Travel

We Spent a Surprisingly Romantic Evening Roughing It in a French Treehouse

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When my husband told me he’d booked a treehouse for a night on our recent trip to Normandy, I guess I expected something different. We arrived at the farm and met a nice man who I’m sure thought I was an idiot in my suede booties and my trench coat. (The previous night we’d stayed in a hotel, like normal people.) After a short walk through the woods, I saw the way to get to our room for the night and I realized that I was an idiot — I probably should have worn sneakers.

You see, Paul had neglected to tell me that my bed for the night was 25 meters up a tree (which, for Americans, is roughly 80 feet). And to get to that bed I would have to walk across a long rope bridge.

In general I am not the best with heights, but we’d paid for the room, and if I put my foot down my only other option for the night was sleeping in our tiny French rental car. But since the treehouse had alcohol and a bathroom in it, off I went. Now, if this situation should ever present itself to you, a rope bridge is best crossed by yourself. Anyone else on it will just make it bounce about alarmingly. Also, after you cross it a couple of times, you kind of get the hang of it.

The décor inside was familiar, as I grew up in Northern California where parties in yurts are common, but the view from the deck was pretty amazing. We were basically in the treetops, and were totally hidden from the ground up in the leaves. While eating dinner we saw lots of deer who clearly didn’t know we were up there, and heard a bunch of wild pigs wandering about. When it got dark the owls came out, as did the laptop. We watched a movie while we polished off our bottle of local cider.

Eventually, I convinced myself that sleeping over 75 feet of open air was no less weird than staying in a high-rise hotel, and had a pretty great night’s sleep until the tiniest hint of sun appeared, which is when the treetop erupted with birdsong. Turns out birds are louder when you live in a tree. The nice man from the day before had brought us breakfast, which was in a basket that we had to haul up on a long rope and pulley.

I would definitely stay in a treehouse again, but next time I will come better prepared, with a backpack and proper shoes!

If staying in a treehouse is something you want to experience for yourself, here are some options.

This is the one we stayed in, but this seems to be a big thing in France — I saw listings for a bunch of others in Normandy.

If you can’t make it to France, these might be closer to home.

Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur has probably the nicest treehouse I’ve seen. Most don’t have ocean views and spa tubs.

This one is in Washington State. It’s more rustic than Post Ranch, is big enough for a family, and looks like it’s easier to photograph, too.