Having fallen in love with Paris which is a large city, then with Bayeux which is a medium/small city, we wanted to experience the countryside so we rented a cottage in Gouttières, Normandy located a couple of hours west of Paris.  The cottage was absolutely charming.  There were sheep housed to the right, cattle on the left and a forest behind it.  Waking up in the morning was so relaxing.  The air was clean, no city noise, the food was delicious, the boys liked the trampoline.  In the evening we went to a nearby town to a restaurant or for sight seeing.