotion of the artist.
This taste for nature first appeared with English painters, who came to the French countryside for inspiration to feed their talent. But soon these artist gatherings would bear witness to a trend that was quickly gaining steam, namely that of the love for outdoor pictorial art.
A stunning view: The Seine Estuary…The immense and magnificent river, the sea and its shifting horizons, a constant mist; a prism bathed with swaying brightness, decomposed colors, and clouds that roll in clear blue or the softest of grays, sometimes leaden, always improbable.
Sudden gusts, runoff from light-filled rain showers, flowing yellows and ochers…The marvel of these unpredictable scenes, sought after so dearly by our young artists, today more than ever the darlings of the arts. Air, water, light…Moments.
To everyone’s greatest delight, these children of the light met and mingled at the Saint Siméon Farm, where the charitable Mother Toutain, as early as 1825, could not think of any other way to be a pleasant hostess than to lavishly spoil and treat them to all the scrumptious recipes to which only she held the secret, and which forged the reputation of her Norman kitchen.
The small group of painters, longing for nature and obsessed with the sea and its panoramas, gathered at this most welcoming of inns. There was Boudin, Jongkind, Corot, Courbet, Bazille, Monet, and so many other talents which have gone forgotten, Daubigny, Dubourg, Isabey, Lebourg, Troyon…
The list goes on and on! Happy and well-fed, their thirsts quenched with delicious ciders and other fruity calvados, the artists went on to produce several works, one as beautiful as the other.
The result was an extensive production which can be found today in the most exquisite museums in France (Orsay, Eugène Boudin Museum, Musée Malraux) or during estate settlements in the world’s biggest auction houses.
A passage from the famous poet and Honfleur native Lucie Delarue Mardrus, who used words the same way others used touches of colorful pastels, provides a better idea of the Inn today…
“There’s something wonderful in the air on the Côte de Grâce. It’s that the Estuary is over there, with its colors of the rainbow. You see it at the end of a large valley, between the dark-hued branches of the magnificent trees; there are sailboats in the Estuary, setting suns, one over the other in the distance at low tide in the glossy mud, admirable, local; a beauty that comes close to the whites and pinks of spring, to royal autumns, stripped of leaves, with withered flowers on the hilly lawns we walk across; all set under circular clouds and flat blue skies, mist, rain…”
We might also consider the words written by Monet to his friend Bazille: “Every day I discover new things which are more beautiful than those from the day before. It’s enough to make one giddy.”
Today, as in the past, the breathtaking Saint Siméon Farm maintains its position of prestige by continuing to watch over its Estuary, as if raising itself up to get a better glimpse of the water and air which will blend together under our enchanted gazes for all of eternity.
The various building structures remain in place, with the farm itself in the bluish green reflections of its slate coat, the timber-studded pavilion, where people and animals once mingled, and the marvelous thatched cottage facing them, under its straw hat.
Once painted by Monet, it was also an eyewitness to the “Saint Siméon meetings,” when Boudin, a child of the country, trained Monet and the others from their small group during neverending discussions, and when these same men drank apple brandy during breaks from their painting.
Spacious and bright, our most beautiful suite located on the 2nd floor of Le Pressoir offers an unforgettable panorama over the Seine estuary.
You will be particularly seduced by this 61m² space and its living room with fireplace, whose refined and sophisticated decor is inspired by luxurious traditional fabrics, with antique wooden furniture and herringbone parquet flooring.
From the room with its romantic touch, you can admire the superb sunsets that glow on the horizon. A beautiful space, intimate and cozy, where it is good to take refuge in any season in Normandy.
To complete it all, the bathroom floods you with absolute well-being. After a relaxing break in your shower, enjoy relaxing moments in your balneo bath for two people with its pretty window on the estuary.
These “small” suites are a truly romantic choice in the Historic House or our Pressoir building. For one, cathedral ceiling and beams, windows open from east to west to follow the path of the sun.
A small intimate entrance, a beautiful lounge area, the bed facing the light. Lie back on the bed and look up to admire the light cast by the marvelous Venetian glass chandelier.
For the other, a view across the garden and the Seine, cozy living room and separate bedroom, with oak woodwork, bathroom in soft shades of white marble. A nice balance between contemporary furniture and family antiques.
A magnificent option with a view over the Seine or our gardens! All these Deluxe rooms have pleasant volumes with warm woodwork, sometimes under the eaves. The light of the Estuary and the gardens floods in.
Two of the rooms in the Main House are historic, one was the one always chosen by the painter Claude Monet and the other, acclaimed by the painter Camille Corot. In our Pavilion, the Deluxe rooms with their large attic and pleasant lounge area open onto the marvelous gardens of apple trees.
On the Pressoir side, these rooms are equipped with a balneo bath, as well as a balcony or terrace to fully enjoy your getaway to Honfleur. You will be seduced by this beautiful space, ideal for long stays. Relax and enjoy the beauty of skies and seas blending together.
Take the exterior stairs of the Pavilion, between the half-timbering and the apple trees, to access some of them directly.
For others, let yourself be driven under the eaves, in the warmth of the mansard beams, with an unfettered view of the flower gardens. In the Pressoir building, the superior rooms have the same charm as the previous ones. Some of them have a terrace or a balcony.
Enjoy the new culinary experience “Nuances” with a 4, 6 or 8-course menu for lunch from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. and dinner from 7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday, as well as Wednesday at lunchtime (open on public holidays).
A note from the Chef
« It is both a great pleasure and a real privilege to run the kitchens of the Collection Saint-Siméon. Every day, I combine my know-how with the gastronomic DNA of its establishments steeped in history, cradled between sincerity, terroir and tradition.
Cooking is for me a childhood passion, a true symbol of sharing, generosity and meetings. Normandy is a gourmet, generous region and we carefully select our partners and regional producers for the quality of their products.
Thanks to them, and alongside a passionate team, today I find inspiration to awaken the taste buds of every epicurean. An invitation to a delicious Norman culinary journey, punctuated with nods to my native region, the North of France. »
To offer you more comfort, serenity and smartness, the Spa and the aquatic complex at la Ferme Saint Siméon is undertaking complete refurbishment and are not accessible.
Patricia, our newly appointed Spa manager, winner of the France massage championship of 2019, and her team, will welcome you in the rose garden and in a specially dedicated treatment room.
Forgot your worries and let your body and spirit unwind! We’ve selected a collection of treatments Olivier Claire, and “Signature” care with organic Normandy apple for an unique experience. Treatments will be available from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm (prior booking compulsory).
Portrait of Patricia, our Spa Manager
Massage, treatments and emotions, these are the 3 passions that Patricia, our Spa manager, have successfully combined for 6 years and which have enabled her to win the gold medal for Best Spa practitioner in France in 2017, and the title of French massage champion in 2019.
From her earliest childhood, she massaged her sisters and dolls. Growing up, she discovered a gift of magnetism and oriented her career towards well-being, by becoming a practitioner therapist, specializing in muscle massages and reiki (therapeutic technique of care and energy healing by the hands).
Today, she is keen to work particularly on emotions. Her dearest wish ? Go beyond the care so that everyone comes out more serene, deeply changed.
Thanks to the history of this location, which was the cradle of impressionism in 1850, where every painter who is famous today came to find inspiration in the water, the skies and the gardens, this experience is as meaningful as any.
Today, as then, the rooms in which those artists stayed are full of endless charm and quaintness and offer the same views of the river estuary and our historic cottage-style edifice as depicted in “La Route sous la neige”, the famous painting by Claude Monet.
To gain a deeper understanding of “impressionism” and the full array of its colour schemes, an female and native of Honfleur, will be your guide for a course in painting in which she will help you to relive a range of pictorial emotions.
As a way of complementing this artistic immersion, why not discover the following sites: The Eugène Boudin Museum and its wonders, Giverny, which still resonates with the memory of Claude Monet, and the Museum of Modern Art at Le Havre, a true treasure-trove of impressionist art.
The Ferme Saint Siméon is a typical 17th century Norman edifice, with a mix of blue-toned slate tiles and traditional half-timbered walls like those of an authentic farmhouse.
In this Norman setting, amidst the great cuisine peppered with local flavours, all made with love by our Chef, we offer organic treatments with Normandy apples which are delicacies of the spa, as well as tasting the best Crus de Calvados in our dining rooms and in our “fumoir”.
The nearby, well-preserved town of Honfleur will charm you with its monuments, alleyways, small port and history. Take a day to discover our beautiful and authentic Normandy abord a true, old fashioned carriage.
There is also the option of visiting the Pays d’Auge and its wonderful and historical villages where you will find the most beautiful cottages and Calvados distilleries with their fresh sparkling cider, as well as Pont L’Evêque and Camembert, homes to the two respective famous cheeses.
There are many must-see locations in Normandy, such as the landing beaches and a range of historical sites from the Second World War, which await you on your day of discovery.
Hop on a vehicle and head off on a tour with our guides and delve into the local history which lead to this newfound freedom. Our concierge, Xavier Parent, will be your ideal guide, giving you all the advice you need and helping you to navigate your way around these fascinating routes.
Follow our nature guide, Arnaud Guérin, a photographer and a native of Normandy, who is ready to share his secret itineraries and invite you along to discover another side of Normandy with a catalogue of walks exclusively created and made available for our hotel’s clientele.
Alternatively, perhaps you would enjoy going behind the scenes at the most prestigious auction of Yearling horses at the beginning of August in Deauville and be among the first to identify tomorrow’s champions.
Normandy is well-known as the region that specialises in horses par excellence! Finaly, take the time to enjoy a ride through the true heart of the “Pays d’Auge”, its traditions, cider production and green landscape.